Despite a vow by a failed charter operator to fight the state’s revocation of its contract to run McDonogh No. 42, , an attitude of cordiality prevailed at tonight’s open-house to introduce parents to the new charter operator.

Treme Charter School Association officials, who will continue running the school for the next several months, warmly welcomed officials from the Choice Foundation, the charter operator slated to operate the campus next school year. The meeting at the school was scheduled to let parents know what to expect.

The school earned a 62.6 on its most recent School Performance Score, where any school below 65 is considered failing. The score the previous year was 65.3. Choice runs Lafayette Academy, with a score of 88.5, and this academic year took over Esperanza Charter, with a score of 62.1.

The Treme board president, Rosalyn Smith, was quick to quell any concerns that bad blood existed between the two groups.


“There are no hostilities. You are not going to see us fighting and pulling our hair over this. TCSA does not want to surrender our charter, but BESE [the state school board] has decided … and we can’t lose parents,” she said to an audience of 30.

At a board meeting just days earlier, however, Smith’s and her board’s tune was a tad different. At its Jan. 28 meeting, the group went so far as to sign a resolution stating that they would fight any efforts by the state to reassign their charter to a different operator – but in the same breath, the group agreed to work with the new operator to benefit the community.

Cooperation was indeed the spirit tonight as Smith invited Mickey Landry, the principal at Choice Foundation’s flagship school, Lafayette Academy, to make a presentation to the crowd. Landry said that this meeting would be the first of many for parents to ask questions.

Questions concerned mostly day-to-day issues – worries over new bus schedules, changes in the uniform, and teacher retention. Landry said that each teacher at McDonogh No. 42 would be interviewed and observed closely by the new administration, but that a mass overhaul of staff isn’t on his agenda.

“We’re not coming in to clean house of students or teachers,” he said.

The meeting was the second of five such meetings for schools scheduled by the Recovery School District to either be chartered, re-chartered under a new operator, or shut down. The next meeting will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School, which will be closed after this school year.

Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams stays on top of the city's loosely organized collection of public schools, with a special emphasis on charter schools. In 2011 she was recognized by the Press Club of New Orleans for her...