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OFFICIAL E-NEWSLETTER OF

MAY 7, 2019 | VOL. 3, ISSUE 1

NOLA FOCUS

Supporting and Celebrating Teachers in the Crescent City BY HOLLY HABER

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he public school system in New Orleans is unlike any in the nation. Ninety-eight percent of its 44,000 students attend charter schools, a scenario implemented after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to reinvent the beleaguered district.

Fueled by increased funding, this potpourri of schools has posted some positive results. High school and college graduation rates surged in the district, which almost entirely serves disadvantaged students of color. The percentage of kids passing state exams went from 33 percent in 2004 to 62 percent in 2014. It will be our job to support the But it plateaued at great teachers in the classroom 57 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, twoand make sure they are thirds of New Orleans retained long term.” students attend schools BRITTON BANOWSKY graded “C” or worse, as determined by the The curriculum and culture at Louisiana Department of Education. each of these schools are managed A key impediment to progress by 15 different charter organizations, is that 29 percent of the district’s as well as non-network charters. 3,200 teachers resign every

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single year and must be replaced, according to local administrators. Stabilizing this churning workforce is a priority of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation, which just launched a major initiative in New Orleans— the site of the 2020 CFP National Championship in January. “It will be our job to support the great teachers in the classroom and make sure they are retained long term,” said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. Valued at around $2.5 million, this targeted impact represents the CFP Foundation’s sixth annual drive to boost public education in the host city of the national championship game. All campaigns were uniquely designed to address the most pressing issues in their respective school districts.

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Much of the turnover in Orleans Parish stems from teachers not getting what they need to be successful, Banowsky said. “If they’re provided the resources, they’re more likely to feel good about their jobs and stay in the classroom,” he said. The teachers’ frustrations are clear, according to a survey of more than 1,600 area instructors by the nonprofit agency New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO). They want higher starting pay, respect for their work from school leadership, and opportunities for professional development, said NSNO CEO Patrick Dobard.

The CFP Foundation is addressing each of these concerns, as well as the need to attract qualified teachers to the district. The CFP Foundation kicked off the program on April 17 by funding all 63 projects that were posted on donorschoose.org by Orleans Parish teachers. Their wishes-cometrue ranged from the first soccer program at an elementary school to classroom iPads, a bass clarinet, scientific calculators, art carts, a 3D printer, and more. Moving forward, the CFP Foundation is working with NSNO to recruit teachers from students at local universities. The effort

includes leveraging CFP’s new Go Teach Project, which encourages student-athletes to pursue careers in education. As for teachers’ specific hopes, the CFP Foundation plans to reward experienced teachers who mentor beginners with a $3,000 bonus. In addition, it intends to nurture student teachers, who are typically unpaid, with a $1,000 stipend per semester. The CFP Foundation is also developing a series of celebrations for all Orleans Parish teachers and sponsoring teacher recognition events, peaking during national championship weekend with the

SURPRISE! The CFP Foundation and the New Orleans Host Committee helped surprise New Orleans teachers in April by funding school projects through DonorsChoose.org

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OFFICIAL E-NEWSLETTER OF

Extra Yard for Teachers Summit on Saturday, January 11. Attended by teachers of the year from all 50 states, the Summit will feature inspiring talks, entertainment and other programming. The CFP Foundation plans to continue investing in donorschoose.org projects to supply key classroom resources, and it is collaborating with NSNO on professional development programming to support overall teacher satisfaction. Local partners are key to the success of this multifaceted approach. In addition to NSNO, they include the Orleans Parish School Board, the Louisiana Department of Education, the American Institute for Research, Tulane University, Southeastern Louisiana State University, University of New Orleans, Xavier University

of Louisiana, and the New Orleans College Football Championship Host Committee. The campaign to honor and bolster Orleans Parish teachers as a whole comes at the perfect time. Charter schools in New Orleans had autonomy until last July, when the Orleans Parish School Board took over some administrative operations, including enrollment, expulsions, special education, and whether each school’s contract is renewed. “All these schools are coming together as a unified school district for the first time in 15 years,” Banowsky said. “We are trying to get them to see themselves as a team instead of just part of one school. Our role in many ways is as a catalyst or creator of momentum that hopefully can be sustained over a long period of time.”

CELEBRATING TEACHERS: Orleans Parish School Board Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky, Warren Easton Principal Mervin Jackson, and Warren Easton BOD President David Garland visited with New Orleans teachers at a reception at Warren Easton High School on April 17, 2019.

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DONORS CHOOSE

GIVEAWAY cfpextrayard

GIVEAWAY ALERT

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t’s Teacher Appreciation Week, so we are giving away a DonorsChoose.org gift certificate every day. Follow ALL of the rules below for an entry to win a $250 @donorschoose gift certificate for your classroom or for your favorite teacher!

In order to enter to win, you must: 1. Go to the cfpextrayard instagram account 2. Like the Donors Choose Giveaway photo 3. Follow us 4. Tag a teacher One winner will be chosen at random each day and notified via private message. Giveaway begins on May 6th and ends on May 10th at 11:59 CT. Local to U.S. only. This giveaway is not sponsored by Instagram.

