Monday, February 11, 2008

Rebuilding New Orleans

I have had a chance to see quite a bit of the South on my Southern Circuits Tour. I was especially eager to see New Orleans since Katrina.

I had wonderful guides in my friends John Alford (fellow Echoing Green fellow '07) and Mary Chastain. This past fall, they opened the Langston Hughes Academy in New Orleans, serving 4th and 5th graders this year. Next year, they will be running a full K-12 school.

Langston Hughes is an extraordinary charter school, exemplified by high standards, a passionate and brilliant staff and overwhelming committment.

When I walked in the door, I saw banners in each classroom: Dream It! Do It! Be It! I heard teachers asking their kids to assume the "scholar position." I saw classes being referred to by the name of their teacher's alma mater: U. Penn, Yale, Dartmouth. I could see John's expertise with building highly successful KIPP schools at work in Langston Hughes.

I was left with a tremendous amount of hope for New Orleans. Check it out: NOLA180.org.