'Kids Rethinking New Orleans' Schools:' a packet of materials

Date Published: 
August 1, 2006


Kids Rethinking New Orleans' Schools - Rethink For: The Trumpet

Today starts the first in a series of monthly interviews by Kids Rethinking New Orleans' Schools, or Rethink.

An interview with Jane Wholey by Ashley Nelson

19-year-old Ashley Nelson is a graduate of John McDonogh High School and a freshman at Degado Community College. She is the author of The Combination (A Neighborhood Story Project Book), and acts as Rethink's writing mentor.

Ashley: Ms. Jane, you founded Rethink, so maybe we should start off this Trumpet interview series by interviewing you.

Jane: I guess that makes sense.

Ashley: So tell me about Rethink - Kids Rethinking New Orleans' Schools - and ''the Rethinkers. "

Jane: Rethink is an amazing group of middle school kids, mainly African American, and from all around Orleans. "The Rethinkers," as they call themselves, are dreamers, photographers, watchdogs, spokespersons and activists rolled into one. Their goal is to see that "every kid in New Orleans gets a great public school education - rich or poor, no matter their grades or the color of their skin."

Ashley: How long have these kids been rethinking?

Jane: Since last June. We went public at the end of July when Rethink held a big news conference. Twenty kids were sitting in desks outside the Sherwood Forest School in the East. The building was abandoned - shattered windows, garbage strewn around, mold everywhere. So behind them was this sad, sad school, but on either side were books they had painted and a sculpture they had built to show their dreams about great New Orleans schools.

Ashley: Yeah, I remember that day very well. Every TV station in town was there. Later we were in the Times Picayune and the Christian Science Monitor and on Nickelodeon News .....

Jane. I continue to read the testimonies the kids read that day. Every time I look at them I feel the anger rising inside me. Here are a few of their statements:

• "Katrina drowned my old school, and 85% of all the public schools in the city.
• I'm not sad about losing my school. It was a raggedy, dirty school, and it did not have enough books. Me and my friends, we didn't like it, but we thought that was just the way the schools were.

• "We've got signs in our bathrooms that read, 'Don't forget to wash.' How can we wash when there is no soap and the water from the fountain is brown?"

• We are not asking for the greatest schools in the country, just ones where we can learn."

• I evacuated to Texas after Katrina and I attended a school that made me realize I was cheated out of an education back home."

• I never had a backpack. I didn't need one. No one ever gave me any books."

Ashley: I put up with a whole lot at John McDonogh and so did all the Rethinkers at their schools. Many of the schools up and running after Katrina are still really bad. So tell me again about the goal of Rethink.

Jane: As I see it, we have several. One is to change the public schools in New Orleans so every kid has a great education. The second, and every bit as important, is to grow a group of kids who make their voices heard loud and clear about public schools post¬Katrina. Kids need to understand that when it comes to schools, they are the client, they are the experts. No one deserves a place in the current debate about public schools more than the students.

Ashley: What are some of the things the Rethinkers are involved in now?

Jane: We have a couple of big projects going between now and June. One is evaluating some of the public schools and another is writing a book called, Our New Orleans Schools Before and After Katrina. To prepare for that, the Rethinkers are doing interviews and taking pictures.

Ashley: Is that about it?

Jane: Actually no. The Rethinkers talk on panels and they take part in direct action. Like for instance on January 18, the Rethinkers went by bus to Baton Rouge. Their older brother and sister activists in the Fyre Youth Squad were testifying before the BESE Board (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) and holding a news conference. The Rethinkers went there to support the Youth Squad kids and to take pictures.

Ashley: Will there be another summer program?

Jane: Absolutely. And we'll be adding ten kids to the Rethink family, making us a total of30. We are hoping to dream, draw, and design big time. Maybe even design some real rooms for an abandoned public school that will reopen in a year or two. At the end of the program, the Rethinkers will hold their second national news conference, so as Mahatma Ghandi said, they can "tell truth to power." I believe that "telling truth to power" is one of the greatest political tools available to youth.

Ashley: But how will kids know how and when to use that tool?

Jane: It's our job as adults to teach them. At summer school, the kids studied public speaking and news conference design. The People's Institute came in and gave them a two-day anti-racism course. With all that under their belt, they were able to speak very effectively in front of the television cameras.

Ashley: So what do you think about the kids in the Rethink program?

Jane: The Rethinkers are the best, each and every one of them. Some of the kids are only in 5th grade and they're already powerful people. I expect that New Orleans will hear from them for a long time to come.

For more information about Rethink, visit rethinknola.com or call 528.9871.

