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Not enough choices at the OneApp late enrollment cycle for Rhonda Jordan

 

With tears in her eyes, Rhonda Jordan expressed fear and uncertainty concerning her son who will be an incoming 9th grader in the fall. They are hoping the OneApp late enrollment process yields a positive result and are holding out hope to land a spot at one of the top schools in the city.

Her youngest and only son just finished at Langston Hughes. Although he has had behavioral issues in the past,  he was in a supportive environment where he was being coached beyond academics. All of her school choices were “C” grade schools away from their community. Because she knows what her son needs in a school—her top priority is getting her son into a school that encourages his academic, behavioral and emotional growth. “I want my child to go to school to get an education, not to be in fear of constant confrontation.” Rhonda believes confrontation comes from children not knowing each other and coming from different wards in the city.

For students who need positive behavioral support, attending a “C” grade school while beholden to can result in parent voices like Rhonda saying, “I fear for my son’s life in this city and this shouldn’t be the case at a school.” Children land in schools in unfamiliar neighborhoods, turfs, and wards, yet are expected to co-exist and perform. As educators, reformers, and community stakeholders, what can we do to build community on school campuses that allows students to bring in their positive identities and values to perform as their true authentic selves? With the concern of turfs and sets rising in New Orleans, how can schools and a decentralized school system create a strengths-based strategy for building a sustainable school community where children thrive and parents don’t fear for their safety?

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