Issue # 16
July 2010
Policy Update


BESE met Tuesday, June 29th to July 1st, 2010. 

The most significant agenda item included consideration of charter extensions for schools finishing their third year of operation.

Charter Renewals & Extensions

The only charter school whose five year charter was up was Capdau Elementary School in New Orleans.  The school was granted a three year renewal. 

The eight New Orleans schools that were due for three year evaluations were as follows:
  • Arthur Ashe Charter School
  • Abramson Science & Technology School
  • Langston Hughes Charter School
  • McDonogh 42 Charter School
  • Andrew Wilson Charter School
  • New Orleans College Prep
  • KIPP Central City Charter School
  • Algiers Technology Charter School
All of the schools were granted one year extensions due to financial reasons, with the exception of New Orleans College Prep, which was granted a two year extension for meeting the academic and financial standards used to evaluate the schools.

Only one school, Esperanza Charter School, was not renewed.  The school's management organization, the United Neighborhood Organization, voluntarily forfeited it's charter and the school was approved for new management under the Choice Foundation, which currently operates Lafayette Academy.

BESE will not meet in July, and scheduled to meet next August 17-19, 2010.
Charter Chat with Erin Bendily of LDOE Charter Office

Paul Pastorek recently named Erin Bendily the new Director of the Charter Schools office in the Louisiana Department of Education.  Here, we chat with Erin about her background and new position.

1.) Welcome to the LDOE Charter Schools Office! Tell us a bit about your background.

I'm a proud native of Louisiana and a graduate of our state's public school system. My interest in education began when I was in college. I became very involved as a college student leader at Southeastern Louisiana University and had the opportunity to represent my fellow students across the state in higher education policy matters. Upon graduating, I began my career in state and federal government, including roles with the Board of Regents, where I helped to administer university research grant programs, and the Office of Congressman Bobby Jindal, where I managed constituent services for our state's third congressional district. During this time I attended LSU in the evenings to earn my Master's Degree in Public Administration, with a concentration in Higher Education. Most recently I served as Governor Jindal's Education Policy Advisor, where I worked extensively with the Pre-K-12 and postsecondary education communities to advance reform. I'm also still a college student, working to complete my Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and
Research. Between work and spending time with my husband and our 1 year old son, I try to find time to work on my dissertation proposal. It's important to me that I finish what I start, and I'm actually thinking of changing my dissertation to a topic related to charter schools.

2.) What was it like to work as Governor Jindal's Education Policy Advisor?

Serving on the Governor Jindal's Policy Team was a great honor, and it provided me with an invaluable experience and perspective that I believe will help to advance a quality charter movement and other parental options across our state. I was able to work with many stakeholders from around Louisiana, including students, parents, teachers and school leaders from both public and private schools, home school students and parents, college and university officials, state agency heads, school board members, legislators, and business representatives, to advance the Governor's agenda for education. We were successful as passing key policy changes related to accountability, curriculum, education finance, discipline, teacher evaluations, and governance, and we made tremendous steps forward, especially during this past legislative session.

Governor Jindal is a strong proponent of using innovative practices in our schools and empowering parents and communities in the education of our children, and this aligns closely with the work we are doing through charter schools. I'm excited to be able to continue working to advance those reforms in a meaningful way.

3.) What compelled you to take the position as the Director of Charter Schools at the LDOE?

Over the past several years as I've worked to improve education in our state, it has become evident to me that while Louisiana has significant challenges, the extent to which we can effectively address those challenges is largely dependent on our level of courage. Courage to actually do what we know works, and to do what is in the best interest of children. Under Superintendent Pastorek's leadership, our state has implemented a number of education reforms that, while not always popular with the status quo, are producing great results for children. Many of those results have been achieved through charter schools directly or by replicating some of the best practices and features of charter schools in traditional public schools. I'm thrilled to be a part of that and am looking forward to even greater success as we stay the course.

4.) What are your top three priorities as Director of Louisiana's Charter School Office?

