Updates on the OJC School:

News from David and Christy

Update #2: June 6th

Status Check: Hiring, Candidates Coming thru Travis Hill

For the next two weeks we are hoping to bring a number of candidates through Travis Hill as we seek to find great people to join the CEEAS New Orleans team. We will do all we can to reduce disruption while including you, the Travis Hill team, in the hiring process. Right now, we are hoping to have 2-3 potential non-teachers in on Wednesday and Friday. We will be coordinating mini-lessons with Rachel, trying to give everyone as much advance notice as possible so that we don't disrupt teaching and learning. We will likely have candidates in next week, as well. Thank you in advance!

Status check: What is up with the facility?

We continue to negotiate with Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office and the Court Monitor to locate classroom space and agree to basic terms that we believe will make it possible for us to run a top notch school for approximately fifty 16-21 year-olds at a time at the jail. We are pushing to sign a multi-party agreement and announce the plans going forward on June 15th at the OPSB's scheduled board meeting. Right now it looks like we will have a school 'hub' of 3 classes on one floor, and then an additional 3 classes on other floors. We are going to be creative, open minded and persistent!

upcoming event: Monday, June 12th -- recruiting happy hour/mixer

We are planning on hosting a recruiting happy hour/mixer on Monday, June12th. We met many of you at our event last year at the beer garden (yes, it was very, very hot!). We will get a flyer and invite ready in the next couple days--and hope you will spread the word, come out, and bring someone with you who might be interested in joining the team. Stay tuned for the invite!

Update # 1: May 18th

What's this Update all about?

We know that there is a lot going on with all of you who work at Travis Hill–trying to finish out the year strong, getting ready for summer school, adjusting to new leadership at the site. There's also a lot going on as we make a big push to find great staff and plan for a successful opening of the school at the OJC. We wanted to find a way to keep you all in the loop, share information, and solicit your input and feedback. We also know that reading long emails can be tedious and that going back to find something that was shared in an email can be a pain.

So, we decided to try this: we'll send out a weekly (maybe more often if needed) update to all of you using this S'more newsletter. Each time we send the newsletter out, the updated information will be at the top, but all past information can be found by just scrolling down. This way, the newsletter will be regularly updated and you won't have to go back to look through emails to find information. We hope this will be helpful!

Announcement, Announcement: Director of Curriculum and Instruction to work across both campuses!

As we have mentioned, we hope to build a culture where there will be a lot of collaboration and sharing between the two campuses. We also have stated that for the most part individual staff will work primarily at one campus or the other.

We have decided, however, to create at least one cross-campus position: Director of Curriculum and Instruction. This position was posted late last week, and we want to make sure all current staff is aware of it–both so that you can spread the word and because one or more of you may wish to apply. If you do want to apply for this position, please apply on-line and send an email directly to Christy so that we know that you are interested and can follow-up.

Status Check: Where are we with hiring?

We have received hundreds of applications (literally) to work at the new school. As we mentioned, if you have colleagues who you think are a strong fit with us–because they believe in our mission, share our values, and have the right skills and temperament, please encourage them to apply and to list you when they complete the application. We cannot, clearly, guarantee that someone you encourage to apply will be selected, but as we sort through applications, we certainly will be looking first for people who come strongly recommended by you. We will do our absolute best to keep you abreast of the status of anyone who you recommend. And if we fail in this regard, we pledge that it is not intentional–it is simply that we are human and are juggling a lot.

Status check: Where are we with the building and getting space for the school?

As many of you know, currently, the ALI program works with 8-10 students at a time, and is housed in 1 large room (sort of like a library). We are working aggressively to secure adequate space to run a full school, serving 40-50 students at a time, with 4-5 classes going at a time.

We have had successful conversations with key leadership at the OJC and have gotten preliminary commitments from them to support the expanded program. We have a long way to go, but are going to be relentless and creative. For example, we are talking about possibly converting some large kitchen/warming rooms into art and science classes (they have sinks, drains, etc. :)). Noting is off the table. Our goal is to get 50 older teens and young adults into classes with committed adults–someway, somehow!