Bricolage Annual Report 2017

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2 0 1 6 — 2 0 17 A N N UA L R E P O R T


creation is MOTIVATION Dear Friends, Bricolage is joy. Bricolage is a promise. Bricolage is possibility. Bricolage is supportive. Bricolage is challenging. Bricolage is all of these things and more. Above all else, Bricolage is a new pathway forward for hundreds of students and their families in service of our mission to advance equity by creating innovators. The 2016–2017 school year was Bricolage’s best yet. As you will learn in the pages of this Annual Report, all members of our community− students, staff, and parents−moved their understanding on racial equity forward. Bricolage is advancing equity. We expanded our efforts for creating innovators by partnering with other New Orleans educators through our Innovation Exchange and further still by presenting the biggest New Orleans Mini Maker Faire yet. Bricolage is creating innovators. This year marked the first time that Bricolage students took the LEAP, our state’s standardized assessment. Their results demonstrate that−in addition to all of the above−Bricolage is academically rigorous, and developing students for the deep, creative learning required in our ever-changing world. I am thrilled to present to you our 2016–2017 Annual Report. Together, we will continue to demonstrate all that Bricolage is and can be. Sincerely, Josh Densen Founder & Executive Director








American Indian





57% male


43% female



of students are considered Economically Disadvantaged per state reports


70124 24 students

70128 7 students

70122 44 students

70129 3 students

70148 1 student 70127 5 students

70126 25 students

70119 55 students 70112 2 students

70116 5 students

70125 15 students

70115 33 students

70117 24 students

70113 4 students

70131 26 students

70130 6 students 70118 28 students

70114 13 students


13 26 :1 :1 Kindergarten First Grade

Second Grade Third Grade

Mission Advance educational equity by preparing students from diverse backgrounds to be innovators who change the world.

Values Empathy, integrity, innovation

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Alan Philipson, Chair Yvette Jones, Vice-chair Jeffray Teague, Treasurer Tonya Johnson, Secretary

Jade Brown-Russell Arnel Cosey Merritt Lane M. Cleland Powell III




of Bricolage students scored mastery or above on LEAP for ELA and math combined — the highest performance of any non-selective school in New Orleans



is agency

At Bricolage, our academic and social–emotional approach is personalized, proactive, and developmentally appropriate for each child. Our instructional model favors classrooms with high levels of student agency, teacher responsiveness, and differentiation.


ur curriculum includes a balanced literacy approach with daily reading and writing workshops, daily math workshops, content area studies (primarily science and social studies), and co-curriculars, including visual art, physical education, innovation, and music. DEVELOPING THROUGH DAILY READING We teach key reading behaviors and deep comprehension strategies using a predictable structure with direct instruction and student practice. The Reading Workshop includes: • a mini-lesson on a specific reading skill or strategy, • an independent reading time, • share time for students to present their hard work to their peers, and • small group meetings with teachers to work on specific reading strategies. APPROACHING MATH AS EXPLORATION FOR DEEP UNDERSTANDING During our daily Math Workshops, students use manipulatives to explore attributes of objects, likenesses, and differences—the baseline for all problem solving. We focus on deep

understanding of small numbers, which enables students to work with large numbers, discover shapes and space in their environment, and apply their knowledge of attributes to measure width, length, weight, and capacity. In 2015-2016, we piloted a new math curriculum, entitled Bridges in Mathematics (Bridges), in second grade. We found Bridges to be academically rigorous and strong in the areas of math reasoning, problem solving, and number sense. This early success compelled us to extend Bridges to first and third grades last year and Kindergarten in 2017-2018. DESIGNING SOLUTIONS THROUGH CREATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING Two times each week students work independently and collaboratively in Innovation, an engineering and design co-curricular class. Students design, invent, and create things with materials like Legos, MagnaTiles, cardboard, and blocks of all kinds. Our Innovation Program is designed to develop students’ critical thinking and creative problem solving skills through hands on, project based learning. 5

learning is PERSONAL 6

To better customize instruction for each student and encourage student autonomy, we have two teachers in every kindergarten classroom. We have developed a robust elementary intervention program for students who are not meeting growth targets in math, writing, reading, and social-emotional development. Students work with interventionists in small groups or one-on-one for six to fourteen weeks.



