In 2011 when Crescent City Schools assumed operations of Harriet Tubman Charter School, it was a persistently failing school. In less than two years, Tubman went from an F to a C, scores climbed, attendance improved, and 8th graders began enrolling in high-performing high schools. Now Tubman is recognized as one of the top open-enrollment PK-8 schools in New Orleans and its leader, Principal Julie Lause, is a champion for providing all children of New Orleans with an excellent, equitable education. Last November, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) released School Performance Scores (SPS) and, in addition to earning an “A” Growth score, and Top Gains distinction, Tubman received the rare distinction as an Equity Honoree. As defined by the LDOE, an Equity Honoree must demonstrate excellence in educating students with disabilities, students who are English learners, and students who are economically disadvantaged.
Lause is an outspoken advocate for an equitable school system, and striving for equity is a way of life on Tubman’s two campuses. As their school motto says, “We Make the Path by Walking.” Students are provided with the tools they need to succeed, including an excellent curriculum and inspiring teachers. When asked, Lause said, “Our strong work on curriculum implementation and tailored intervention for ALL kids is working. Our kids at all levels, in all areas are growing. This is a place where everyone thrives.”
There is more to it than curriculum, and the team at Tubman works relentlessly for every child academically, emotionally, and socially. 95% of the students Tubman serves are economically disadvantaged, 25% of the students have special needs, and Tubman’s program differentiates for every individual scholar’s needs. Tubman also has a gifted program that meets the needs of their learners at the top of the achievement spectrum. 85% of 8th graders enroll in high-performing high schools putting them on the path to college. During the day and into the evening and weekends, students have the choice to participate in a robust extracurricular program that includes athletics, drumline, leadership council, culinary arts, gardening, and more. Field trips happen almost weekly ranging from participating in STEM programs at Tulane, to visiting the WWII Museum, to exploring a cypress forest. K-1-2 students are thriving in a unique Montessori program, developing a deep focus on academic work and the independence to nurture their own interests.
For the 2019-20 school year, Tubman will be increasing enrollment at the 3rd – 8th grade campus to meet the needs of the community and will be adding more Early Childhood options with three new PreK classes modeled on their successful Montessori K-1-2 program. Tubman is committed to providing an equitable education to every student who passes through their open-enrollment doors as they continue on their path to excellence.