|MERLOT Community Service Day
Come early to the MERLOT International Conference and participate in the MERLOT Community Service Day on Monday, August 6th, as we help prepare a school in the Recovery School District of New Orleans for Fall 2007. Bring gloves and sunscreen and wear comfortable old clothes as we help with painting, landscaping and setting up classrooms. Because the schools will be almost completed, there is no need to worry about health hazards or other building-type dangers. Family members traveling with MIC07 attendees are also welcome to participate. Please note that children must be 12 years of age or older. You have the option of a half day shift (8 AM to noon; noon to 4 PM) or a full day shift (8 AM to 4 PM with lunch provided).
To sign up to participate, please click here
After the devastation by Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans school system faced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a fundamentally better public education system in New Orleans. As a result of legislation passed in 2005, authority for 107 of the lowest-performing public schools in Orleans Parish was transferred to the Recovery School District. The RSD is focused on opening fundamentally better schools for the returning students, meeting the specific educational needs of every returning student, and laying the groundwork for the creation of a world-class public education system in Orleans Parish. While Hurricane Katrina offers New Orleans an unprecedented opportunity to transform and rebuild a world-class public education system, achieving this goal is a journey that will not happen overnight but will instead require a consistent, dedicated effort over many years.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated a school system that was already in severe distress. The current estimates of the cost of physical damages to the school facilities and infrastructure is $800 million. The FEMA match requirements will cost the Orleans Parrish School Board $55 million (assuming that 100 percent of the facilities are rebuilt). Papers and books, teaching aids, furniture, electronic equipment and other items had to be destroyed as they were contaminated with mold, rusted or have become functionally obsolete.
For the current school year, Recovery School District had 22 schools open and operating, far short of the 128 total that existed prior to the damage. This fall they hope to open 25 more schools. In August, when the MERLOT International Conference occurs, they will be in the process of preparing those schools for classes in the fall.
Although many of the supplies will have been purchased, the Donation Coordinator of the Recovery School District suggests that you might one to bring something to donate personally, such as a book you have enjoyed, a picture, a backpack or something that students would enjoy.
Many of us have been frustrated with our inability to pitch in to help Katrina victims due to distance and/or time limitations. This is an opportunity to work as part of the greater MERLOT Community to ensure that students returning to these schools have bright, cheerful classrooms.
Sites for information about the rebuilding of the Recovery School District:
New Orleans Public Schools:
Recovery School District: http://www.nolapublicschools.net
Please contact Cathy Swift, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.