Here is a closer look at ways our teachers create an even more personalized learning experience. PLAYING GAMES FOR PERSONAL GAINS Academic Interventionist Sari Levy wanted students to keep practicing math at home, so she decided to follow the classroom’s lead. “We play games as part of our math curriculum, so the students are familiar with playing games as a way to learn and have fun,” she says. She began providing different math games to interested families by setting up a table during after school dismissal and playing a few rounds to teach the basics. Families were offered one-on-one sessions, too. Because Bridges games are part of the Bridges math curriculum, Levy says she used those games as well as Everyday Counts Partner Games and resources from Patsy Kanter, Elementary Math Specialist and co-founder of Everyday Counts. She chose the games based on grade level


content or specific topics in need of extra practice. At the end of the year, Levy gave students games to expose them to material they will learn next year. “Offering math games fits in with how we learn math at Bricolage,” Levy explains. “It provides a bridge from home to school and helps families understand the content in a fun way.” GROWING TOMORROW’S CREATORS WITH TODAY’S TOOLS In January, Bricolage was awarded a grant from New Schools for New Orleans to implement a more personalized student approach using technology. Online learning platforms, apps, and digital media like Zeal (math), Lexia (reading) and Seesaw (portfolios) were introduced or expanded to amplify student voice and choice and add layers of engagement and rigor to instruction.

First Grade Teacher Diana Turner, a grant participant, says, “When I think of personalized learning, I think of anything we do to make learning more accessible and exciting for students. Bricolage is working on a more personalized approach because it allows students to move at their own pace through content and provides them opportunities to make their own choices about what they are learning and how to find it.” As part of the grant, a teacher from each grade level (including a future fourth grade teacher) traveled to Teacher’s College in New York City to learn about digital literacy. They learned practical tips like flipping instruction with video and discussed issues like ethical codes and disenfranchisement.

“Bricolage is working on a more personalized approach because it allows students to move at their own pace through content and provides them opportunities to make their own choices about what they are learning and how to find it.” – Diana Turner, First Grade Teacher


equity is ESSENTIAL 10

Part of our mission is to advance equity. All children deserve a quality education, and we believe students of all backgrounds should be educated together. Moreover, one of our strategic imperatives is to build an inclusive community. We believe everyone should learn from experiences and perspectives that differ from their own. Each year, we get better at acknowledging how our differences predispose us to different realities—and how we must develop ourselves to be able to effectively address and alter these disparities.


o affect equitable change, we educate ourselves and focus on equity and diversity. These highlights show additional actions we’ve taken this year. STARTING CONVERSATIONS IN KINDERGARTEN Topics like race and equity are not just for adults. Last year, all four kindergarten teachers collaborated on planning and teaching an expanded, deepened content area about black history. Instead of just teaching about important black figures and their contributions, lessons included discussions about racial identity, slavery, oppression, resistance, activism, and current issues. From read alouds, videos, and more, students learned about vocabulary, historical figures, and local artists and leaders,to help them see how anyone—even their neighbors—can impact history and inspire the world.

APPRECIATING THE PAST TO CHANGE THE FUTURE Chris Sheard, Young Audiences Teaching Artist in Residence, and Second Grade Teacher Raven Hodges reimagined our Black History Month celebration as a school-wide effort and created a memorable community celebration. Kindergarteners sang Lift Every Voice and Sing. First graders read a poem about Harriet Tubman. Second graders performed African dance pieces while the others sang. All third graders sang We Shall Overcome, and about a dozen dressed as various historical figures and spoke their stories and legacies. Nearly 100 friends and family members attended. LEADING BY EXAMPLE BY LOOKING AT OURSELVES At the start of the 2015–2016 school year, all staff attended a two-day racial equity workshop held by The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. The workshop helped staff members identify how racism works and addressed the power imbalances resulting from it. “The training put an end to anyone thinking that being color blind is a virtue,” says Executive Director Josh Densen. “It highlighted our collective roles as gatekeepers toward greater access, greater equity, and greater opportunity.” Regular anti-racism trainings will continue to be held for staff—and in the future, for families, too. By 2019, we aim to have at least 70 family members participating in annual Bricolage-sponsored antiracism training.

Kindergarten Teacher Emma Raynor says, “Our kids are lucky to be at one of the few public and diverse schools in New Orleans, and we have the chance to give them the understanding necessary to create an equitable, loving, open community of students and families who aren’t afraid to talk about and celebrate their differences.” 11


problems are POSSIBILITIES We put innovation into action and use designthinking to guide how we develop and improve as a school. Whether the user is a student, a parent, a teacher, or the community, we examine what each user experiences, adjust our mindsets, and work smarter to meet users’ needs. Through exercising empathy, brainstorming new ideas, and creating, testing, and improving prototypes, we turn challenges into opportunities.



