Issue # 14
May 2010
Policy Update



SB 274 (Sen. Heitmeier)
Summary: Permits charter schools to enroll teachers already participating in TRSL at the time of hire to remain in TRSL, while non-TRSL teachers will be exempt from mandated TRSL participation.  Although this bill can go into effect only after the IRS provides a favorable ruling, we believe this bill is favorable to charter schools as it expands the retirement plan choices available to charter school teachers. 
Status: Passed Senate Retirement Committee on Monday, May 17th with no amendments.  This week, the bill passed the Senate.  Awaiting assignment to House Retirement Committee.
HB 1128 became Substitute HB 1487 (Rep. Leger)
Summary: This bill requires charter schools to comply with two existing state statutes:  RS 17:3911, which mandates data collection for all LEA's across the state, and with which most charter schools already comply; and RS 17:252, which mandates all LEA's across the state adhere to BESE's Model Master Plan for Positive Behavioral Supports, again a set of policies and procedures which many charter school already implement.
Status: Passed House Education Committee on Tuesday, May 18th with significant amendments.  This week, bill passed the House.  Awaiting assignment in Senate Education Committee.

SB 492 (Sen. Nevers)
Summary: As detailed in earlier emails, this bill was heard several weeks ago in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, and was passed with no opposition.  Afterwards, with support from Sen. Ann Duplessis of New Orleans, we worked with Sen. Nevers on a compromise to amend the bill from a Tier 2 reporting requirement to Tier 3 reporting instead.  This amendment was brought from the floor of the Senate and passed. Unfortunately, the language of the amendment was not correct and required editing and cleanup on the House side.
Status: Passed the Senate. Passed House and Governmental Affairs on Tuesday, May 25th with Tier 3 amendment.  Awaiting assignment to House calendar.

SB 1033 (Rep. Hoffman) 
Summary: Governor's bill that addresses a value add system and teacher evaluation processes. Original bill did not impact charter schools.  However, as often time happens, charter schools were brought into the bill through the introduction of an amendment.  The first amendment, presented in House Education Committee by Rep. Hoffman, added charter school teachers into the evaluation requirements.  The bill was further amended in the Senate Education Committee by Sen. Nevers to include charter school principals in the evaluation process. These amendments align charter school teachers and principals with what will be required of traditional public school teachers and principals.
The Association is currently reviewing the bill and the accompanying amendment and will provide members wth an indepth report on the bill next week.  It is important to note that the bill's requirements will not take effect for two years, and currently a pilot program is underway, of which a handful of charter schools are participating.
Status: Bill has passed both the House and Senate.

HB 420 (Rep. Leger)
Summary: Adjusts the funding formula for Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 charter schools.
Status: Passed the House. Passed Senate Education Committee on Thursday, May 27. Awaiting assignment to Senate calendar.

SB 240 (Sen. Murray)
Summary: Permits Orleans Parish School Board to carve out $6 million from a $12 - 15 million millage roll forward for the purpose of legacy costs.
Status: Has passed the Senate. Wednesday, May 26, bill passed out of the House Education Committee with no amendments. Awaiting assignment to House calendar.

SB 66 (Sen. Morrell)
Summary: Bill would mandate all charter schools implement a neighborhood attendance zone that would be 30% of a school's enrollment population.
Status: Bill passed Senate Education Committee on Thursday, May 20th after extensive amendments. Those amendments included: No longer a mandate with a required percentage, but instead is an option for a charter school that must be first approved by the petitioning school's authorizer. Not applicable toType 2 charter schools or charter high schools.

Last week BESE convened, passing three motions specific to charter schools.
  • Alternative Education Tax:  Each Type 5 charter school will be asked to pay a $50/student fee to subsidize the RSD-operated alternative education schools.  The same cost sharing mechanism will apply to RSD direct-operated schools, if alternative schools are run through charter operators in the future.
  • Attendance Zones:  The RSD will form a taskforce to study the creation of attendance zones in New Orleans for both Type 5 charters and RSD-operated schools.  The taskforce will convene in June and meet monthly, ultimately presenting policy recommendations to BESE in December - with the intent to implement those recommendations for the 2011-12 school year, if necessary.
  • Year Four Extensions:  BESE changed existing policy in Section 1305(A)(2) in Bulletin 126 to provide additional discretion to the authorizer when considering schools seeking 1-year extensions in June of the fourth year of their initial charters.

