EINSTEIN CHARTER SCHOOLS OF NEW ORLEANS BECOME FIRST TO REPLICATE ITS ACADEMIC AND MANAGEMENT PROGRAM IN ANOTHER STATE
Agreement with Arkansas Charter Authorizing Panel moves to State Board of Education
Einstein Charter Schools, which currently operates four schools in eastern New Orleans for grades K-10, has become the first New Orleans-grown charter operator to replicate its program in another state, announced Chief Executive Officer Shawn Toranto.
Yesterday, the Arkansas State Board of Education authorized Einstein to open a new charter school in the Little Rock School District.
The Einstein Little Rock School will open with 300 students in grades K-3 with its partner the Walton Family Foundation at a shuttered facility the Foundation has purchased. The school will open for the 2018-2019 school year with the Einstein Group as the school manager.
Arkansas has 24 open-enrollment charter schools and the Einstein Group is one of five new public charter schools authorized by the Arkansas Charter Authorizing Panel.
Einstein proposed to replicate its high academic performing, culturally diverse and open admissions model of learning at the Southwest Little Rock campus known as the Garland Facility, which is currently being refurbished for the charter school. A lease for the building is being negotiated.
Ms. Toranto said Einstein was chosen because of its success in educating underserved and culturally diverse populations with high academic results. The school is one of Orleans Parish’s academic stars and one of an elite group of community-developed charters started by local educators after Hurricane Katrina and the resultant levee failure closed the public school system.
In 2015, Einstein received a $5 million U.S. Department of Education grant to replicate and expand its high quality charter schools. It is one of 12 national award winners in that year. The four schools Einstein operates in the Michoud area of eastern New Orleans were designated “Top Gains” and “High Performing, High Poverty” campuses by the Louisiana Department of Education.
“What other educators may call forgotten communities we call home,” said Ms. Toranto. “Our schools have high non-English speaking populations and 9 out of 10 will be economically disadvantaged, but every child has a gift and we exist to find that gift.”
The success this school demonstrated, starting out as academically failing and later earning a “B” for academic results in less than 10 years, is what drew the attention of the Arkansas charter school community. The Einstein schools in New Orleans serve 1400 K-10 students who are predominantly African American, Vietnamese or Hispanic.
The Einstein model focuses on data driven and rigorous instruction. For example, all its 7th graders are enrolled in a college-prep program featuring a learning platform known as SUMMIT, underwritten by Facebook. A Chevron partnership with the school allowed it to institute a Project Lead the Way learning model that builds life-long love of STEM (Science, Technology, English, Math) learning in grades K-10.
Daniel Davis, chief strategy officer for the Einstein Group, said he is excited to work with the Little Rock community to develop a high performing charter in the Southwest Pulaski area where one is greatly needed.