My first priority is to strengthen the quality of charter school authorizing in our state. Louisiana is regarded as a leader in this area, but there are additional steps we can take to promote high levels of performance in our charter schools. We can institute a more rigorous charter school application process, set higher expectations, and hold schools more accountable for outcomes.

This, however, requires a greater level of support, which is a second priority. Charter schools are autonomous, but they need our support as they start up, encounter challenges along the way, and work to sustain long-term growth in student achievement and overall school performance.

Replicating successful educational models and engaging more individuals is a third priority, which will involve considerable outreach, creative partnerships, and technical assistance. We desperately need more parents, educators, business and community leaders to step forward and take an active role in increasing the educational options available to our students. We want to increase the number of high-quality schools and learn from their implementation of innovative practices. But we also want to stimulate healthy competition to motivate all public schools to achieve higher levels of school performance. I'm looking forward to cultivating more of these opportunities. 

3rd Annual Louisiana Charter Schools Conference


 Registration is officially open for the 3rd Annual Louisiana Charter Schools Conference to be held October 15-16 at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans.  Special conference rates at the hotel are $149/nt. (Limited availability; Rate available until on September 10th).  Click HERE to reserve a room. 
Request for Presenters
Thank you to all of you who submitted proposals to present at the conference.  Our conference planning committees will meet and decide on presentations in the next few weeks.
Award Ceremony Nominations
We are pleased to announce the 2nd 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.  Nominate a charter school leader, board, teacher, student, and champion to be honored at this year's event.  Also, we have added a "vendor" category this year so you can share with your fellow charter schools who the best company in Louisiana is that you work with!  Click HERE to access the online submission form.  Deadline for nominations is September 15, 2010.

Exhibit / Sponsor

We are officially sold out!  If you would like to be placed on a waiting list in the event that we have cancellations, please contact Elizabeth Garrett (contact info below.)

Keynote Speakers

Peter Groff, President, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

We have confirmed our first keynote speaker, and we pleased to announced that Peter Groff, the new president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools will address our attendees on Friday, October 15th, 2010.

Before joining the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Groff served as the director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U. S. Department of Education. Prior to accepting that position, Groff was the founder and executive director of the University of Denver's Center for New Politics and Policy (formerly Center for African American Policy), and lectured at the University's Public Policy program.

Groff also served as the 47th president of the Colorado State Senate and was the first African-American in Colorado to hold that post, and only the third African-American in the nation's history to hold the gavel as state Senate president. Senator Groff, who was called the "Conscience of the Senate," served in the Colorado General Assembly for nine years and passed landmark legislation creating visionary education reform measures, prohibiting racial profiling and requiring booster seats for young children.

Born in Chicago, Groff was raised in Denver. He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Redlands (Calif.), a Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Denver. 

Stay tuned for more keynote speakers and presenters!
Questions? Contact Elizabeth Garrett at or 504-274-3651

New Orleans Type 5 Facilities Meeting

Last Thursday, July 17th, 2010, the RSD Superintendent Paul Vallas and RSD officials hosted a meeting for Type 5 New Orleans charters to announce current and future facilities assignments and to present site selection criteria.  Type 5 charter school leaders and board chairs may stop by our offices to pick up a copy of the draft recommendations.  The RSD welcomes feedback from charter school leaders and board chairs.  Please contact Ramsey Green at <>.

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.
Welcome New Members
New School Members

JK Haynes Elementary Charter School (Baton Rouge)
Imagine Schools (School Developer)

New Vendor Members

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
August 10, 2010
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Location TBA

Baton Rouge Members Advisory Council Meeting
August 17, 2010
4:00 - 5:30 P.M.
Location TBA


1st Annual Green Schools National Conference
October 24-26, 2010
Minneapolis, MN

Please take advantage of discounts by registering by July 31st as we have established a special Early Bird registration rate for teachers/parents/university student at the rate of $215.00.  Individual rate for administration and other school personnel is $280.00.  

We have also established a special discount code for Green Charter Schools Network members.  To join the GCSN please log onto   By joining the GCSN the rate for teacher/parent/university student is $195.00 which is $20 off the lowest rate. 

