New Orleans Outreach
About the Organization:
Founded in 1993, New Orleans Outreach improves the quality of public education in New Orleans by bringing together volunteers and other resources to provide desperately needed after-school classes, tutoring, reading programs, teacher assistance, and parent support teams to several schools. Outreach staff work with principals, teachers, parents and students to identify the needs and improvement goals of each particular school and then craft and implement volunteer-based programs in response to these needs and goals.
New Orleans Outreach volunteers and other partner organizations currently serve children at four schools: Sophie B. Wright Charter School, Samuel J. Green Charter School, McDonough 15 School for the Creative Arts, and New Orleans Science and Math Charter High School. The students served are 95 percent African-American and 96 percent free or reduced lunch. During the 2006-2007 school year, Outreach provided approximately 30,000 hours of skilled help to the schools, of which over 11,000 hours were volunteer.
Community Involvement Evaluation
Project Description and Status:
Pre-Katrina, a state evaluation determined that kids who participated in Outreach’s after- school programs showed the greatest increase in academic achievement of any students tested in the state. However, in the new, financially struggling environment, many schools need more specific proof that investing time and resources in after-school and enhanced programming will lead to significant improvements in student performance.
With Operation Kids funding, Outreach created a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation tool to determine the effect of community involvement in a cross-section sample of New Orleans schools. Outreach quantified volunteer hours, the value of that time, and resources brought into the school from community sources. Outreach then took that information and correlated it with academic achievement for kids who are enrolled in its after-school elective programs, along with school day attendance, suspension rates and disciplinary actions for program participants versus non-participants.
The results of the study showed a clear and significant correlation between community involvement in schools and the academic performance of students. New Orleans Outreach is now actively sharing that study with schools interested in improving their academic and citizenship performance.
Funds Still Needed:
YA/YA art students participate in the ARMS-Outreach afterschool program at Sophie B. Wright Charter School
Students from Samuel J. Green Charter School are happy campers at the ARMS-Outreach afterschool program in their school.
Outreach coordinator Benjamin Trahan inspires Spoken Word Club participants at Joseph A. Craig School.
Sophie B. Wright Charter School students discuss their oral histories as part of an ARMS-Outreach-sponsored Neighborhood Story Project class.