What’s in a School Mission? A Look into New Orleans’ Collegiate Academies Promise of College Success to its Students and Families
The mission: CA builds world-class public schools that prepare all students for college success and lives of unlimited opportunity.
“College isn’t for everyone!”
Or is it?
No matter which side you stand on, the promise of preparation for college is one that Ben Marcovitz, CEO of Collegiate Academies, and his school leaders and staff plan to keep to the students and families they serve within the city of New Orleans.
Within the network of Collegiate Academies are its four schools: Abramson Sci Academy, Carver Collegiate, Livingston Collegiate, and the newly founded, Baton Rouge Collegiate(currently enrolling for its Fall 2017 opening).
Additionally, Opportunities Academy is the network’s post-secondary full day program for scholars with moderate to significant disabilities with a focus on supporting each student in achieving his or her highest level of independence in pursuit of meaningful and fulfilling personal and professional outcomes in the areas of independent living, community access, and career readiness.
When this image blared across the projector during Marcovitz’s presentation to his school staff during the network’s retreat, I couldn’t help but become consumed with emotion.
This could have been because of his strategic pairing of the image and mission with a story of a former student who despite struggling significantly(evidenced by a series of documents and reports) to excel both academically and behavioral, is a 2017 graduate of Grambling State University and is currently in the process of applying for employment with the network’s CA Next program(designed to provide support throughout CA graduates’ college career to promote college persistence) to assist students with barriers that mirror his own so that they too can successfully complete college.
Or too, because this was a particularly difficult school year for myself as a school staff member, and despite how desperately my colleagues and I want our kids to persevere, see past their barriers and become successful, the truth is that it takes more than our passion to get the job done.
And while passion is definitely a prerequisite, more than this, after seeing the CA’s revamped mission statement, I’m beginning to realize that it takes our promise.
I feel compelled to repeat this during each blog post I write, but this work is hard.
And with hard work, there are measurable outcomes that not only funding sources but educators too, look forward to in order to identify that the work we do is worthwhile.
Is it worth the sacrifice? Worth all the stress?
And what about the students themselves? What about their parents and families?
What about the community? What do they want? What do they equate to success?
Is college the desired outcome?
Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the proposition of college preparation for all kids is a blaring one among NOLA schools, and although possibly intimidating and/or seemingly unrealistic to some natives, given data such as a 2015 report from the National Student Clearinghouse that concluded that students from low-income high schools are less likely to attend four-year colleges compared to graduates from higher income high schools, regardless of location or minority enrollment, I don’t believe CA and other schools alike’s mission is to distract or deter young adults from seeking alternative routes for success; as Markovitz went on to acknowledge that there is a percentage(approx 15%) the network’s students that will need an alternative pathway, including career/technical avenues, etc, but a school and network that promises that its students will have a chance to attend college, if they choose, is a school that is determined to do the necessary pre-work to ensure this possibility is a tangible one.
And as New Orleans continues to rank among the highest in poverty rates across the country (In 2015, nearly 37 percent of children under 18 were living in poverty. For children under the age of 5, the number was bleaker: 44.2 percent were living in poverty.) it is no wonder why school leaders are placing so much emphasis on changing mindsets and creating opportunities to narrow achievement gaps to ensure our kids are able to maximize their chances for success.
The formula may not be a perfect one just yet.
But keeping the promise is the ownership we need as educators to put our best foot forward to get the job done for our future world leaders.
Click here to read more about Collegiate Academies and its four schools throughout the region.
Click here to read more about Baton Rouge Collegiate and explore enrollment options.
Click here to read more about Opportunities Academy as a post-secondary option for students with moderate to significant disabilities.
The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Collegiate Academies.