Issue: # 2 February  2009 

Welcome to the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools Email Newsletter.  We will  keep you updated on current charter school issues, news, and events.  Please let us know if there is anything else you would like to see in our communications to you or if you have a charter success story you would like to share.   As always, thank you for your support and voice in Louisiana's charter school movement. 
Policy News
Latest Update
Total, it looks like Education will have $126,162,000,000 over the next two years from the stimulus.  The State Fiscal Stabilization fund and the modernization funding for schools appear to have been consolidated into one program, total funding is $53.6 billion over two years.  Title 1 received $13 billion, IDEA received $12.4billion, and The Teacher Incentive Fund received $200 million.  The Credit Enhancement for charter school facilities program did not retain its $25 million in additional funding. 
In addition to the direct spending increases, several finance portions of the bill can benefit charters, including the newly-authorized $22 billion school construction bond program, $10 billion to the New Markets Tax Credit Program, $25 billion in recovery zone bonds, and $1.4 billion in new funding to the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds - all tools charters will be able to tap to finance facilities.
Our Take 
Read the letter sent to Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, regarding the elimination of the public school facilities funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by the LAPCS in partnership with NSNO, Educate Now, and the Cowen Institute.  Read HERE.

Ten organizations have submitted applications to operate charters in at least one of 10 schools that will be transferred to the Recovery School District (RSD), effective July 1, 2009. 
The applicants for Caddo Parish schools are Pelican Educational Foundation, Inc., New Life Leadership Foundation, Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association, and Shreveport Charter School, Inc.  The applicants for the East Baton Rouge takeover school include Pelican Educational Foundation, Inc., Advance Baton Rouge, Louisiana Scholars, Inc., Synesi Foundation, Community School for Apprenticeship Learning (CSAL), Inc., EBR Charter School, Inc., Crestworth Learning Academy, Inc., and MASTER, Inc.
The next step in the application process is a review that will be conducted by local and national experts following guidelines established by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). The Department of Education will receive recommendations and submit them to BESE for approval at the March BESE meeting.
On Wednesday, February 11, 2009, Governor Bobby Jindal announced many of his legislative priorities for improving education in the next session. The Governor was joined by several area legislators to outline three key priority areas for education improvements, including increasing education discipline, making further improvements in charter schools and implementing value-added assessments to better gauge student progress. The Governor announced these three major education priority areas, and said that he will also push for other important education improvement measures during the upcoming session.
Initiatives from the area concerning charter schools are highlighted below:
  • Requiring all public elementary and secondary education boards to use a high-quality third party review process for approving charter school applications.
  • Facilitating community-led conversions of traditional public schools into charter schools by allowing for the conversion to be decided by a majority vote of faculty, rather than a two-thirds vote.
  • Removing barriers currently preventing faith-based organizations from supporting or being affiliated with charter schools. Current law requires that charter schools shall not "be supported by or affiliated with any religion or religious organization or institution."
  • Allowing charter schools to consider that the child of one family is already enrolled in the school when determining if their sibling can be admitted there - in order to help keep families together and not split between different schools.
  • Better-defining administrative fees for charter schools. This change will build off legislation from 2008 that limited administrative fees withheld by charter authorizers to two percent for the first year of operation and less than three percent thereafter. This new legislation will define "administrative overhead costs" more clearly and limit these fees to only those that provide an authorizer the resources to award charters, establish clear expectations for performance, and ensure expectations are being met. Therefore, in no instance can an administrative fee be defined as one used to cover expenses unrelated to charter schools.

Items on the agenda related to public education include:

  • Ensure That Public Education Spending Is Accountable, Transparent, And Targeted To Areas That Improve Student Performance
    Currently, the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula has recognized additional costs associated with educating students living in poverty, and those who need special education services, career and technical education, and a more challenging curricula. However, because the MFP is a block grant to school districts, there is no accounting for how these targeted funds are used to benefit these targeted students.
    Governor Jindal's reforms will require that, beginning in Fiscal Year 2011, local school districts allocate weighted funding in such a manner that will benefit these intended student populations, and it will require them to report on how funds are spent to support the students that the funding is targeted towards.
    This proposal will also direct the Department of Education to provide technical assistance to districts to help them in making more strategic fiscal decisions that promote better student performance. Additionally, part of this reform will also require the Department of Education to post funding allocation information by district and school level on a new user-friendly website for parents and communities.
  • Create A User-Friendly Website To Post School Information For Parents And The General Public
    Governor Jindal reforms also include the creation of a website that will include information and data on accountability scores and rankings, district and school expenditures of MFP weighted funds intended for special student populations, discipline referrals, teacher quality, student-teacher ratios, school contact information, and a school comparison feature.
    The Department of Education will create this website to further increase transparency, make school data more easily accessible to parents and communities, and help parents make decisions about their children's education. Governor Jindal announced that he will include $400,000 in the Executive Budget for the Department of Education to launch this website