Here is how we have worked this year to create innovators at Bricolage and across the city:

HELPING INNOVATION GROW BY SHARING WHAT WE KNOW The 2016-2017 school year marked the first two sessions of Innovation Exchange, our initiative to connect Bricolage with area educators interested in focusing on kids becoming innovators and to share lessons learned. Through the Exchange, we showcased our in-school innovation work and created an opportunity for educators to exchange innovation-related ideas. About a dozen educators—from various local elementary and middle schools with-and without innovation programs— attended the two-hour sessions. Educators observed an innovation class and participated in a design thinking workshop, where they worked with students to plan a playground for Bricolage’s future campus. “I feel strongly that if you’re facilitating innovation in schools, you can advance equity as well,” says Executive Director Josh Densen. “When educators cross lines of difference and come together from private schools, charter schools, and traditional public schools, you end up with greater access to ideas, concepts, and experiences that often aren’t available to everybody equally or equitably.” BRINGING THE CITY TOGETHER WITH NEW ORLEANS MINI MAKER FAIRE The Fourth Annual 2017 New Orleans Mini Maker Faire quadrupled its original size, reaching 4,000 community members. The Faire is part of the larger, California-based Maker Faire that’s billed as ‘the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth.’ It brings together fascinating and curious people who enjoy learning, sharing their process and what they can do, showing their work, and interacting with others. The 2017 Faire featured 90 exhibiting makers—36 of them Young Makers—as well as speakers, workshops, and presenters. The event was elevated this year thanks to a new partnership with Delgado Community College, which also served as the location for the Faire. The Faire kept the curious engaged! Participants could learn to solder, deconstruct a vintage pinball machine, or explore many other exhibits and experiences. Microsoft Australia Technology Evangelist Lawrence Crumpton demonstrated the new Virtual Reality HoloLens. Deanne Bell, engineer, TV host, and founder of FutureEngineers. org, helped makers take their inventions to the next level.



young exhibiting MAKERS

4,000 community


exhibiting MAKERS


SHARING TEACHING TOOLS AT EDUCATORS’ PLAYGROUND The Educators’ Playground debuted at this year’s Maker Faire. Bricolage Innovation Teacher Alex Owens came up with the idea for the Educator’s Playground after a design thinking-based interview. He saw the opportunity to

create a way to get educators interested and comfortable in working with different innovation-centric tools. “We knew teachers might not have the time or energy to spend an hour or day in a workshop, so we wanted to lower the stakes and make it more of a fun place.” Owens says. “We hope they will get inspired to bring more making into their classrooms.”

The Fifth Annual New Orleans Mini Maker Faire will be held April 21, 2018 at Delgado Community College. Visit to learn more.


sparking PASSIONS and developing SKILLS Through school-based programs and external partnerships, we provide opportunities for students to develop new skills and discover new talents and passions. Whether students attend after school programs, field trips, or group meetings, they stimulate their physical, emotional, and mental development.




A growing Bricolage community is strengthened by meeting diverse needs and interests, as seen in the following projects: PURSUING NEW PASSIONS AND LEARNING NEW SKILLS In partnership with Communities in Schools, Bricolage offered 40 after school classes throughout the year, including: • Printmaking • Filmmaking/animation • Flag football • Baseball • NOLA culture • Gardening • ...and more. We partnered with Girls on the Run, NOLA Coding, Young Audiences (School of Rock), Peaceful Project Warriors (yoga), and DiscoverFest (mini camps) and FC Nola (soccer). Seventy-five percent of Bricolage students attended at least one after school program every week. Jake Barclay, Director of Extended Learning, says the program broadens students’ interactions and experiences with other members of the Greater New Orleans community, too. “All


instructors and coaches are artists, professionals, parents, business leaders, and entrepreneurs who seek to expand students’ horizons.” LEARNING FROM THE BACKYARD BAYOU Birds, alligators, hikes, canoes! Twice during the school year, second and third grade classes went on field trips to Bayou Savage and City Park with LOOP NOLA, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide positive, life-changing outdoor experiences for children and youth in Greater New Orleans. “These trips give experiences to some kids who would never have the chance to become comfortable with nature and comfortable with water when we live in a city surrounded by water,” Third Grade Teacher Molly Mansel says. “It helped develop our class into a team and gave me ways to continue team building with my students.”


after school classes throughout the year offered in partnership with Communities in Schools



of Bricolage students attended at least one after school program every week.

the morning

community CEREMONY

the lunchtime

soccer GAME

an afternoon





EMOTIONS are intelligences Integrity, empathy, and innovation ground our school culture. Every day, everyone at Bricolage strives to do her best, care for others, and solve problems. Child or adult, we can all benefit from greater emotional awareness — and offer one another valuable life lessons.

