By: Chris Meyer

A year of progress in expanding opportunities

As we near the end of 2018, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the enormous opportunities before our community. Through your support, we now have more than 5,000 students attending schools launched by New Schools for Baton Rouge, schools that are challenging beliefs about what is possible when we give kids access to a quality education. Hundreds of educators have joined school teams where they are more empowered and better able to leverage additional resources to meet their kids’ unique needs. New facilities are being built in a more sustainable and responsive fashion, leveraging private investment and helping improve neighborhoods. Over the next few weeks, I would like to share our gratitude, a few important updates on 2018, and what is ahead in 2019.

While we have made significant progress in improving access through new high quality school options, there is still a great need for our work in Baton Rouge. This year represented our largest opening of new schools to date. Nationally acclaimed operators BASIS and IDEA opened three schools in total across our city. Further, we were proud to support the opening of a unique new school model in the Emerge School, which is serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These new schools have provided all types of families, whether those feeling trapped with assignments to D or F rated schools or those sacrificing financial opportunities because they feel private schools are the only escape, with new, diverse options that are delivering on the promise of strong outcomes. Most importantly, schools recruited and sponsored by NSBR are in strong demand by families and all that received letter grades from the state have earned top scores in academic progress for students. These open-enrollment schools are quickly becoming the best non-selective schools available in Baton Rouge.

Unfortunately, recent letter grades for schools in our city show a growing number of D and F rated traditional public schools (now more than 40 serving 20,000 plus students). We need leaders to be aggressive about transforming these schools while replicating and expanding those schools that work. To contribute, in 2019, we expect to continue to see strong performance from the schools we have already launched and announce additional new school options that are both proven and unique. Until every student in our city can attend a great school, we must accelerate our work to identify and scale transformative schools.

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