Charter School Day at the Capitol a Success!

Superintendent Paul Pastorek addresses Louisiana's charter school parents before the BESE RSD Committee Meeting
We want to thank ALL the charter school parents, school leaders and board members who traveled to Baton Rouge this week on Wednesday, May 19th, to launch our inaugural "Charter School Day at the Capitol" - which was an OUTSTANDING SUCCESS!  More than 25 different charter schools from across the state were represented at the legislature and at BESE, and we've already heard from state senators and representatives, as well as BESE members, how impressed they were by our schools' commitment and passion for public education!  Great work, everyone!!

JP Morgan Chase Creates $325 Million Funding Initiative for High-Performing Charter Schools

JPMorgan Chase has announced a $325 million initiative to support the growth of high-performing charter schools in the United States.

The global financial services firm will provide $50 million in grants to community development financial institutions that in turn will use the funding as equity to leverage funding to top-performing charter schools. The bank also will work with CDFIs to provide about $175 million in debt and approximately $100 million in new markets tax credit equity to support the development of charter school facilities, enabling the CDFIs to access federal financing programs designed to help charter schools meet their facility needs.

To date, the bank's CDFI partners include the Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia, the San Francisco-based Low Income Investment Fund, and NCB Capital Impact in Arlington, Virginia. Additional partners are expected to be announced later this year.

JPMorgan Chase estimates that the initiative will help underwrite about forty charter schools serving more than fifty thousand students. Despite the growing demand from families across the country for charter schools, arranging financing for expanded and new facilities has been difficult. While public school districts can access the municipal bond market for long-term funding, charter schools almost always pay more for financing because lenders require higher interest rates from the relatively new industry.

"Many charter schools have expanded access to academic opportunities for students in all types of communities, so we shouldn't let tough economic times bring them down," said JPMorgan Chase chair and CEO Jamie Dimon. "Improving educational opportunities is a cornerstone of JPMorgan Chase's philanthropic giving."

$50 Million Grant Competition for Charter Schools

The U.S. Department of Education's Charter Schools Program has announced a new $50 million grant competition. Grants for the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools will provide funding to assist nonprofit charter management organizations and other nonprofit entities in replicating or expanding high-quality charter schools with demonstrated records of success. Applicants must have experience operating more than one high-quality charter school.

Applications are due by July 7, 2010, and must be submitted through the e-Application system at A preapplication meeting will be held on June 8, 2010, in Washington, D.C.  For those interested in attending, either in person or by phone, please RSVP to

More information is available online at

4th Annual Charter School Teacher Fair a Great Success!

Audubon Charter School in New Orleans speaks to a candidate at the 4th Annual Charter School Certified Teacher Fair

he 4th Annual Charter School Certified Teacher Fair took place on May 15th, 2010 at Xavier University a drew in teachers from all over the country looking to educate Louisiana's charter school students.

Over 450 teachers attended this year's fair Thank you to all of the 50 schools that participated and had success finding quality candidates to teach in our schools!  Participating schools were primarily from New Orleans, but both Bat Rouge and Shreveport charter schools were represented, as well.

The website is still activated and  schools can now update their own vacancies by contacting the Eastbank Collaborative at 267-7239.
Success Story: MAX Charter School

Donning Victorian-style costumes, these twelve MAX Charter School students, along with their teacher Ms. Gina Coggins, entertained their guests at a Time-Warp Victorian Tea held at the school on Wednesday, May 19.

Getting young students to read, especially when they have difficulty in processing information-as is the case of children with dyslexia-is often a challenge.  The MAX Charter School, located on the Nicholls State University campus in Thibodaux, LA, and created to help these unique "at-risk" children succeed, just may have found a solution.

