In January, 2020, the CFP National Championship is happening in New Orleans, LA.
Even before Hurricane Katrina, schools in New Orleans were fraught with challenges. In the aftermath of the storm, traditional public schools were essentially wiped out, leaving a brave new world of public school via public charter schools. The relative Wild West that ensued was, admittedly, part trial and error. But over the past decade, the network of public charter schools has served the students of New Orleans well.
Two years ago, achievement started backsliding. Through diligent research into the root causes, our partners identified teacher turnover as a major driver of student success. In Orleans Parish, it’s common to see close to 1/3 of teachers opt out of returning to the classroom year-over-year.
We aren’t satisfied with that reality for the students of Orleans Parish. The CFP Foundation has about 18 months on the ground to make a difference, and we are committed to spending the time working with proven organizations to drive down teacher turnover and focus on keeping high-impact, results-driven teachers in the classroom.
Background and Focus
New Orleans public schools serve 40,000 economically disadvantaged children, more than any other city in the state. In addition, 91 percent are students of color and 12 percent are students with disabilities. There are 87 schools and approximately 2,700 teachers in Orleans Parish with an annual turnover rate of 900 teachers (29 percent). Until recently, student achievement in the challenging and economically disadvantaged system had been on the rise.
According to local leaders, the lack of continued success is a result of instability in the teacher workforce. Approximately one in three teachers leave their jobs every year, and there is not a clear and focused pipeline from local teacher preparation programs to support the long term stability of the workforce. Given these expressed needs, the primary focus of the partnership will be in Orleans Parish and involve teacher recruitment and retention. One goal of the impact strategy is to reduce this turnover rate by five percent by 2021.
Additional partners have been identified to help design and implement this work, including but not limited to, New Schools for New Orleans (through its signature initiative Teach New Orleans), Orleans Parish School Board, the Louisiana Department of Education, the American Institute for Research and local universities.
NEW ORLEANS PRIMARY INITIATIVES
Working with Teach New Orleans, Orleans Parish School Board and other local partners, the CFP Foundation will work to increase the number of qualified teachers in New Orleans from local universities and other teacher preparation programs.
The Go Teach Project
Leverage the CFP Foundation’s new initiative, the Go Teach Project, to support the recruitment and placement of student-athletes at local universities to become teachers in Orleans Parish.
Support for Student Teachers/Mentor Teachers
Evidence suggests that highly effective student teaching opportunities not only result in better prepared teachers, but also result in higher student achievement and teacher retention. Working with Teach New Orleans and Orleans Parish School Board, we will develop incentives for student teachers and highly qualified mentor teachers in New Orleans schools.
The CFP Foundation is a proud sponsor of Orleans Parish School Board’s annual teacher recognition event through the provision of grants to the teachers selected to be honored.
With the support of local partners and produced by the CFP Foundation, a series of quality districtwide celebration and other recognition events will be planned in an attempt to engage with all 2,700 teachers in the system.
Targeted Professional Development
In conjunction with our partners, a targeted professional development strategy will be designed to support improvement in educational climate and overall teacher satisfaction in the district. This program may include efforts to improve campus culture for both administrators and teachers at campuses with high turnover rates.
Evidence suggests that when teachers get support, they are more likely to stay in their jobs. Utilizing the DonorsChoose.org platform, the partnership will support the funding of projects in Orleans Parish, with special emphasis on supporting workforce diversity strategies. This will ensure that needed resources find their way directly into the classrooms.