    To see the full synopsis of Governor Jindal's legislative priorities, click HERE.
Featured Issue
Common Application 2009
The Common Application is now available for all RSD New Orleans traditional and public charter schools. Students may apply for admission to as many schools as they like, by submitting applications directly at the school site, or at the RSD Welcome School, by March 30,2009.
The easy to fill-out Common Application allows parents to:
1) apply to a different school other than the one their child is currently attending;
2) apply for a child entering school for the first time;
3)submit applications for multiple schools at one location.
Need more information?
Call 1-877-343-4773 with any questions, and to make sure the schools in which you are interested accept the Common Application.
For more information on the Common Application, go to: or  you may also contact the Urban League Parent Information Center Leadership Academy at 620-2332.
DOE Charter Office Corner 
Welcome to DOE Corner.  In this section of the Newsletter, we will provide regular information from the Louisiana Department of Education through the Charter Schools Office.
Hot Topics
Federal Public Charter School Grant Program (PCSP)
The primary purpose of the PCSP grant program is to increase the number of high-quality charter schools by providing federal assistance for charter school program design, initial implementation and planning.
Louisiana's current grant award in the amount of $23 million dollars expires on July 31, 2009. The Department applied to the U.S. Department of Education for a new grant under the Federal Charter School Program in January 2009.  If approved, that grant will provide funding for charter schools during FY 2009-10 through 20011-2012.  Pending approval, eligible charter schools may receive up to $600,000 in PCSP funds for a period of not more than 3 years. These funds are awarded on an annual basis.
Current grant recipients are reminded to submit reimbursement requests promptly.  Reimbursements are processed on a monthly basis.
Third-Year Review
Eighteen charter schools authorized by BESE are in their third-year of operation and will undergo a comprehensive third-year review this spring. This review primarily consists of a School Performance Review (based on a report from the schools and DOE-collected data) and a School Site Visit.  Upon completion of the review process, the Charter School Office will review all evaluation reports and performance documentation before making a recommendation to BESE about whether to extend charter agreements. Charter extension decisions will be made at the May board meeting.
Evaluation reports are due on March 20, 2009.
New Schools Eligible for Placement in the RSD
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) voted in support of State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek's recommendation placing eight schools in East Baton Rouge Parish and two schools in Caddo Parish in the RSD after the schools failed to meet minimal state standards for at least four years.
Eleven organizations submitted applications to operate these schools as charter schools in the upcoming school year. The next step in the application process is a review that will be conducted by local and national experts, working under the auspices of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). The Department of Education will receive recommendations from NACSA and submit them to BESE for approval at the March BESE meeting.
Charter Schools Office
1201 N. 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: 225-342-3640
Staff List
Kenneth Campbell
State Director of Charter Schools
Patricia McFarland
Operations Advisor
Folwell Dunbar
Education Advisor
Karen Sheppard
Operations Manager
Carrie Barbin
Administrative Assistant

Charter Chat with Dr. Kristy Hebert
Each monthly issue of our newsletter will feature an interview with a recognized charter leader, champion, or expert.  Is there anyone in particular you want to hear from?  Any specific questions you want answered?  Let us know!
This month we chat charters with Dr. Kristy Hebert, the Executive Director of ADVANCE Baton Rouge, whose mission is to promote systemic change in public education.
Dr. Hebert holds a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations and Administrative Services from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining ADVANCE Baton Rouge in March 2006, she served as a Senior Vice President of Edison Charter Schools in New York. She also brings 25 years of experience from the educational field as a teacher, vice principal, principal, and professor. 
ADVANCE Baton Rouge operates 5 takeover schools as Type 5 charters in East Baton Rouge Parish and Pt. Coupee Parish.