This year, we have taken extra steps to better live, achieve, and share our values. Here are three such steps in focus: BUILDING A CULTURE OF KINDNESS This year, all students participated in at least one 30-minute Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) lesson per week with their homeroom class, co-taught by their classroom teacher and SEL Teacher Hannah Knipp, of Communities in Schools. Students learned communication skills, self-awareness, relational skills, and topics like “I” messages and self-talk, which helped give kids a common language. All students also participated in Bricolage BEST, a three-day initiative to help create an atmosphere of kindness and build a culture around anti-bullying that included an additional hour-and-a-half per day of SEL lessons.


“The Black Girl Blues closing event allowed the students to have a sense of accomplishment and celebrate their ethnicity in a positive light with their family and school family. It also bridged the gap for the families and students to share a positive moment and hopefully motivate families to continue to have these conversations at home.” –School Counselor Tralana Eugene

EMPOWERING BLACK GIRLS Counselor Tralana Eugene, of Communities in Schools, brought Black Girl Blues to Bricolage in January 2017. Her mission was to address intra-racial bullying and other effects of systemic racism and empower young black girls by teaching them skills to communicate effectively and more positively. Thirty-two 2nd and 3rd grade girls voluntarily gave up lunch and recess once a week for eight weeks to participate. Addressing emotionally provocative topics like stereotypes, students met in smaller groups to discuss norms and definitions, role play behavior models, and apply lessons to current life experiences. Families were also informed of each topic and given questions to discuss at home. The group’s last session included students’ families and staff members of color. Adults shared poems as well as their experiences as young girls of color while students evaluated the program and discussed expectations for the group’s behavior for the remainder of the school year. It was the kind of celebration that would only a happen at a school committed to advancing equity. “The event allowed the students to have a sense of accomplishment and celebrate their ethnicity in a positive light with their family and school family,” Eugene says. “They received something positive because of their color, which is an experience most people of color will never experience. It also bridges the gap for the families and students to share a positive moment and hopefully motivate families to continue to have these conversations at home. I was able to see the impact that this group had on the entire school culture.”



CHANGE is growth 24

Two years before Bricolage opened in August 2013, we began the process of constructing a new kind of local education—one that’s equitable, diverse, and innovative. It’s a step-by-step process that requires constant questioning, planning, and working toward where we need to be and how we’re going to get there.


very year, we expand and improve. Learn more about the 2017-2018 school year - and our 2018-2019 move to a new campus. EXPANDED SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES Bricolage will increase our Special Education three-fold. Bricolage will employ a full-time Speech and Language Pathologist, a fulltime Elementary School Special Education Coordinator, and a dedicated Gifted Education Teacher. We will also add three more Special Education Paraprofessionals and one more full-time Special Education Teacher. Currently, 16% of students at Bricolage have individualized education plans (IEPs). ADDING MORE STUDENTS TO OUR FAMILY Bricolage will add 3 fourth grade classes and 104 Kindergarders, bringing our total student population to 440. In preparation for our middle school/fifth grade launch in 20182019, Middle School Principal Fellow Antigua Wilbern will have a planning year to design and test different elements of the middle school model. She will get to know students, families, and the Bricolage community as she involves everyone in the school design process.

with the knowledge, skills, capacity, and qualities they need, not just to succeed in the world, but to shape it.” BUILDING A ‘RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM’ SCHOOL Bricolage staff receive four days of professional development with follow-up training and coaching throughout the year to support Responsive Classroom implementation. Responsive Classroom uses practices like interactive modeling, intentional teacher language, and logical consequences to create a sense of belonging and communityfor all students. USING TRAUMA-INFORMED STRATEGIES FOR STUDENT SUPPORT Staff will also receive training in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children. TBRI has been applied in orphanages, courts, residential treatment facilities, group homes, foster and adoptive homes, churches, and schools. WAITING TO PUT DOWN ROOTS Renovations will continue of our John McDonogh High School campus on Esplanade Avenue with completion expected in time for the 2018-2019 school year. In addition to new facilities like a gymnasium, library, and auditorium, plans also include two maker workshop spaces, science labs, special education classrooms, academic and socialemotional intervention spaces, and art classrooms.

“After 12 years of experience in public education as a teacher, a leader, and everything in between, I am inspired to do school differently,” Wilbern says. “Together we will design a middle school that equips young people 25

THRIVING by design






In Louisiana, the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) determines the cost to educate students and allocates local and state funding from government sources on a per student basis. The gap created between public MFP funding and program costs does not deter our pursuit of educational equity. We supplement this gap through private support—18% of our 20162017 revenue came from private support. The total per student cost will shrink as we continue to grow.

