Edna Karr High School’s band teacher came to Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr.’s town-hall meeting last week with one important question: Why wasn’t Karr’s band program listed as a choice for students on the common enrollment form released that day?
The launch of the centralized enrollment process, known as OneApp and run by the Recovery School District, and the Orleans Parish School Board’s September policy overhaul left Karr in the lurch, administrators say.
In prior years, Karr’s revered band program had its own listing on OneApp, so students could apply specifically for that program at the A-rated high school. But new policy requires such “focus programs” to be approved by the Orleans Parish superintendent and they cannot have admissions requirements, such as auditions.
Band Teacher Chris Herrero addressed Lewis, Orleans Parish School Board member Leslie Ellison and concerned parents during a public comment period last week, asking why his program no longer stood alone and asking that it be brought back.
Lewis said he could approve the programs, provided they met standards, as soon as the request got to his desk.
The InspireNOLA charter board runs Karr and two other schools. In an email Monday, InspireNOLA CEO Jamar McKneely said his team was submitting an application for four focus programs to Lewis’ office that day: the band program, and focus tracks in, digital media; hospitality; and science, technology, engineering and math.
The Policy, Performance & Accountability Office is reviewing the four applications prior to making a recommendation to Lewis, according to a district statement issued Wednesday. The statement also said the school should receive a status update within 30 days.
Edna Karr’s band program isn’t the only listing in flux. The Times-Picayune reported this weekend that McDonogh No. 35 Academy is under “status” review by the School Board and was not listed as an option on the OneApp. An agenda released by the School Board for a committee meeting tomorrow shows Lewis wants to end that program.
Despite a late release of school performance scores, the OneApp application timeline remains the same. It launched Nov. 2 and the main round is due Feb. 26; two additional rounds follow. There is also an early round, where specialized programs such as Karr’s band program fell in the past. Many language immersion programs have the early deadline, which is due Dec. 18.
Karr’s focus programs would fall under the standard deadline. Warren Easton Charter High School’s focus programs, which are listed in the OneApp, fall under the standard deadline as well.