For: The Trumpet

- March column by Kids Rethinking New Orleans' School (Rethink)

Our Friend 2 Tall

By Josie Bingler and Lucy Tucker

For Kids Rethinking New Orleans Schools

Trumpet Note: Last January 16, two activist groups, the Downtown Neighborhood Improvement Association and the Fyre Youth Squad, traveled to Baton Rouge with a message for the BESE Board (State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education). New Orleans' public school education, they said, is in critical condition. To rectify the situation, they made four demands to "stop the bleeding:" A two-year moratorium on keeping kids back who fail the LEAP test; make the student / teacher ratio 15 to 1; lower the number of security guards and replace them with counselors and social workers; provide all services to special needs students specified under the law.

Supporting the last demand, the two organizations presented a position paper that said in part, "Teachers complain that discipline is out of control. This chaos has resulted in many students with disabilities being suspended and expelled from school. The Recovery School District responded to teachers' cries by opening the Schwartz Alternative School. Within one month of its opening, half of the student body at Schwartz were students identified as needing special education services. Many more were suspected of needing those services. Clearly the lack of services for those students led to expulsions at a higher rate than their non-disabled peers."

After the BESE Board met that wintry day in January, the Fyre Youth Squad held an outdoor news conference. Several busloads of kids from New Orleans crowded around them, holding banners with messages like, "No more LEAP! l'm not a prisoner, stop treating me like I'm in a prison." "I need more help." Among the young speakers was a John McDonogh special education student named Floyd Allen, known to his friends as 2 Tall."

We met 2 Tall on a bus going to Baton Rouge. Us Rethinkers were traveling to Baton Rouge to learn about the BESE Board, this group that controls our public schools. We went to learn, but more than anything else, we went to support the kids from the Fyre Youth Squad, who were holding a news conference after the BESE Board meeting. 2 Tall is a member of FYS.

We were shocked when we first met 2 Tall. He was 6'9" - the tallest person we had ever seen. He told us 2 Tall was one of his 500 nicknames. People also call him 2K, Yamine, Giraffe, Shaq Jr., and a whole bunch more names we can't remember. He was cool and a lot of fun. We sat with him all the way to Baton Rouge and all the way back to New Orleans. Here is what 2 Tall told the crowd at the news conference:

"Hello, my name is Floyd Allen. I'm in the 11th grade and I attend John McDonagh High School in New Orleans. I'm part of the Fyre Youth Squad. I've come here today to talk about the gifted and talented students. When I say gifted and talented, I mean students with special needs!

"But first let me tell you about my story. I was in regular classes as a child. From 6th grade until now I have been in special education.

"1 don't know where my individual education plan is. They were planning to have an IEP meeting at Clark High School, but they didn't. The last time I had an IEP meeting was in the 2004-2005 school year.

"I take 7 classes. I heard that we had some teachers that are supposed to help us with our special needs, but 1 haven't seen them in the classrooms.

"In the first quarter I went to the counselor's office to ask about the gifted teachers, to see if they would help us because there is more than one gifted student in my classroom.

"The counselor told me to go to the gifted teacher, and I went. They said they didn't even know I was in Special Ed! They said they were going to find someone to come and help me in my class. I never saw the gifted teacher in my classroom.

"According to Article 8 of the Louisiana Constitution, public school education was designed to promote excellence so that everyone may be afforded an equal opportunity to develop his or her potential.

"In some classrooms, gifted students are being treated as inferior! It came to me that you all get more money for gifted students than for regular Ed students. I don't see anything going on with that money.

"The state has not given or provided us with an equal opportunity to develop to our full potential. Gifted students might have some learning disabilities, but hands-on training will help us inside and outside the classroom.

"These are our demands: We demand a resource room! We demand special teachers who are equipped to handle children with special needs! Where are the people who are supposed to be reading my tests to me?

"I have one more suspension before I get expelled. One was for walking out of my class because no one was helping me. One was for cursing, even though I wasn't cursing.· My third suspension was for whistling. I have no plan to help me with my behavior. In Lafayette (where 2 Tall was evacuated) at least I had a shrink to talk to.

"For those gifted students who have problems with their behavior, we demand to have somebody to talk to. We demand hands-on training because it would benefit us and help us so we don't get frustrated and want to fight.

"We need a better environment and we need it need it ASAP!! ! Thank you very much for your time."

Hey, 2 Tall, if you're reading this, we want you to know that we're proud of you and all our big brothers and sisters at the Fyre Youth Squad. You did a great job at the news conference and we were glad to support you. Standing there with our banners, we realized that all us kids have the same goal: a great public school education for everyone in New Orleans.

After the BESE Board meeting and news conference last January, BESE voted to ask the Recovery School District to respond to the demands made by the Downtown Neighborhood Improvement Association and the Fyre Youth Squad. Specifically, BESE asked the RSD to present an implementation plan for the four demands, or else reasons why plans could not be made. The RSD responded with a document making a number of recommendations - one that 4th and 5th graders who fail LEAP over the next two years advance to the next grade. A second recommendation specified that special students have resource rooms and individual assistance.

