Issue: # 7
July 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 Update
On July 1, 2009, Governor Jindal signed the "Career Diploma" bill (SB 259), authored by Senator Robert Kostelka (R-Monroe), into law as Act 246.  Pursuant to this legislation, high schools now must offer a separate diploma for students who wish to pursue technical and vocational studies.  For the text of the bill, click here.  While BESE continues to consider policy to undergird the implementation of this legislation, the new law impacts charter schools as follows:
  • A charter school may offer a career diploma - but a charter school is NOT required to do so.
  • Any charter school wishing to offer a career diploma must submit a material amendment to its authorizer for consideration.
  • Since charter schools are not expected to offer career diplomas, charter schools do NOT need to apply for waivers to be exempt from the new law.  (Traditional school districts are expected to offer career diplomas and must apply for waivers if they will not offer career diplomas.) 
Grants awarded for charter schools and expansion of public school choice in Louisiana
New Orleans, LA - The U.S. Department of Education today announced the five state recipients of charter school grants to be awarded to state education agencies for the use of charter school support and expansion.
The five states to receive a share of the $82 million dollar grant, announced by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement, included Arizona, Tennessee, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Louisiana.
The Charter School Grants Program is designed to help financially support existing successful charter school and help promote the expansion of these schools by helping fund school planning and start up costs, as well as educate the public as to what charter schools are.
Charter Schools are independent public schools that are allowed to be more innovative and held accountable for student achievement.
"Louisiana is at the forefront of the charter school movement.  It is because Louisiana has embraced public charter schools and their ability to provide innovative solutions in public education, that we were selected by the U.S. Department to receive these funds, "says Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.
Louisiana has a strong record for supporting public school choice, and the efforts have received national attention.  A recent study by Stanford University's Center for Research on Educational Options (CREDO) found that Louisiana's charter schools are outperforming their traditional public school counterparts.  Also, New Orleans continues to lead the nation in the percentage of public school students attending charter schools at 58%.
Additionally, at the end of this legislative session, the legislature moved to successfully remove the cap on the number of charter schools allowed to operate in Louisiana, a move that certainly helped position Louisiana for these funds.
"These funds will help Louisiana to continue to create a high quality charter school movement.  We are thrilled to be one of the five states to receive this money and commend Superintendent Pastorek and the Louisiana Department of Education on their efforts to secure these additional dollars for Louisiana."says Roemer Shirley.
Conference Breakout Sessions Available for Viewing!


This is the only statewide gathering of charter schools geared toward networking and professional development. 
  Teacher breakout sessions on Saturday, with the option to receive Continuing Learning Units (CLU's).  
Breakout Sessions now available for viewing
Interested in seeing exactly what type of sessions will be presented at the conference?

Award Ceremony Nominations
We are pleased to announce the kickoff of the 1st Annual LAPCS Charter School Awards.  These awards are designed to recognize the contributions of school leaders, teachers, board members, schools, and community leaders in their efforts to advocate for, support, or enhance Louisiana's public charter schools.  Download the information packet and nomination form HERE!

Conference hotel reservations close August 11, 2009

If you are coming from out of town and have not already reserved a room at the conference venue, you can do so by clicking HERE.
We have negotiated a rate of $79/night for our attendees.

Friday, September 11, 2009
Dr. Howard Fuller 
Immediately before his appointment as distinguished Professor of Education at Marquette University, as well as founding the Institute for the Transformation of Learning, Dr. Fuller served as the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, June 1991 - June 1995. He is the Chair of the Board of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO); the Chair of the Board of the Wisconsin Municipalities Private School Finance Commission; the Chair of the Board of CEO Leadership Academy and the Chair of the Board of the Alliance for Choices in Education in Milwaukee. Dr. Fuller also serves on the Board of Directors of Transcenter for Youth; the Johnson Foundation; the Joyce Foundation and Advocates for School Choice, and he is a member of the Charter School Review Committee for the City of Milwaukee.   

