The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) honored several charter schools and champions through its 2016 Charter School Excellence awards, presented on December 12, 2016 as part of the organization’s 9th annual state charter schools conference in New Orleans.
The 2016 Community Roots Award, designed to recognize a charter school that demonstrates a commitment to community engagement through the development of outside partnerships to better meet the needs of their students, was presented to Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans for their Gateway to Math Success program. Through this program, Franklin students and faculty have offered free math tutoring to hundreds of middle school students, and this year, the program is serving 187 students in 20 local public middle schools.
JCFA in Harvey won the Innovative Education Award for their school model, which helps students who are over-aged and under-credited earn their high school diploma and connect to opportunities in post-secondary education and the work force. Because the needs of JCFA’s students are extremely diverse, JCFA is flexible in its calendar, academic scheduling, and with the student support services it provides. In six years of operation, JCFA has helped over 250 students graduate, and its two schools are the highest performing alternative schools in the state.
“Although these two schools couldn’t be more different in their education models, they both represent the very best of what charter schools can be for their students and the communities they serve,” said Caroline Roemer, executive director of LAPCS. “We are extremely proud to count Ben Franklin and JCFA as members of our association, and by honoring their work, we hope to share their practices with other public schools statewide and replicate some of the successes they’ve seen.”
The two school winners received a $3,750 prize, generously sponsored by Schulman, Lopez, Hoffer, & Adelstein LLP (Community Roots) and Louisiana Teachers (Innovative Education).
Two more awards were presented at the event (made possible by AJ Gallagher and Charter Schools USA). The Excellence in Governance Award was presented to Linda Johnson, board chair of GEO Prep Academy in Baton Rouge, for demonstrating exemplary leadership in board service. Finally, the Excellence in Education Award was presented to the Choice Coalition for the group’s work to strengthen and improve public education in Louisiana. Members of the Choice Coalition include the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, Black Alliance for Educational Options, Council for a Better Louisiana, Democrats for Education Reform Louisiana, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, Louisiana Federation for Children, and Stand for Children Louisiana.