As the first entity to operate Type 5 charter schools outside of New Orleans, including a school in rural Pt. Coupee Parish, what are some of the biggest challenges ABR has faced? 
The timeline for getting the schools open was challenging (charter granted May 15th and school started August 10). However, the biggest challenge is defending the organization against those who are anti-charter as well as those who want to maintain the status quo of public schools in our region.
Question:  If you could tell people only one accomplishment that ABR has made in these schools in the first months of operation what would it be?  
Answer:  The climate has been completely transformed from what it was before.  Superintendent Pastorek asked us to offer students something totally different when they returned to school in Fall 2008. Although the timeline for making this transformation happen was short, we were committed to doing it. We started with aesthetics so students would be "wowed" by just the fact that schools looked different. Upon
students arrival, we introduced a culture of caring and accountability.
We had high expectations for behavior which is now paving the way to
reach the academic goals we established in our charter.
Question:  There is much focus on New Orleans and the public education reform movement taking place there. What exciting reforms are taking place outside of New Orleans in Louisiana that people should know about?  
Answer:  There is really an awareness that is coming about that what is necessary for reform is a holistic approach. No longer can programs, no matter how good they are, be implemented, but schools must be re-designed. With re-designed schools, comes the need to re-design the preparation of principals as well as teachers. 
Which other projects is Advance Baton Rouge working on?
Answer:   ABR is working on all 3 initiatives that will lead to sustainable reform with less of a reliance on limited resources and more of an entrepreneurial approach situated within school choice. We have an alternative principal preparation program that combines the principles of business with the best practices of education as well as an alternative teacher certification program that is complementary to our leadership training.
Question:  What question are you most often asked regarding charter schools?
Answer:  What exactly is a charter school?  Is it a public school?
New Orleans Members Advisory Council
The LAPCS Members Advisory Council will be a key organizational component in identifying problem issues, setting priorities, gathering data, communicating important issues, resolving problems, and more.  
Next MAC Meeting:
When:  March 18, 2009, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Where: Lafayette Academy, 1607 Carrollton Ave. 
To register to attend the MAC Meeting, please email
MAC Committee Meetings 
During the December MAC meeting, we created 5 committees 
(Policy/Legislative, Operations/Finance, Quality Standards, Facilities, and Governance/Board) with the purpose of collectively finding solutions to challenges that many charter schools face.   All board members, school leaders, and school staff are welcome to sign up. 
If you would like to join one of these working committees, click here.
Upcoming MAC Committee Meetings:
Legislative Committee Meeting
February 16, 2009, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
200 Broadway, Suite 108 Conference Room
New School for New Orleans
City-Wide "Charter Boards 101"
By Marci Cornell-Feist
This session, offered annually by New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO), is designed to orient new board members of charter schools, refresh more seasoned board members, and entice prospective board members to get involved by covering the following:
  • Characteristics of highly effective charter school boards
  • Roles and responsibilities of a charter school board
  • Roles and responsibilities of individual board members
  • How to transition from a founding board to a sustainable governing board
  • The ideal charter school board size and composition

When: March 10, 2009, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Where: 200 Broadway, Suite 108, New Orleans
To register, please email Nancy Burvant at  
Public Forums Set for EBR Superintendent Finalists
The finalists for the East Baton Rouge Parish school superintendent's job won't be announced for another week or so, but an interview schedule has already been established. The three finalists will be announced Feb. 25, with interviews and public forums with each candidate on March 2, 3 and 4. Each candidate will tour the district during their day here and meet with community representatives in a luncheon. Each day will end with a public forum from 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., followed by a public board workshop and a possible private executive session. On March 4, the board will choose one of the three candidates or reject all three and start over. System spokesman Chris Trahan stressed that the six-month selection process has been careful and deliberate, with multiple public meetings and a survey. Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates is conducting the search.-David Jacobs
(From the Baton Rouge Daily Report)
NAPCS Conference Logo
The only national conference devoted exclusively to public charter schools is sure to attract a tremendous line-up of outstanding school leaders and our country's top public officials. It will be an exciting time in Washington as a new administration and a new Congress get down to the nation's business next year. For more information, please visit
Early Bird Registration discounts ends February 15, 2009.  Register today! 
Save the Date 
2009 LAPCS Annual Conference
October 16-17, 2009 
Our 1st annual conference held in November of 2008 was a huge success with over 200 attendees from all over the state.   We have tentatively set the 2009 conference date for October 16-17  Mark your calendars today!  Stay tuned for more information on location, breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and special events.
Welcome New LAPCS Members!
KIPP New Orleans
International School of Louisiana
Children's Charter School
Akili Academy
*We currently represent 41 schools throughout Louisiana
Articles of Interest 
"Rethinking the notion of public versus private"
Education Week
January 14, 2009
An Education Week opinion piece urges a move beyond the distinctions of public vs. private in an "emerging public education system that embraces customization and social entrepreneurship while defying traditional labels."  
"Florida's school strategy a  success"
Washington Times
January 15, 2009 
A Washington Times op-ed piece recommends that President-elect Obama and incoming Secretary of Education Duncan examine former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's strategy on education in that state, which has led to large gains on the National Assessment of Education Progress, especially for minority students. In Florida, where more than 100,000 students now attend charter schools, the Urban Institute found that accountability pressure and competition with charters "spurred a general improvement in student achievement," with traditional schools innovating in order to raise standards. 
"School Reform that Works"
Washington Post
January 28, 2009
Bill Gates released an annual letter on January 26th outlining the state of his foundation and its goals for 2009. Following are excerpts from the section on education.
"President Obama praises D.C.-based Capital City Public Charter School as a model for schools nationwide"
February 4, 2009
Making his first trip to a public school since taking office, President Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to second graders at Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, February 3.  Joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, President Obama read "The Moon Over Star" to the class.  Before leaving, he told students, "...this kind of innovative school, the work that is being done here by the entire staff, and the parents that are so active and involved, is an example of how all schools should be..." 
"Schools full of heroes" by Leslie Jacobs, Educate Now!
The Times Picayune
February 11, 2009
Recovery School District Superintendent Paul Vallas has announced he will leave for Chicago in 2010. After he leaves, student achievement in New Orleans will continue to improve. How can I proclaim this with such confidence?