Expenses 2016–2017




Materials & Supplies




Purchased Professional / Technical Services


Purchased Property Services


Other Purchased Services Other 2%

State and Local

Restricted Donations


Unrestricted Donations



PARTNERS are pivotal Airline Skate Center Incorporated Alecia Oden Alexandra Norton Allison Ohle Amazon Smiles Amy and Colin Marquis Andrea Cambria Andrea Neighbours Andrew Cantor Angela Gremillion Angela Kyle Arian Elfant Ashley Smallwood Baptist Community Ministries Barbara and Tim Gilbert Barbara MacPhee Benevity Fund Benjamin Arendt Beth Lavin Beth Yuvancic Betty Irons Bill Hoffman Robert Reily Family Trust Box Tops for Education Brian Beabout Bruce Irino Bruce J. Heim Foundation Cameron MacPhee Reily Foundation/Boatner Reily Family Fund Carrie Fisher Catherine Frank Chris Wilson Christie Weidemann Courtney Landry Cynthia and Owen St. Amant Cynthia Cox Dabne Whitemore David and Stephanie Barksdale David Padrino David Spencer Dorothy Compeau Dorothy Phillips Elizabeth Crawford Entablature LLC Erin and Lee Becker Ernesto Cespedes Florence Conway H. Merritt Lane III Hailey Bowen Helaine Braunig Hogs For The Cause, Inc. Jack and Elizabeth Egle Jade Simmons James Borders James Parker Jamie Wright Jane Katner Jean Hochron Jeffrey Buchholz Jeffrey Clary Jeffrey Huseman Jennifer and Jeff Teague Jennifer Irons Jerome S. & Grace H. Murray Foundation

Jessica Whitworth Joanna Lotterman Jody and Gilbert Braunig John and Dorien Mahoney Julie Sclafani Julie Skjolaas Julie Tizzard Kanitra Charles Kara Gipson Kassandra Nero-Turner Kate Pedrotty Katell Orjubin Katherine and Timothy Mehok Kathryn Walmsley Kathryn and Jairo Santanilla Katie Lasky Keith Crawford Kelley Rouse Kevin and Kerry Murphy Kevin Cox Kristin Kerin Krystal Henry Lauren Hodges Laurie Levia Lolita Burrell Lora Reugger Lori Brandt Louise Fergusson-Saenz Louisiana Children’s Musuem Lowes Lucas Buchanan Luke Price Mani Dawes and Sean Joseph Margaret Runyan-Shefa Margot Want Mark Anderson Mark Christopher Mark Densen Mary Fergusson Melissa Bossola Beese Melissa Matte Melissa Tyler Michael Robb Michael Stone Michelle and Michael Doyle Miklos Mendler Mr. and Mrs. Alan H. Philipson New Schools for New Orleans New Schools Venture Fund Nicole DeAbate Nike Foundation Novo Nordisk Okiema Singleton Oma and Jonathan Graas Original Works Patrick and Lauren Templeman Patsy Kanter Peter Bodenheimer Philip Lorio Phyllis Lawton Cosentino Pro Bono Publico Foundation Rebecca Robb Ribby Fergusson Robbie Keen

Our community makes our mission achievable. Thank you to the Bricolage community and our partners near and far for your commitment to our mission of advancing educational equity and creating innovators. Robert Densen Robert Garda Ronald Dailey Rose Sedita Ryan Frailich Salesforce Scott A Thomas Sharon Howard Sherry Watters Stacy DePizzo Staples Tahmineh Haug Takako Kawamura and Joseph Johnson Tania Castellanos Terry Jones The Campbell Foundation The Greater New Orleans Foundation/ GiveNOLA Day The Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation The Toler Foundation Thomas Snedeker Tiffany and Royce Nelson Tracie Madison Wendy Ketcham Wendy Manard Whiton Paine Yvette Jones NEW ORLEANS MINI MAKER FAIRE SPONSORS Baptist Community Ministries Delgado Community College Entrescan Gambit IDIYA Jay and Sally Lapeyre Johnson and Johnson Law Offices Kickboard Louisiana Crafts Guild Make Magazine Mark MK Design and Type Purple Monkey Revolution Foods Tulane University Urban South Brewery WGNO Woodward Interests The 2017-2018 school year is a growth year for Bricolage. We are adding to our Special Education Program and Operations Team as well as incubating our Middle School. If you’re interested in donating money, time or talents to Bricolage, you can learn more at or contact Holly Hermes, Director of Development, at or 504-439-1756. All gifts will have a lasting impact on the development of our equitable program.


EQUITABLE, diverse, innovative Bricolage, a new kind of local education

greater emotional


endless possibilities



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