MOSAIC NOLA:The Gentilly Project

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

First New Orleans Public School Reopens

"Now that the schools are beginning to reopen I think we will see more people coming back to the city. They want to come back. This is their home." - Christine Mitchell, school principal of Ben Franklin Elementary School

Yesterday Ben Franklin Elementary became the first public school to re-open in New Orleans. When I personally began to see the greater significance of re-opening schools ASAP (only a week ago!), I thought opening any Orleans parish school by January would be an achievement, based on early feedback that I received on Mosaic actionable step#3.

Now there is one school open. From now through the month of December, the Mosaic website and this blog will be used to document the progress on the recovery steps.

It's the nature of any news headline to catch your eye and be sensational. What I'm going to do through December is use the Mosaic project to organize information around the recovery steps, with emphasis on maintaining relevant qualifications underneath the headlines. For instance:

1. Ben Franklin Elementary is located in the Uptown district, which was not heavily damaged.

2. It is a magnet school dedicated to math and science, and one of the top-performing public schools in New Orleans.

3. The school is "culturally diverse."

4. The school is now open to students of all abilities. Prior to Katrina, the school only accepted students with "high test scores and strong educational backgrounds."

To the extent that details about recovery progress are maintained in a coherent way, it's much easier to coordinate ourselves with respect to our seperate efforts.


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