Saturday, September 12, 2009
Dr. Yvonne Chan
As principal of Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacoima, California, Dr. Chan has consistently pushed the limits of education for nearly 40 years as an educator, school leader, and the founder of the first conversion charter school in the nation.  Serving more than 2,000 students, Dr. Chan's school was named the 1995 California Distinguished School and the 1996 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.  Dr. Chan is a member  of the California State Board of Education, adjunct professor at UCLA, and a Commissioner at the California City Commission for Youth and Families.  A recipient of the Milken Educator Award, McGraw Hills Distinguished Educator Award, Gleitsman Community Activist Award, Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Hall of Fame.  Chan has relentlessly shared her innovative ideas on education and social reform internationally and has testified before 37 sate legislatures on charter school policies. 
DOE Charter Office Corner 
Revised Application TimeLine
The Request for Application (RFA) application timeline has been revised. The Mandatory Eligibility Review documents are due on or before August 4, 2009.  Please note that the charter application due date remains the same. The RFA for charters opening Fall 2010 is currently available online at  
Contact the Charter Schools Office at 225-342-3640 for more information. 

May 21                       Release Charter School Request for

May-June 2009           Information Sessions for Applicants (New
                                      Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport)

June-July 2009           Applicant Support Workshops (Baton Rouge)

July 10                      Letter of Intent Due

July 17                       Invitations to submit application forwarded to 
                                        New Orleans Applicants
**August 4, 2009**     Deadline for Mandatory Eligibility Review

August 5                    Notification of Applicants Eligible for Final

August 21                  Charter Applications Due

August 23                  Completeness Screening

Aug 23- Oct 2            Applications Evaluation (Diligence Review, 
                                      Site Visits, (if applicable), and
                                      Applicant Interviews
October 2009            BESE Approves New Charters
Please note that Eligibility Review Documentation will be processed
upon receipt; however, documentation must be received no later than August 4, 2009.

Note: As it relates to failed public schools that are eligible for takeover, the above timeline applies to applications for the operation of schools that have been identified as eligible for takeover on the date of the release of the Request for Applications (RFA). If necessary, a new and different application timeline may be set for any schools that may be identified as eligible for takeover after the release of this RFA.
New Charters Opening Fall 2009 
The following charter schools approved by BESE in December 2008 and March 2009 will start serving student this August in 2009.Please contact the Charter Schools Office at 225-342-3640, for more information on these schools:

Crestworth Learning Academy | 6th- 8th | Baton Rouge, LA
Dalton Elementary | Pre K-5th | Baton Rouge, LA
Kenilworth Middle | 6th- 8th | Baton Rouge, LA
Lanier Elementary | K-5th | Baton Rouge, LA
Madison Preparatory | 9th-10th | Baton Rouge, LA
Arise Academy | Pre K-2nd | New Orleans, LA
Benjamin Mays | Pre K-2nd | New Orleans, LA
Pride College Preparatory | Pre K-2nd | New Orleans, LA
Success Preparatory Academy | Pre K-2nd | New Orleans, LA
Thurgood Marshall Early College High | 9th -12th | New Orleans,  LA
Linear Middle | 6th-8th | Shreveport, LA
Linwood Middle School | 6th-8th | Shreveport, LA                                                         

Charter Chat with Dr. Gregory Folse
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! 
CORRECTION:  In our last newsletter, we reported Act 429 (originally, House Bill 687) prohibited the practice of dentistry on school sites.  However, this legislation was amended to allow the practice of dentistry in mobile clinics and in locations other than a dental office provided such dental care adheres to policies promulgated by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry and provided all dentists providing such care obtain permits from the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry. 
This month we chat charters about the bill with Dr. Gregory Folse, D.D.S., a part of a project called Big Smile that bring dental care to children in need at school.

Question:   Tell us the basic principle for the work you do?

Answer:  Without access, there is no health care. The above statement sounds simple enough; however, the issue of providing access to care cuts across every medical discipline. As a practicing Louisiana licensed dentist for 20 years who provides dental care only to "at risk" populations through mobile dentistry,  I have had a front row seat in the debate over what constitutes proper access to care.    
Question: Why expand to include school based care?  
  The answer is simple: the number of Medicaid eligible children who do not see a dentist every year is overwhelming. According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals over
400,000 Medicaid eligible children did not see a dentist in the previous 12 months. We have an Access to Care crisis in Louisiana. School based mobile dentistry provides a model of care that is safe, accountable, and accessible.  And its track record in Louisiana is sterling: testimony during the 2009 Legislative Session revealed that not one complaint had been registered with the Louisiana State Dental Board regarding school based mobile dentistry since its inception in 2001. These programs have been used effectively across the country for decades.

