THE ROUNDTABLE The Official Newsletter of Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School ▪ Home of the Knights 3059 Higgins Boulevard, Bldgs. A&B ▪ New Orleans, Louisiana 70126 ▪ (504) 428-8711 MAYS PREP ▪ THE YEAR IN REVIEWMays Prep ReportsSignificant AcademicGrowth!Gains in student achievement cap an impressive first yearIf the results that Mays Prep students posted forthe 2009-2010 school-year are any indication futureperformance, then the future looks mighty bright tofulfill the mission of preparing every student forsuccess in high school, and beyond.Notwithstanding the challenges that all startupcharter schools face, the faculty and staff of How We Measure Student’s Reading ProgressBenjamin E. Mays Preparatory School were awarethat their work would be even more difficult. With S.T.E.P.: The S.T.E.P. Literacy Assessment provides aa charge to transform one of New Orleans’ most set of tools, tightly aligned with scientificallychallenged schools – the team quickly realized that established milestones in reading development to___________________________________________ follow students progress from kindergarten through third grade. These tools are organized into a“…the work of transformation requires more developmentally sequenced set of tasks that help than blind optimism…” teachers understand the developmental status of___________________________________________ individual students and a class of students at any given point. They also help teachers analyze studentsit requires executing the work with extreme care progress over time.and delicacy. 2009-2010 school-wide S.T.E.P. ResultsAfter test results based on the national, norm Grade Beginning End of Year Averagereferenced TerraNova exam revealed significant of Year (avg.) Growthacademic deficiencies, the school-wide focus quickly (avg.)turned to literacy. K Pre, Pre- STEP 3 1 Year ofDirector of Curriculum and Teacher Development Reading AcademicShanda Gentry says “Reading is a gateway skill, and Growthif our kids aren’t reading, then their overall 1st Pre-Reading STEP 5 2 Years ofacademic standing is in serious jeopardy.” “That’s Academicwhy we adopted the STEP literacy program, hired a GrowthReading Interventionist, and changed our schedule 2nd STEP 3 STEP 7 2 Years ofto accommodate the learning needs of our children Academic– and the results of those changes were Growthtremendous.” END.
Mays Prep’s Doors Open For The First TimeA historic day for the city of New Orleans punctuated by the opening of one its first transformation charter schoolsAugust 12, 2009 marked the first day of schoolfor Mays Preps inaugural class. Students inkindergarten, first, and second grades enteredthe halls of the school as their smiling teachersgreeted them into their classrooms. All whowalked through the building could sense thecontagious energy that punctuates the beginningof a founding year.________________________________________“Although August 12 marked the first dayof school for Mays Prep, it also marked a significant moment in the historic transformation of New Orleans’ public schools.” _____________________________________The destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in Our doors opened in August, 2009 – serving the students, parents, and families of New Orleans’ historic 9 Ward th2005 provided the opportunity for the city ofNew Orleans to rethink its public education Over ninety percent of the students who entered Mays Prepssystem, and the state recruited Paul Vallas to doors on the first day of school had previously attended Carverbecome superintendent of the newly created Elementary School.Recovery School District. Mr. Vallas, who hadpreviously renewed the school systems in As students entered their new building for the first time,Philadelphia and Chicago, focused on a program however, they proudly wore the maroon and white uniformthat would provide more autonomy to individual bearing the distinctive Mays Prep insignia that symbolized theirschools through fostering the creation of charter new school.schools. _________________________________________________Mays Prep is one such charter school, atransformation charter charged with the task of “Mays Preps work is part of a larger movement ingradually converting a previously low performingschool into a successful one. New Orleans public education reform…” _____________________________________________________ which shows signs of success. In a recent CNN interview, Mr. Vallas articulated one facet of these successes, saying "In the Recovery School District alone in the last two years we saw an increase in test scores in every subject at every grade level." Other signs of success include active parent engagement at school meetings, as well as renewed interest on the part of community organizations. Mays Prep principal Duke Bradley summarizes the meaning of the first day at Mays Prep. "All the hard work that has gone into the formation of the school has finally come to fruition. Scholars are in the building and they are actively engaged in learning. As gratifying as it will be to see this everyday here at Mays Prep, its Mays Prep opened with a commitment to maintaining a also obvious that were part of something much bigger." END. disciplined and structured learning environment
Mays Prep Receives $250,000from Walton Family FoundationAfter completing a very detailed application andinterview process coupled with a rigorous schoolmodel defense, a letter finally arrived that simplystated, "It is my pleasure to inform you that TheWalton Foundation, Inc. has approved a grant toBenjamin E. Mays Preparatory School."Director of Operations and Finance, Erica Crenshawremarked, "This is certainly good news for the schooland for the work that we are attempting to do atMays Prep. But more importantly, The entire Mays Prep community benefits from Walton’s support____________________________________________“…it tells us that an organization like Walton More About the Walton Family Foundation believes in our school model, believes in ourleadership, and trusts that we will do what is The Walton Family Foundation pursues a philanthropic best for kids – as well as be a good steward mission established by Sam and Helen Walton, which over the funds.” began modestly in the small town of Bentonville, Arkansas.____________________________________________ The Foundation has long been an ardent supporter of public education initiatives, devoting much of itsThere is no better vote of confidence than knowing philanthropic interests to providing assistance to charterthat we have their support. END. schools across the country. The Foundations Public Charter School Initiative aims to increase the number of children who have access to high-quality public charter schools. The Foundation supports groups that are: Planning and starting public charter schools that show potential for dramatically raising student achievement; Developing state and national associations that serve, protect and cultivate the public charter school movement; Recruiting and training leaders and teachers for public charter schools; and Addressing the need of public charter schools for facilities.The Walton Family Foundation helps to support many school- Please join us in celebrating this milestone achievement wide initiatives like our new Multi-Purpose room in the schools very short history! www.maysprep.org
