by Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams

Equity. Excellence. Joy.

Class Notes is a monthly newsletter intended to keep community stakeholders connected to NOLA-PS. To subscribe click here.

April 2024 RECAP

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Introducing Crystal LaFrance – Principal of The Leah Chase School

We were delighted to announce Crystal LaFrance as the principal of The Leah Chase School, earlier this month. With more than 17 years of dedicated experience in education, Crystal brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her new role.

As principal, Crystal will shape the vision of our newest school, fostering a vibrant school culture and establishing rigorous educational standards. Her focus on academic excellence and cultural responsiveness will ensure that every scholar receives a high-quality education tailored to their diverse needs and backgrounds.

Crystal's commitment to equity in education aligns perfectly with the legacy of Leah Chase and her family. "Building on this legacy is a responsibility I embrace wholeheartedly," says LaFrance. "I am committed to fostering an environment where every scholar can thrive and succeed."

With a background in elementary education and instructional leadership, Crystal has a proven track record of success. At Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School, she led efforts that resulted in remarkable improvements in school performance. Her dedication to data-driven decision-making and implementing successful academic systems has earned her esteemed recognition, including as a state "Top Gains" Honoree for the 2022-23 school year.

Outside of work, Crystal values her role as a wife and mother and enjoys traveling, reading, and movies.

We are thrilled to welcome Crystal LaFrance to The Leah Chase School community and look forward to the incredible impact she will make as our principal.

The Leah Chase School Meetings

The Leah Chase School (TLC School) Partner & Community Meetings continue!

TLC School Partner Meeting

Join me for our next TLC School Virtual Partner Meet & Greet today, Wednesday, May 22 at 10am! Discover opportunities for partnership in areas like academic enrichment, student support, and cultural enrichment. RSVP HERE to receive the Zoom link. Let's shape the future of The Leah Chase School together!

TLC School Community Meetings

Our last TLC School community meeting before open enrollment begins will be held May 9 at 6 PM at the Total Community Action Center - 1420 S Norman C Francis Parkway, New Orleans, LA 70125. Join me and my team for vibrant discussions that revolve around academic programs, extracurricular activities, and instructional materials, reflecting our community's diverse aspirations for our new neighborhood school. We welcome family and community input.

As we continue shaping TLC School, your support and input are invaluable. Stay tuned for further updates as we continue this journey together.

To learn more details about the new school, click here.

Keeping Families Fed: New Initiative Approved by City Council

I'm pleased to share that a new partnership aimed at supporting families during the summer months has been approved by the New Orleans City Council's Budget Committee. In response to the state's rejection of federal funding for the summer EBT program, this initiative seeks to allocate $1 million to Second Harvest Food Bank.

Under this ordinance, Second Harvest Food Bank will conduct outreach to families in need, providing them with $80 gift cards to purchase food for the summer. While the summer EBT program would have injected approximately $70 million into the state, this partnership is a crucial step in ensuring that families in our community receive the support they need.

During the council meeting, I voiced my concerns, emphasizing the challenges many families face during the summer months. With at least 30,000 kids in New Orleans receiving SNAP benefits and many qualifying for free and reduced lunch during the school year, the need for assistance is critical.

As an educator, I understand the difficulties that summer can bring for many families. This initiative serves as a backup plan to ensure that children in our community do not go hungry during the summer break.

Council President Helena Moreno affirmed that the bottom line is ensuring that kids won't go hungry, and we will continue to keep you updated on any developments regarding this initiative.

Celebrating Success: NOLA-PS' 4th Annual Fitness Challenge

It was a JOY to be present and witness the successful conclusion of our 4th Annual Dr. Rosalynne B. Dennis Fitness Challenge. The event was supported by Special Olympics Louisiana Unified Champion Schools and held at Colonial Lanes in Harahan. More than 800 scholars participated, showcasing resilience and determination while earning rewards like fitness equipment and scholarships.

NOLA-PS is proud to honor Dr. Dennis' legacy and promote inclusivity, healthy choices, and lifelong relationships among our students.

I'd like to extend a special thanks to our partners at Special Olympics Louisiana for their invaluable support, as well our SPED team for hosting this amazing annual event.

Reflecting on a Safer Future: Student Safety Summit

Recently, NOLA-PS hosted a Student Safety and Well-Being Summit, and it was truly an enlightening experience. The "Building a Safer Future Summit" brought together educators, experts, and community leaders to tackle important issues surrounding student safety.

Our keynote speaker, Eric Butler, Lead Trainer & Founder of Talking Peace in Oakland, CA, delivered some powerful insights into Policy HH, which underscores our district's deep commitment to keeping our students safe.

Throughout the summit, we delved into key areas outlined in the policy, from the practicalities of the RAVE Panic Button App to the crucial discussions around Gun Safety, Social/Emotional Learning, and Dating Violence Education. NOPD Superintendent Anne Kirpatrick shared her perspectives on student safety, highlighting the collaborative efforts needed to ensure our schools remain safe havens for all.