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OFFICIAL E-NEWSLETTER OF

2-4-6-8 WHO DO YOU APPRECIATE? TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK: MAY 6 – 10, 2019

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he College Football Playoff Foundation is challenging everyone to show teachers how much we appreciate them during Teacher Appreciation Week. The social media challenge is simple: Record a short video that tells us about a teacher you appreciate and why. Then, challenge a friend to do the same. “Every week is Teacher Appreciation Week with the CFP Foundation,” said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. “With this campaign, we’re encouraging everyone to take a couple of minutes to recognize a special teacher with a social media post. Teachers are our greatest resource, and we want to be the catalyst to a social conversation that acknowledges their significant work.”

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RECRUIT AND RETAIN

A Strong Effort is Being Made to Address Teacher Challenges in New Orleans BY HOLLY HABER

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he College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation’s program to bolster public school teachers in New Orleans could not come at a better time. Administrators are eager to reverse a trend that has seen nearly a third of local teachers abandon their jobs each year, found in a recent six-month study. Nonprofit advocacy group New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) ran the study, which included interviewing some 1,500 local teachers, as well as national education leaders. “We look at the CFP and the Sugar Bowl and their commitment to the teaching profession as a godsend,” said NSNO CEO Patrick Dobard, a former superintendent of Orleans Parish schools. “This opportunity will allow us to celebrate our teachers in a meaningful way by generating

QUALITY COMMITMENT: The CFP Foundation and the New Orleans Host Committee are implementing a strategic plan to help retain and recruit quality teachers in New Orleans.

programs to retain more teachers in the classroom.” Dobard expects the impact to continue far beyond the 2020 CFP National Championship in January because the CFP Foundation is Everyone recognizes and working to set up acknowledges that talent–and a teacher pipeline the strength of talent–is what has between local allowed our unique, decentralized universities and New Orleans public system of schools to flourish and schools. make significant improvements Orleans Parish School Board over the last decade.” superintendent Dr. DR. HENDERSON LEWIS, JR. Henderson Lewis, supplies for classes, recognizing Jr., is also enthusiastic. some of our top performers, “This partnership is going to and using some of the dollars as help us find new ways to attract potential seed money to invest in and retain individuals in this great

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profession,” Dr. Lewis said. “We also have to remember educators who are currently on the frontline. Not only do we want to retain them, but we want to ensure their professional success.” Reconstruction of Orleans Parish Schools into a network of charters after Hurricane Katrina has brought measurable success to the previously failing district. “Everyone recognizes and acknowledges that talent–and the strength of talent–is what has allowed our unique, decentralized system of schools to flourish and make significant improvements over the last decade,” Dobard said. “If we truly want to take it to the next level, we’re going to have to solve this talent crisis together.”


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NSNO’s study found that the highest attrition was among instructors in their first five years of the profession, but people with between eight and 15 years of experience were also resigning, explained NSNO chief innovation officer Alex Jarrell. As is often the case, the top reason was compensation. “They’ve been clear that with increased housing costs, they don’t have enough money,” Jarrell said. Starting teachers in Orleans Parish earn an average of $42,000, and small annual raises are contingent on performance. The Louisiana Legislature is debating a bill endorsed by Governor John Bel Edwards that would give every public school teacher a $1,000 salary increase, Dobard pointed out. Orleans Parish teachers also want recognition, and the CFP Foundation is determined to have an impact on all of its 87 campuses. The New Orleans College Football National Championship Host Committee, led by Allstate Sugar Bowl chief operating officer Jeff Hundley, is boosting the cause with a significant assist from Entergy, the area’s energy provider, to contribute over $1 million to the CFP Foundation. Every penny will go towards the projects the CFP Foundation is working on in the Crescent City. “This has been the most rewarding project that we’ve worked on as we prepare for the national championship game,” Hundley said. “We’ve identified projects that we think can help and make a difference, and, hopefully, be sustainable. It’s very exciting.”

MAY 2019 HONOREE

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Michael Gilchrist

he special connection Michael Gilchrist shares with his middle school math students at KIPP’s AIM Academy in Washington, D.C., is due in large part to his own upbringing in one of the tougher sections of Suffolk, Virginia. “I knew I wanted to teach students whose backgrounds look a lot like mine,” Gilchrist said. “I’m able to build relationships with them and their parents because our stories are the same.” Gilchrist understands that a student’s incomplete homework or frustration in class sometimes has less to do with what’s happening in the classroom than what’s happening outside of it, and he chose to teach middle school because he believes it’s a crucial time in these students’ lives. “This was the age for me where I could go either way,” he said. “This was the age where I was at risk of getting on the wrong path.” The concept that Gilchrist most wants to instill in his students is accountability. They are all aware of the stereotypes about AfricanAmerican kids from southeast D.C. Some believe these students lack commitment to education or the discipline and work ethic to excel in math. But Gilchrist, or “Mr. G,” and his students know better. “His lessons help us to be great in math and in life,” said Nylah Newkirk, a student of Gilchrist’s. “Some people don’t think we can be either one, but he does.” Gilchrist teaches his students not only to take responsibility for themselves, but for their community as well. “If a student gets a problem wrong, another student reteaches the concept,” Gilchrist said. “I want each of them to be accountable for what their peers know. They should think, ‘If I get it, I want everybody else to get it, too.’” Gilchrist’s students have some of the highest math scores in the school’s network. But what Gilchrist teaches his students extends far beyond any standardized test. “When you leave my classroom, I still need you to be great out there,” he said. I want you to carry what you learn in here everywhere. It’s not just a question of whether you can do a fraction — but being able to take a value that you learned in here and take it to other classrooms and take it home.” Visit honored.org to read Michael Gilchrist’s full story.

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