R.E.A.D. to LEAD Program Proves Successful In an effort to encourage Mays Prep students to read more, we created a program called R.E.A.D. to LEAD, implemented not long after the school-year began. The acronym R.E.A.D. stands for Read Each And Every Day, and he basis for the initiative was inspired by the idea that once student’s see people whom they respect actively engaged in reading, then they will be more likely to replicate their behaviors. Moreover, we framed theOrleans Parish Criminal Court Judge Robin Pittman spends time with Mays Prep scholars. importance of reading around the core value of LEADERSHIP - meaning,Mays Prep Attracts Impressive List of Visitors ___________________________During the course of our inaugural year, Most often, these visitors would read aour students enjoyed the benefit of book – but the most powerful aspect of “…the act of reading is an act ofhaving a number of special guests come their visits occurred when they shared student leadership.”to the school and share a few personal stories of how they were able toencouraging words with them. reach the levels of success that they ___________________________ presently enjoy – and their stories wereThese guests, most of whom are well powerful. Some of our guests included: As a school community, our hopeknown personalities in the greater New was to simply make reading fun andOrleans community, share a deep Marlin Gusman – Orleans Parish Sheriff enjoyable, but it was to alsokinship with our school-wide mission of Rep. Cedric Richmond – State Representative communicate to our students thatpreparing every student for success in Nolan Rollins – CEO, Urban League of GNO reading is an essential life skill. Hon. Nadine Ramsey - Judgehigh school, college and beyond – and Troy Henry – Businessman Next year, the program will continuewhen asked to take a few moments out Sally Ann Roberts - Anchorwomanof their busy schedules to inspire the with more notable visitors coming to Rep. Jared Brossett – State Representativehearts and minds of our scholars, the share their insights about the Hon. Robin Pittman – Judge (pictured above)answer was a resounding YES! importance of reading…and we Dr. Corey Hebert - Physiciana cannot wait. END.Making Partnerships Work!This year, several community based organizationspartnered with Mays Prep. These partnerships wereinspired by a common willingness among both groupsto support children in concrete ways so as to advancethe goal of providing high quality education andcreating meaningful academic programs for them.One such example is our partnership with thenonprofit group, Communities in Schools who workedto gather and donate over 1000 books to start ourschool-library.Partnerships of this sort proved invaluable to oursuccess this year, and we look forward to many morein the future. END. Several partnerships helped make Mays Prep’s inaugural year successful
Mays Prep Parents and Families Making a DifferenceOne of our most significant andproud accomplishments this yearwas the amount a parentalinvolvement that we were able togenerate. Mays Prep parents andfamilies stepped up in a majorway, proving that once families areengaged and welcomed intoschool communities, then theirpresence can yield wonderfulbenefits.Principal Duke Bradley says, “Weknow that great schools havegreat parental and communityinvolvement - and of course, wewant to be included in thatnumber.”_____________________________ Parents like Ms. Kimberly Smith (above) often spend time in classrooms with their “We challenged our parents children. Here, she works with her daughter Uryah during Saturday schoolto play a role in the success of Mays Prep, and they invited all of our mothers to our hallways, working in classrooms, or responded!” participate in an arts and crafts helping out around the school.________________________________ workshop. They were able to talkA great deal of our parental with one another, bond, and create If nothing else, the active presence ofinvolvement came from signing unique parent relationships rarely our parents gives us something to buildthem up at the beginning of the seen in traditional school settings. off of especially as we plan to have evenyear to be a part of activities that more parental engagement for thewere interesting and exciting to This momentum carried on into the upcoming school-year and beyond. END.them. For example, last summer school year, and on any given day,(well before school began) we parents could be seen walking theinvited “One of our goals is to become a great school, but we also have to engage parents in that process.” Principal Duke Bradley addresses a group of parents on a Saturday morning
Mays Prep Scholars Graduation 2010Take Their First StepsToward CollegeOn the morning of Mays Prep’s very firstpromotional exercise, the excitement inthe air was apparent. Despite beingrelegated to an undersized auditorium,the room was smartly decorated with avariety of balloons, streamers, andbanners. The graduation, scheduled for10:30 a.m. on June 11:00, was…___________________________________ “a much anticipated event for so many people, especially the students.” Over 200 guests packed welcomed Mays Prep’s first Pre-K and Kindergarten promotional exercise______________________________They donned white cap and gowns whilethe Pre-Kindergarten scholars wore aspecial designed t-shirt along with theiruniform pants.Guests, many of whom arrived an hour soearly were ushered into the auditoriumand were greeted by a student attendant.They sat down to a slideshow of picturestaken throughout the year, accompaniedby inspirational music which played in thebackground – setting the tone for a trulyspectacular event.Once the time had come for theceremony to begin, Principal Duke Kindergarten Scholar Eric Davis, Jr. leads the Pledge of AllegianceBradley welcomed everyone and set thedecorum for the day. Parents smiledproudly, while others had a look of eageranticipation.After a few opening remarks, Mr. Bradleysaid, “Would you please join me inwelcoming the very first graduating classof Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School!”With that announcement, the crowderupted and the doors of the auditoriumopened. Scholars began marching intothe room to the beat of “Pomp andCircumstance”. Little did they know, thetiny steps they were taking were actuallygiant steps toward college. END. Scholars march in, saying “goodbye” to Pre-K, and “hello” to Kindergarten