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3. Schools That Meet the Needs of Every Child

Our public school system serves a diverse population, with a large number of students with special needs:

  • 40% of children in our city live in poverty
  • Over 80% of public school students are economically disadvantaged
  • 12% are special education students
  • The population of English Language Learners in our schools has grown by 40% in the past few years
  • 18% of 16-24 year-olds aren't in school and don't have jobs - the 3rd highest rate of "disconnected youth" in the country
  • New Orleans has a severe shortage of mental health services for our children and families - only 65 psychiatrists for 380,000 people, few of whom accept Medicaid patients.

I have been operating New Orleans College Prep (NOCP) schools for ten years, and I have a strong track record of servicing the needs of all learners effectively:

  • NOCP has achieved 100% college acceptance three years in a row for its high school graduates, who are over 90% low-income, 10% English language learners, and nearly 20% special education. All students can achieve success with the proper supports in place.
  • NOCP has partnered with a community organization, the Youth Empowerment Project, to establish an innovative Drop-out Prevention program at Cohen High School which includes credit recovery classes, wrap-around social services, and HiSET (formerly the GED) preparation courses for students who are most at risk of dropping out. We cannot let any student fall through the cracks, and we must diversify our programming to ensure every student maximizes his/her potential and can access socioeconomic mobility.
  • NOCP is partnering with the Louisiana Public Health Institute to establish a robust health clinic at Cohen High School, attending to the physical and mental health needs of our children. We are recruiting a Psychiatrist dedicated to servicing children and families of all schools in the area, and have purchased a van to help transport children to access the comprehensive health supports they need.

As a school board member, I will be committed to ensuring ALL our public schools service the needs of all students, especially the most vulnerable. A bright future for every child means a bright future for New Orleans.

Ben Kleban for School Board
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