Fighting Poverty with Passion
In my last blog I talked about Wilson Charter School charter not being renewed due to receiving an “F” in School Performance for the 2013-2014 School year. At the January Board Meeting the Broadmoor Charter School Board (BCSB) voted to have the Recovery School District assign a New Charter Management Organization (CMO) to turn around Wilson’s academics.
After that board meeting, parents began to organize to make sure the demands that were mentioned in “The Parent Addendum” were going to be granted:
Our goal was to make sure the process included Parent Involvement, Fairness, and Full Transparency. A follow-up email was sent to the BCSB, and even though they didn’t respond via email they did respond through their actions. The next day Kristyna Jones (VP of BCSB), Emily Wolff (ED of BIA), Lamont Douglas – Protectors of the Pack (POPs) member – and I met in my office to discuss next steps.
The Request for Applications (RFA) was sent out by RSD on Jan 3, 2015, the deadline for submissions was set for January 23, and the decision was scheduled to be announced February 13. The selection committee was chosen with members from the Urban League, The Micah Project, Orleans Public Education Network, and other community involved organizations. Parent seats were granted as requested.
I sent home flyers to parents informing them of the ways they can get involved in the process of selecting the new CMO. Either parents could have participated in visiting schools that the potential CMO operates or having parent and CMO interviews. Both parent involvement sessions went really well: roughly 15 parents participated in the site visits.
Two groups went on the school visits and conducted parent interviews:
The parents and I met constantly and consistently to make sure everyone knew what we were doing as advocates for our children, plus the other 640 children that attend Wilson. We shared with Wilson families that our top three choices were Inspire Nola, Choice Foundations, and Algiers Charter School Association. They agreed with our decision and signed off on it. We were going to make sure that we get the best and we needed support from other parents.
Being given the opportunity to participate with RSD selection committee was something I’ve never thought I would be doing as a Parent Liaison. I would help make a decision that won’t only affect my child, but the whole community of Broadmoor so I knew I had to select the best for my child and the community.
The RSD selection process lasted four days. Three parents sat in and scored rubrics with the other community leaders and debriefed after the final interview on Wednesday Feb 11, 2015. Superintendent Patrick Dobard was in attendance and while we all shared our thoughts of the interviews he just sat back and listened to our concerns and critiques of each CMO.
On February 24 – hours before our annual Math and Literacy Night – a press conference was held in Wilson Library with the new CMO, Inspire NOLA, and our selection team, teachers, and some administrative staff. After the announcement I felt relieved, like the weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders. All of the sacrifice and late nights of the past month wasn’t in vain.