In addition, Chief Judge Candice Bates-Anderson from Orleans Parish Juvenile Court shed light on the critical issues of dating violence and gun violence. And Mr. Butler reminded us of the power of restorative justice and healing, emphasizing that there's more that unites us than divides us.

Ten organizations attended the event, as well providing invaluable resources to families on student safety and well-being. From the Family Justice Center to Heroes of New Orleans and the Center for Restorative Approaches, these organizations are doing incredible work to support our community.

I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Shannon Perry, the Executive Director of Student Support and Attendance, and her incredible team for their hard work in putting together this impactful event. Together, we're building a safer future for our scholars, one step at a time.

Education Elevation on WBOK

Last week, I launched Education Elevation, a brand-new radio show airing on WBOK 1230AM Radio! This 30-minute segment airs the 4th Wednesday of every month, aiming to engage our community and provide updates on all things NOLA-PS.

In our first segment, I had a meaningful and celebratory conversation with Crystal LaFrance, the newly installed principal of The Leah Chase School (TLC School). It was a great opportunity to introduce her to the community. Crystal is passionate about ensuring our scholars succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. She also shared her insights on connecting with educators and staff to help the TLC School thrive.

Don't miss out on future episodes! You can catch recordings of each segment on NOLA-PS' social media channels and YouTube. Tune in to stay informed and engaged with the latest news and developments about our district.

In case you missed it, click the video below to see the first episode of Education Elevation.

JOYful Educator: 2023-2024 Recap

As we reflect on our JOYful Educator Connection journey, it's been an incredible school year filled with unforgettable moments of joy, camaraderie, and celebration.

Our journey began with our inaugural event, a heartwarming gathering where we expressed gratitude and shared love for our deserving educators. Larry Nance Jr. added to the excitement with NBA goodies and smiles all around.

Throughout the year, we continued to honor our educators' dedication and excellence with various events, from spooky Halloween festivities to relaxing sound baths promoting well-being.

As we bid farewell to the first half of the school year, we reaffirmed our commitment to recognizing and supporting our teachers. Their well-being remains our top priority.

In January, our JOYful Educator Rockstar Leads took the stage, hosting inspiring virtual presentations and providing valuable peer support.

February's event was equally remarkable, delving into civil rights history and exploring the vibrant world of art, all in the spirit of learning and joy.

Looking ahead, we're eager to continue celebrating our amazing teachers. Stay tuned for details on next year's JOYful Educator Connection. And if you'd like to contribute to the celebration through donations for the 2024-2025 school year, please contact Julieanne Lund, our Director of Community & Governmental Affairs via

A heartfelt thank you to all our educators for your unwavering dedication and passion. Together, we're shaping a brighter future for all!

Get Ready for the Next Voices of Future Leaders (VOFL) Segment!

In our latest installment of Voices of Future Leaders (VOFL), we visited Rooted School where scholars shared insightful perspectives on community support and strategies to address youth violence and help scholars achieve success in school and beyond.

Stay tuned for the next drop of VOFL Friday at 12:00pm on our social media channels! Follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps, and YouTube.

Don't miss out on the voices shaping our future!

Portrait of a Graduate (POG) Graduation

Our Portrait of a Graduate initiative has been a beacon guiding our scholars toward holistic success. This framework outlines the essential post-secondary skills, traits, and mindsets needed for thriving in an ever-changing world.

Throughout this year, we've celebrated students embodying key attributes like communication, critical thinking, leadership, and resilience. These recognitions have been a highlight of our monthly OPSB Committee of the Whole meetings.

Last month, we were excited to honor these exceptional students in person, showcasing their achievements in the short video below.

I want to thank our schools and extend a special thank you to Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Fateama Fulmore, and Ashley Jones, Executive Director of Administrative Affairs. Both have been instrumental in championing this initiative, as all paving the way for a brighter future for our scholars.

To learn more about the Portrait of a Graduate attributes, click here.

To nominate a scholar, click here.

Important Upcoming Dates

  • May - Graduation Season!
  • May - Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • May - Mental Health Awareness Month
  • May - Better Hearing & Speech Month
  • May - Military Appreciation Month
  • May 1 - The Leah Chase School Partner Meeting
  • May 1 - National School Principals' Day
  • May 3 - School Lunch Hero Day
  • May 3 - 3rd Annual NOLA Teacher Fest
  • May 4 - School Nutrition Employees Week
  • May 5-11 - Public Service Recognition Week
  • May 6-10 - National Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 7 - National Teacher's Day
  • May 8 - National School Nurses' Day
  • May 9 - The Leah Chase School Community Meeting
  • May 12 - Mother's Day
  • May 14 - OPSB Committee of the Whole
  • May 16 - OPSB Business Meeting
  • May 22 - Stay in School Car Giveaway
  • May 27 - Memorial Day

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