The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) honored several charter schools and champions through its 2015 Charter School Excellence awards, presented on October 12, 2015 as part of the organization’s 8th annual state charter schools conference in Baton Rouge.
The 2015 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 Kenilworth Science & Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge for their successful Louisiana STEM Expo event. Going into its fourth year, the statewide Expo is entirely hosted and organized by Kenilworth to provide all Louisiana middle school students the opportunity to challenge themselves in science, technology, engineering, and math in a non-threatening, celebratory atmosphere. The Expo is made possible by partnerships with organizations like the U.S. Navy, the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and LSU.
“Kenilworth has developed true partnerships with area organizations and universities to create real-life, hands-on learning experiences not just for their own students, but for all middle school students across the state,” said Caroline Roemer, executive director of LAPCS. “The success of the Expo is seen in the success of its student participants, who have been recognized nationally and internationally by being invited to present their projects in different competitions on the world stage.”
KIPP Central City Academy (KCCA) in New Orleans won the Innovative Education Award for their innovative College Writing Buddies program, which aims to improve the literacy rates of their students through a partnership with Tulane University students. The program started as a pilot in 2014, with 35 Tulane students working virtually on writing projects with 100 KCCA sixth graders. Since the successful pilot year, the program has expanded to serve all 500 KCCA students, engaging almost 150 Tulane students this year, with plans to replicate the program in other KIPP New Orleans schools.
“KIPP Central City Academy’s program is a great example of what charter schools were meant to do: innovate to serve the needs of their students,” said Roemer. “This innovative program stood out particularly because of the impressive academic results from the pilot program: participating sixth grade students saw the highest Lexile score growth for a sixth grade class in school history. This kind of success deserves recognition from the Louisiana charter community.”
Two more awards were presented at the event, including a special national honor from LAPCS partner BoardOnTrack, who gave its Excellence in Governance Award to Candice Frazier, board chair of ARISE Schools in New Orleans, for demonstrating exemplary leadership in her role.
“We work with hundreds of talented Board Chairs across the country, and Candice’s leadership this year really stood out,” said Marci Cornell-Feist, CEO & Founder of BoardOnTrack. “ARISE Schools is evolving as an organization, and as Candice took the helm of the board, she shifted the work and composition of the board to respond, showing great skill and tenacity in tackling some of the difficult conversations that needed to happen to get the board to the next level.”
Finally, LAPCS awarded its Excellence in Education Award to Chas Roemer, the outgoing president of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), for his work to strengthen and improve public education in Louisiana.
About Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools
The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to support, promote, and advocate for the Louisiana charter school movement, increasing student access to high quality public schools statewide. Learn more about LAPCS and Louisiana charter schools at lacharterschools.org.