New Orleans East Einstein schools get a boost from local volunteers

November 3rd, 2015

By Veronica Barbarin, Eastern New Orleans columnist

March 10, 2016 at 11:23 AM, updated March 10, 2016 at 1:09 PM


What’s a community without a good education system? With vision and positive feedback in developing good education in our community, one school, Einstein School has become three, and soon to be four.

In 2006 Einstein School was the first to open the first open-admissions “B” school in eastern New Orleans. Einstein Charter School at Village de l’Est is located at the former Etienne Debore Elementary School, which was a previously failing school closed after hurricane Katrina.

In December 2012, Einstein expanded to include Einstein Charter School at Sherwood Forest at the former Intercultural Charter School (ICS) site. Due to poor academic performance the previous year, ICS closed.

But now the outlook has changed.

Reports show that within 10 months the school’s performance raised from an “F” to a “B.”

Sarah T. Reed High School closed at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Several charter schools propositioned to reopen the school, with Einstein Charter Schools winning the bid.

In August 2015, Einstein reopened Sarah T. Reed as Einstein Charter Middle at Sarah Towles Reed forming the Orleans Parish School Board’s first independent 6-8 grade middle school.

The school offers students activities necessary to be successful in higher education.

“From robotics class to jazz band, students at Einstein Charter Middle have the opportunity to develop their passion while receiving a top-notch academic focus.” Einstein’s eighth graders are reported to have a 100 percent pass rate for the Algebra 1 end of course exam. Einstein Charter Middle has over 300 students enrolled.

And one more is on the way.

In 2016 Einstein Charter High will open. The high school will be in the same location as Einstein Charter Middle at former Sarah T. Reed High school, 5316 Michoud Blvd.

This will be future class of 2020. To help prepare students for life after high school, and should they elect not to go to college, Einstein Charter High will feature an innovative College and Career Preparatory program. It will offer career programs like culinary arts, pre-pharmacy, and engineering.

Although Einstein High School is academically prepared, the building is still is outdated and needed improving. Thanks to volunteers from the nonprofit organization HandsOn New Orleans, that is happening.

Since April 2014 HandsOn has coordinated over 3,000 volunteers for 10,105 hours of service at Sarah T Reed. Through support of their corporate partners HandsOn has provided an economic impact valued at $445,957 to Einstein Charter Schools.

The organization has also partnered with the NOLA Tree Project on landscaping projects for the school.

“We value our partnership with HandsOn and NOLA Tree Project,” Einstein Charter Schools CEO  Shawn Toronto said. “Einstein and HandsOn realize the conditions and aesthetics of the school facility directly equates to the respect we have for our students, family and community. We are grateful for all of the work HandsOn and their volunteer groups are doing, and look forward to all of our future projects.”

HandsOn New Orleans is a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage, empower and transform the New Orleans community through volunteer service. HandsOn hosts citizens from around the world for volunteer service opportunities. The NOLA Tree Project (formerly Hike for KaTREEna) mission is growing stronger, healthier communities through urban forestry plantings, “Big TREEsy Giveaways,” developing community and schoolyard orchards, and putting on Arbor Day events.

In 2015 Einstein received the 2015 COSEBOC School Award for Excellence and Leadership in Educating Boys of Color. Einstein has been repeatedly recognized by the Louisiana Department of Education as a “Top Gains” and ‘High Performing, High Poverty” school and by the Orleans Parish School Board as a “Top Performing’ school.

Einstein recently expanded to the former Sarah Towles Reed campus to provide a middle and high school facility for 500 additional students. Einstein has one of the most diverse student bodies in the city and the largest English Language Learner (ELL) population, with 34 percent of its students in an ELL program.