Grant Opportunities

In partnership with NSNO, the LAPCS is pleased to bring you a comprehensive list of grant opportunities that may be of interest to Louisiana's charter schools.  The list is updated daily with new and interesting grant opportunities, so check back often! To visit the list click HERE.
About Us 
The mission of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) is to provide a clear and distinctive voice for Louisiana's charter schools, educating the public about their progress and ensuring that they thrive for the benefit of students statewide. The Association provides leadership, member services and public information to serve and support the charter schools in their pursuit of academic excellence.   
Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director
Caroline has 20 years of experience organizing, developing, and managing corporate and political communications strategies and public policy initiatives.  As the Executive Director of the Association, 
she is building a statewide coalition of charter school leaders, board members, and charter proponents.  
Contact Caroline at
Andrea Chen, Membership & Programs Director
As a former New Orleans public school teacher, Andrea Chen has supervised the development and certification of teachers through the University of New Orleans Graduate School of Education, The New Teacher Project, and Teach For America.  She is a graduate of Stanford University, where she majored in Philosophy and Anthropological Sciences, earned her M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from the University of New Orleans and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Contact Andrea at 
Elizabeth Garrett, Communications Director
Elizabeth is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in Business Marketing.  Since graduation, she has worked in marketing for the Community Coffee Company.  Before joining LAPCS, she participated in outreach efforts for the Louisiana Children's Museum and the New Orleans Mission. 
Contact Elizabeth at
In This Issue
Policy News
Featured Issue
DOE Update
Charter Chat
Upcoming Events
Articles of Interest
Grant Opportunities
Quick Links


Enter to Win a Wireless Lab for your School!

Enter Discovery Education's Sweepstakes to win a wireless lab for your school!  Click HERE to enter.  One drawing per month through May!
O. Perry Walker Teacher featured in the Times Picayune
Congratulations to
Mike Ricks, whose impressive educating style was featured in the Times Picayune.  Read the article here.  Go Big Mike!
Glen Oaks Middle School History Class visits the Governor!
ADVANCE Baton Rouge's Glen Oaks Middle School visits the Old State Capitol and Governors Mansion and visits with Supriya Jindal.  Check out WAFB's video here!
President Bush honors Tony Recasner!  
Tony Recasner, CEO of FirstLine Schools was recognized by President Bush in his farewell speech for Tony's efforts after Hurricane Katrina to reopen schools!  Go Tony!
Two Algiers Charter School's students' get poems published nationally!
Poems by two third-graders at Behrman Charter School and four  fifth-graders from McDonogh No. 32 Literacy Charter School have been selected for publication in a nationwide collection of verse.  Read more here! 
ISL's unique studies in Mandarin featured in the Times Picayune
The Times Picayune gave praise to ISL for their new Mandarin language program.  Read all about it here! gōng xǐ !  
2009 Muses cup designed by Edward Hynes Student!
Hynes student, Lauren Moret, designed this year's Muses cup!  Great job, Lauren!  We can't wait to catch it this Mardi Gras season!
Did you know?
The Eastbank Collaborative has launched a new website.  All schools are invited to post open positions on their new teacher and principal vacancy site.  Check it out HERE!
Have a Voice! 
Have you joined the LAPCS as a member?  For more information about membership  and it's many benefits, click here.
Cowen Instutute's State of Public Education in New Orleans Report
Click HERE to see Cowen's  report on public education in New Orleans released in January 2009.