In recognition of their success and dedication to educating the children of Louisiana, the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools awarded Sylvanie Williams College Prep the 2013-2014 Giving Tree Award.
“The leadership at Sylvanie WIliams has done an amazing job taking over and turning around what was once a failing school,” said Caroline Roemer Shirley, LAPCS Executive Director. “But more than that, they’ve developed strong relationships with the neighborhood and are truly giving back. This award is the least we can do to recognize their accomplishments.”
In 2009, Sylvanie Williams Elementary was a failing school. In the four years the school has been under the leadership of New Orleans College Prep (NOCP) and Principal Heidi Campbell Melancon, the school has jumped two letter grades, including two consecutive years designated as a Top Gains School.
“We are so proud of our students and teachers, and the amazing gains our school has made," said Ms. Melancon. "Everyday our students focus on preparing to enter and excel in a rigorous, four-year college, and their hard work is producing wonderful results. We’re still growing, and we won’t stop until our school is recognized as an A+ school. I must also give due credit to the leadership provided by NOCP from both Founder and CEO Ben Kleban and our Governing Board for creating the framework within which our students can thrive.”
An active leader in the school and community, Mr. Kleban serves on numerous tasks forces and committees and is a regular fixture at Orleans Parish School Board and state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meetings. His leadership in the legislature and schools is matched only by NOCP’s demonstrated commitment to community, said Ms. Roemer Shirley.
As part of NOCP’s dedication to engage and give back to the neighborhood, NOCP launched an innovative partnership four years ago with Liberty’s Kitchen, a local non-profit organization that works to transform the lives of at-risk youth in a culinary setting. NOCP and Liberty’s Kitchen worked together to launch a school food service program that serves healthy, fresh meals to NOCP students every day. The program has dramatically improved our students’ health and well-being.
“LAPCS has created this award to start recognizing our top performing member schools,” said LAPCS Legal Director Sarah Vandergriff. “ Trees are very symbolic of health and growth, as well as a reminder of the root support system that is needed for all in order to succeed and thrive. What better way to celebrate a school's success than through a presentaion of the book The Giving Tree for their library and an accompanying Louisiana Magnolia.”