Eighth grade English/language arts teacher Gina Coggins always makes sure that there is an interactive culminating activity after the reading and discussion of each assigned book.  Upon completing their latest book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a story that primarily takes place in Yorkshire, England, and emphasizes the power and necessity of positive thinking, the class hosted a tea party on Wednesday, May 19, 2010,  from 8:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M. and dubbed it a "Time-Warp Victorian Tea."
The eighth grade class sent out formal invitations to eighth grade parents, MAX Board members, and other esteemed individuals.  Present at the tea was Queen Victoria (aka Ms. Gina Coggins) with her personal herald Sir Ian Duplantis and an entourage of costumed ladies and British gentlemen literally "dressed to a tea"-the eighth grade students.    Having written and illustrated their own books, the students entertained Her Majesty and her guests with their original tales and with biographies of famous authors.
Guests were served a typical English tea menu, consisting of such delicacies as cucumber sandwiches, biscotti, miniature muffins and petit fours, strawberries, and four different teas.  Ladies-in-waiting were fellow teachers Ms. Rebecca Albert and Ms. Shawn Dudek.  Making a cameo appearance was the mother of the queen--Ms. Carolyn Nezzio.
The event was truly entertaining and enlightening.  All who attended were delighted, and the seventh graders who will be eighth graders next school year can't wait to read the novel for themselves and host their very own tea party.
Before the guests went home, a special book signing took place.  Hosting this tea party as a follow-up activity to the in-depth study of The Secret Garden truly made reading an engaging experience for the students and all present.
For some of the students, partaking of the freshly brewed tea was a first-time experience.  One could hear, "Fancy a spot of tea, Love?" spoken quite frequently throughout the event, and the resounding response was always, "Beastly good!"

Local Grant Opportunity

The New Orleans Kids Partnership
is happy to announce the "My Idea" grants program. This exciting opportunity will provide $25,000 in local grant awards for eligible high school students.

Every 26 seconds a young person drops out of high school. To solve that problem, America's Promise Alliance, AT&T and NOKP are looking for the energy, enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to help make this country a Grad Nation.  "My Idea" will empower young people to take action to increase high school graduation rates -- improving outcomes for themselves and their community.

Grants of $500-$1,500 will be awarded to local youth for the best ideas submitted to help increase the graduation rate in the Greater New Orleans area.

Please refer to the attachments for guidelines for the grants program and to print up fliers for your students.  Also, if you have a group of students interested in participating in a grant writing session, please contact us to set a date.

Help a young person make a lasting difference in your community by reaching out to your students or forwarding this e-mail to community organizations that may be interested.  If you have any questions, please contact Jewel Constance at or 504.470.3480.

For the application and more information, please click here.
Deadline: June 11, 2010

The New Orleans Kids Partnership (NOKP) is an initiative at the United Way. We believe that children and youth are the most valuable assets in our community.  We are a voluntary collaboration of those who already serve, support, engage and empower children and youth in the greater New Orleans area.  Working in collaboration with our community, organizations and families, we develop, share, coordinate and leverage resources so that all children and youth reach their optimal potential.

Job Listings On LAPCS Website
Please note that the LAPCS website now has a statewide job vacancy posting page on our website.  Please let your HR or recruiting staffer know that this resource is available. 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.

Grant Opportunities

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.

  Members Advisory Council Meetings

New Orleans Members Advisory Council Meeting
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
5:00-6:30 P.M.
New Orleans College Prep, 3127 Martin Luther King Drive, New Orleans

Baton Rouge Members Advisory Council Meeting
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
4:00-5:30 P.M.
Prescott Middle School, 4055 Prescott Road, Baton Rouge, LA   
Master's Degree Program for Teachers

The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools announces the opportunity for our members and teachers to access University of Texas Arlington high-quality, fully online master's degrees. Through July, 2010, UT Arlington continues to offer the online master's degree program for
$4,950.  All documents are due June 5, to receive current tuition.  Tuition rates increase to $6,450 for classes beginning with the August 16th, 2010 start date.  Also, Arkansas State University is offering masters programs for $7,488.  ASU does not require a GRE score.  

The Federal Government is also providing funding resources available to all Title I schools to fund your entire degree.For more information on the Federal loans and grants or to take advantage of UTA's $4,950 tuition rate, click here: or call Andy Clark at 866-489-2810 ext 4010.  For information regarding ASU's masters offerings click: or call 866-621-8096 ext 4010.
Articles of Interest 
"All-boys charter sending whole class to college "
Education Week
April 28, 2010

In Chicago, the graduation rate for African-American boys is about 40 percent, and only about half of all students are accepted to some form of college. The chances of young black men going to college-particularly young men from the poorest neighborhoods-are not good.