Individual rate for administration and other school personnel will be $195.00 which is $85 off the lowest rate. 
We are encouraging both comprehensive and emerging Green Schools from across the United States to participate in this Green Schools historic event.  The Green Charter Schools National Network is hosting the 1st Annual Green Schools National Conference, October 24-26, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   Please check out the conference website at  the time is right for this groundbreaking event to bring together public, public charter, independent school leaders, educators, students, business, community leaders and policymakers to focus on the overall topic of greening our nation's schools.  
The theme of the conference is "Growing Green Schools Across America" This event will provide a unique forum and opportunity for the national K-12 education community to meet, network, learn and share ideas around greening our nation's schools.  The projects and experiences shared at this event will lay the groundwork for preparing future generations of green citizens who will make the world a better place to live in.

We are encouraging all comprehensive and emerging Green Charter Schools to participate in this inaugural event.  Green Schools have developed and implemented models that can be replicated in all schools.  They have developed sustainability models for their schools by reducing energy consumption resulting in reduction of operating expenses.  Sustainability for their students by providing Green & Healthy facilities which include healthy eating programs, along with sustainability for our Earth; by recycling, reducing waste and Earth restoration projects.  

For general conference questions please email: 
Or call 1-800-280-6218
Articles of Interest 

"New Charter School for Children With Severe Disabilities"
ABC 4 News
July 8, 2010

A new charter school opening next month and it's the first of it's kind in Charleston.  Caring for a child with a severe disability is a full-time job. Just ask Linda McRae who cares for her six-year-old grandson, Raidon.  "He will always be on the level of a 5 or 6 month old," said McRae.   He's been going to Pattison's summer camp for the past four years and will be one of the 32 students for the first year with the charter school, Pattison's Academy for Comprehensive Education, or PACE.

"Louisiana Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek on the New Orleans School Choice Revolution"
Reason TV
July 8, 2010

Paul Pastorek has served as the Louisiana State Superintendent of Education since his appointment in 2007, less than two years after Katrina ravaged the region. The storm appeared to be the final blow to an already failing public school system. But then something amazing happened. In the wake of Katrina, reformers like Paul Pastorek decided to seize the opportunity to start fresh with a system based on choice.Today, New Orleans has the most market-based school system in the U.S.
View Video Interview...

"Big Bucks Fund Better Schools"
Miami Herald
July 12, 2010

Have you noticed the number of billionaires whose foundations have been investing their massive wealth in public education reform? If not, you should.

"Who is in charge at charter schools:  Six Criteria for Ensuring the Quality of Governing Boards"
Education Week
July 14, 2010

As the deadline for round two of the federal Race to the Top grant competition loomed in May, the New York state legislature passed a contentious bill that symbolizes the nation's hopes and fears for the charter school movement. New York raised the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state from 200 to 460, expanding future educational opportunities for thousands of children. And it prohibited new charter schools from hiring for-profit companies to manage those schools, thus constricting the range of the new opportunities.

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
New Director of Charter Schools
2010 Conference
Job Postings
New Members
Grant Opportunities
Upcoming Events
National News
Charter school students complete Power Ties program

Students from Samuel J. Green, Arthur Ashe Charter School, and McDonogh City Park Academy attended seminars on resumé-writing, interview skills, dress and office behavior. Students also participated in a Career Day and job-site visits. Read More...

NOLA clinics offer affordable healthcare at charter schools 

Tulane also offers services for children ages 0-24 via the New Orleans Children's Health Project.  The New Orleans program has locations at MLK Charter School, Esperanza Charter School, Andrew Jackson Elementary, and P.A. Capdau School. Read More...

Lanier Elementary in Baton Rouge to be featured on new NBC reality TV show School Pride
The new NBC show will completely remodel the ADVANCE Baton Rouge run charter school.  Read an article in The Advocate HERE.

New Orleans area LEAP scores are up

Leslie Jacobs appeared on WWL's morning show to discuss Educate Now's analysis of the scores.  View the interview HERE.


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!