Question:  Tell us about House Bill 687 that was introduced in this year's legislative session. 

Answer:   This bill sought to prohibit school based mobile dentistry. Thankfully, as a result of the hard work of child health advocates like the LA Assembly on School Based Health Care, the LA Primary Care Association, the Maternal and Child Health Coalition, and many others, we were able to convince the legislature to amend the bill and delete the provision that prohibited the practice. The final bill, as signed by Governor Jindal, requires the Louisiana State Dental Board to refresh its rules regarding mobile dentistry. In defeating the prohibition, we were able to keep the proven access model of mobile dentistry alive and well.   
Question:  Excellent.  Any last thoughts?
Answer:   We look forward to working with the Louisiana State Dental Board to ensure the revised rules continue to provide for access to safe, reliable mobile dental care. Our approach is simple and straightforward:
without access, there is no dental care.
Welcome to the Newest Members of Team LAPCS
Please join us in welcoming Sherman Whites and Jenna Christianson-Barker to the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools. 
Sherman Whites
Prior to joining the charter school association, Sherman was a team leader for Target Corporation in Raleigh/Durham, NC.  In this role, he was responsible for logistics and food operations for a $65MM
retail unit, and managed over 300 hourly employees.  He also served as an adjunct instructor at North Carolina Central University's school of business.  Earlier in his career, Sherman gained experience
in the areas of consumer product marketing as well as engineering.  Community service has been equally important during his career; he has served as a youth mentor and worked to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in urban communities.
As the Business & Operations Director, Sherman will be working closely with our member schools to identify solutions for challenges faced by charter schools.
Jenna Christianson-Barker
Jenna has several years of non-profit experience, working with organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Partnership Against Domestic Violence. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she earned a degree in Political Science, International Development. She is currently working on her MBA degree at Loyola University, New Orleans.  
As the Business & Research Assistant, Jenna is assisting the LAPCS in data collection and analysis, accounting, and program research. 

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.
(August 31, 2009)
New Orleans Members Advisory Council
The LAPCS Members Advisory Council is a key organizational component in
identifying problem issues, setting priorities, gathering data, communicating important issues, resolving problems, and more.  
Next MAC Meeting:
When:  September TBA
Where: TBA
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. 
Baton Rouge Members Advisory Council
Thank you to those who attended the first Baton Rouge charter school meeting last Wednesday, July 29, 2009.  We had a great turnout and very productive conversation regarding how the Association can engage better and support Baton Rouge area charter schools.  We believe this is the beginning of a very effective collaboration of schools.
We will be holding these meeting every other month.  We need you all to let us know what will be the most effective use of your time.  What are the topics and challenges you would like to see tackled at these meetings?  Let us know, so we can create the most effective agendas that meet your collective needs. 

Next Baton Rouge MAC Meeting:

Where: TBA
When: October TBA

The Creative Alliance of New Orleans is seeking space in interested New Orleans Charter Schools for our STUDIOS program.
This unique project-based arts education programming brings artists and creative professionals into schools to work side by side with students as they gain exposure to the arts, learn technical skills, engage with a team, and develop the confidence that comes with self-expression through completing a creative project.
Using CANO's tremendously successful Studio @ Colton model, artists locate their studio space in unused classroom spaces in exchange for leading project-based arts enrichment educational programming.  Apart from making available and maintaining otherwise unused space, the STUDIOS program comes free of cost to schools. 
CANO brought Studio @ Colton to St. Claude Avenue in Fall of 2008, which served hundreds of students over the past year and hosted numerous exhibitions and presentations of artists' and students' creative products. As of August 1st, Studio @ Colton closes its doors to make room for renovations in anticipation of the new school to be opening in the Colton School Building.  
CANO artists and creative professionals ranging from writers and dance, theater, music, and visual arts educators to recording and film production technicians, landscape architects to graphics and industrial designers are excited to continue their vibrant, fun, and productive programs in New Orleans schools.
For more information on programs that fit your school's needs and curriculum focus, please contact Katherine Bray at or c: 404 312 7730.
Katherine Bray
Program Director
Creative Alliance of New Orleans

Articles of Interest 
"New Orleans insurance costs spur complaints"
The Advocate
July 16, 2009

Whether the state should continue picking up the tab for property insurance costs on most public schools in New Orleans is triggering new controversy.