"Can Louisiana education reform survive teachers unions' assault?"

The Washington Post
May 1, 2010

Having thwarted efforts to revamp teacher evaluations in Florida, teachers unions are now aiming to block reform in Louisiana. An intense lobbying campaign is underway to defeat Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's ambitious education reform agenda. State lawmakers should follow his lead in standing up for student interests.

"The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand"
The New York Times
May 17, 2010

Michael Mulgrew is an affable former Brooklyn vocational-high-school teacher who took over last year as head of New York City's United Federation of Teachers when his predecessor, Randi Weingarten, moved to Washington to run the national American Federation of Teachers. Over breakfast in March, we talked about a movement spreading across the country to hold public-school teachers accountable by compensating, promoting or even removing them according to the results they produce in class, as measured in part by student test scores. Mulgrew's 165-page union contract takes the opposite approach. It not only specifies everything that teachers will do and will not do during a six-hour-57 -minute workday but also requires that teachers be paid based on how long they have been on the job. Once they've been teaching for three years and judged satisfactory in a process that invariably judges all but a few of them satisfactory, they are ensured lifetime tenure.

"What Educators Are Learning From Money Managers"
Forbes Magazine
May 20, 2010

Brownsville Elementary School in Brooklyn is surrounded by neighborhoods with the highest murder rates in New York City. But inside the charter school at 10:30 a.m. everything is tranquil. Dressed in identical uniforms of green polo shirts and khakis, students walk carefully along tape strips in the halls before sitting down at their desks. Except for controlled bursts of excitement, as when a teacher asks kids to yell out their goals for a lesson, classrooms are hushed in concentration. Children perform tasks like organizing papers on their desks and placing pencils next to their books with precision.

"Rebuilding Detroit Schools:  A Tale of Two Cities' School Systems"
NPR Michigan
April 8, 2010

The schools in New Orleans were once considered among the worst in the country. Then Hurricane Katrina tore through, and the school system was rebuilt. It's now considered a laboratory for urban education reform. 
Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett and Jennifer Guerra have this look at what Detroit might learn from the Big Easy.  Read the entire series of articles at the link below.
About Us 
The mission of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) is to increase student achievement by supporting, promoting, and advocating for the quality charter school movement.

Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director
Contact Caroline at
Andrea Chen, Membership & Programs Director
Contact Andrea at 
Elizabeth Garrett, Communications Director
Contact Elizabeth at

Renita Thukral, Policy Director
Contact Renita at

Sherman Whites, Business & Operations Director
Contact Sherman at
In This Issue
Policy Update
Charter School Day
JP Morgan Grant
US DOE Grant
Teacher Fair
Charter School Success Story
Local Grant
Job Postings
Upcoming Events
National News
Spring 2010 scores were released and New Orleans has improved again!

Check out the Educate Now! analysis for all public schools in New Orleans by clicking HERE.  The Association is currently undergoing analysis for all charter schools throughout Louisiana and will release that report later this month.

Singleton Charter School focus of new Post-Katrina Documentary

Wade in the Water, Children follows the children of Singleton Charter School in Post-Katrina New Orleans.   Check out the trailer and more HERE.

Former Secretary of Education Dr. Rod Paige visits Milestone Sabis Acdaemy

The New Orleans charter school received a visit from the former Secretary of Education while he was in town last week.

Prescott Middle School Teacher profiled in the Advocate for "Musical Math" technique

Sarah Broome, a second year TFA teachers at the charter schools is creatively teaching math to her middle school students.  Good Job, Sarah!
Read  more

The Cowen Institute and the Bureau of Governmental Research release a report on Charter School Governance in New Orleans

The report is titled Managing Innovation: Models for Governing the System of Public Schools in New Orleans.The report presents five potential models for governing public schools in New Orleans and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each. To read more about and download the report, click here.
3rd Annual Louisiana Charter Schools Conference

October 15-16, 2010

Hilton Riverside Hotel
New Orleans

Interested in exhibiting at the conference?  Click HERE for more information.

Stay tuned for more information.


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!
Questions? Email

Click HERE to become a fan of the LAPCS Facebook Page!