"Charter Schools Gain In Stimulus Scramble"
Wall Street Journal
July 17, 2009

Some cash-strapped states and school districts are signaling a major expansion of charter schools to tap $5 billion in federal stimulus funds, despite strong opposition from some teachers unions.

"Achievement Gaps: How Black and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)"
National Center for Education Statistics
July 2009

Provides detailed information on the size of the achievement gaps between Black and White students at both the national and state level and how those achievement gaps have changed over time. Most of the data in this report is derived from the results of the 2007 main NAEP assessments, and is supplemented with data from the long-term trend assessments.
"Giving to Education Likely to Decline Nearly 4 Percent in 2008-09; Modest Growth Predicted in 2009-10"
Council for Advancement and Support of Education
July 20, 2009 
Fundraisers for schools, colleges and universities will likely see an average decline in giving to education of 3.9 percent when they close their books for the 2008-09 academic year, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education's fundraising index.

"Charter school advocates applaud RSD chief"
Times Picayune
August 2, 2009

A great letter to the editor written by LAPCS Executive Director, Caroline Roemer Shirley, and New School for New Orleans Founder, Sarah Usdin, supporting Paul Pastorek's reform efforts. 
Job Listings On LAPCS Website
Please let your HR or recruiting staffer know that this resource is available. Please note that the LAPCS website now has a statewide job vacancy posting page on our website. 
To access the page, click HERE.
The Eastbank Collaborative of Charter Schools also has a New Orleans job vacancy page available. 
To access this site, click HERE.
About Us 


The mission of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools is to increase student achievement by supporting, promoting, and advocating for the quality charter school movement.
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

Sherman Whites, Business and Operations Director
Prior to joining the charter school association, Sherman was a team leader for Target Corporation in Raleigh/Durham, NC.  In this role, he was responsible for logistics and food operations for a $65MM retail unit, and managed over 300 hourly employees.  He also served as an adjunct instructor at North Carolina Central University's school of business.  Earlier in his career, Sherman gained experience in the areas of consumer product marketing as well as engineering.  Community service has been equally important during his career; he has served as a youth mentor and worked to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in urban communities.
Contact Sherman at

Jenna Christianson-Barker, Business and Research Assistant
Jenna has several years of non-profit experience, working with organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Partnership Against Domestic Violence. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she earned a degree in Political Science, International Development. She is currently working on her MBA degree at Loyola University, New Orleans. 
Contact Jenna at


2009 Louisiana Charter Schools Conference
September 11-12, 2009
New Orleans, La

***See more information about venue and keynote speakers in "Events" below***


Interested in saving 15-85% off the list-price on office and classroom supplies? 

 Learn more about our STAPLES Statewide Charter Schools Buying Program open to all LAPCS members!  Click HERE!


Warren Easton High School Receives Donation as part of the New Orleans Solar School Initiative

IX Energy Holdings, Inc.  a company engaged in the development of solar power and other renewable energy solutions for the federal government and commercial markets, announced that it is partnering with Advanced Green Technologies (AGT), a subsidiary of Advanced Roofing, to build a 28kW rooftop solar array at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans as part of the New Orleans Solar School Initiative.

Lafayette Charter High School praised in Baton Rouge's Advocate about their success in graduating students!

Congratulations!  To read the full article, click HERE.

ADVANCE Baton Rouge Teachers Tour Neighborhoods

Last week ABR teachers toured the neighborhoods of the children that will be in their classrooms for a deeper level of understanding.  Read more HERE.

Sophie B. Wright and Sharon Clark Featured in Gulf South Publication

10/12 Magazine wrote an extensive feature on the success of Sophie B.Wright Charter School under the leadership of Ms. Clark.  Read the Article HERE.

East Feliciana School Board approves Type 1 Charter School

East Feliciana narrowly approves a new charter school for the 2010 school year.  Read more HERE.

Have a Voice! 
Have you joined the LAPCS as a member?  For more information about membership  and it's many benefits, click here.