BESE postponed the vote on the RSD recommendations until April. Please contact DN/A and the FYS to learn how you can support their demands to "stop the bleeding" in our public schools. DN/A: Broderick Webb, 504.615.5497; FYS: Briana O'Neal, 504. 28i. 5419.

To contact Rethink: Jane Wholey, 504.528.9871, wwwrethinknola.com

Kids Rethinking New Orleans' Schools

Current projects

We have two BIG projects this year:

• Evaluate the New Orleans public schools. We hope to evaluate about ten of them, then hold our second news conference to tell the public what we found. Our news conference will be called, "State of the New Orleans Schools."

• Write a book. We're writing a book to tell the world about our school experiences before and after Katrina. We are going to learn photography and interviewing techniques.

Rethink Testimonies about New Orleans Public Schools

" My name is Victor Carter.

"I am here to talk about what New Orleans needs for its future schools.

"I believe our schools should include a variety of lunches, additional science, and mathematics classes, as well as school activities. We should have bigger schools with fewer children in each class; we can learn more and get more attention from teachers that way. Our schools need better security, so kids can feel safe at school and want to come.

"If children had more opportunity and challenge in school, it would help their future. When I attended, elementary I received a poor education. I went on to middle school and learned more, but it was tough. That's why I believe we as kids deserve the chance to rethink our schools. We go to these schools and know a whole lot about them. Let us decide our own future."

"Hi, my name is Anthony Ayala.

"I want essential things like good schools supplies, cleaner bathrooms, and a desk for every kid to sit in.

"We should also have excellent teachers, ones that understand us and can relate to our situations. I want more electives since kids do not want to be in one class all day.

"We deserve these things; we need them to become something in life, updated books and good supplies will help our futures.

"Kids should rethink our schools since it is the kids who suffer through bad lunches and beatings from other children. We know what we want in our schools so let us rethink them."

"My name is Isaiah Simms.

"I want better and cleaner schools for New Orleans. 1 want supplies in our art classes and books for science. I want fresh bathrooms with toilet tissue, paper towels, and soap. Our bathrooms should have what we need. We ought to have more activities at school like basketball and football teams - things that interest kids.

"We should have our own books, ones that are updated and in good shape. The teachers should be there to help and want to teach, and our parents should not have to buy supplies for the schools. We deserve a good education in a place we are comfortable and can learn.

"We attend Orleans parish schools we know exactly what we want."


"My name is Josephine Singler.

"I attend a New Orleans public school and 1 feel they need to be changed. Our schools need to have cleaner bathrooms, lots of plants as well as flowers outside the school, better teachers, more and better electives, and improved computers. We deserve better!

"We should not have to spend our day in an unsanitary school, or have to use the bathroom with no tissue, no soap, and no doors on the stall. We've got signs in our bathrooms that read "Don't Forget to Wash." How can we wash when there is no soap and the water from the fountain is brown?

We need to have a voice. We need to get the message out to adults. They should know about these horrible schools and the terrible environments we have been forced to learn inside.

"We are the kids! We are a big part of the system that makes up schools so why should we deserve this? Why shouldn't we have nice schools?"

"My Name is Aaron Danielson.

"People often think that kids want impossible things, like recess all day, or candy for lunch, but we only want things that are essential, like good teachers, better books, and enough supplies. 1 was fortunate enough to attend a good public school, but thousands of kids have to bear through bad lunches, terrible bathrooms with no soap, or toilet paper and also bad, poor, or no education. We are not asking for the greatest schools in the country, just ones where we can learn.

"When I grow up, I want to be a zoologist, but it is hard when the school you attend only offers football, basketball, and band as extra curricular activities, or when kids dropout because of test like LEAP.

"We should have a voice in the re-building of the New Orleans public schools, because we attend them. For years the city has tried to change its public schools, and never once have they asked us, the kids, what we want; never once asked how we feel about change. We know what we want."

"Hi, my name is Amber Brooks.

"I want cleaner schools, better approaches from teachers, lockers for 5th - 12th graders, improved lunches, and more books. Teachers should not have attitudes with kids because we asked them to repeat the lesson, and our schools should be clean at all times. We should have decent books that we do not have to share, along with lots of activities that keep kids off the street, and in school.

"We deserve to rebuild our own schools. We go to these schools 8 hours of the day, and we want them clean. We use these toilets so we want tissue in the stalls, we read so we want all the best books and neat libraries to read them in.

"We are not just rebuilding for us we are building for the kids of the future, the kids behind us so they will not have to deal with these cond itions." "Hi, I am Briante Brumfield.

"I want better schools for New Orleans.

"I think we should have good teachers, ones who do not yell at kids and are there to help. We should have choice in what we eat; instead of all that salty food, we could eat more fruit & salad. We also need books, it's hard learning when you have to share books with two or sometimes three people.

"We the kids should rethink our schools. Our future lies ahead of us and we want our kids to have better educations than we did. Today's school kids are passed and they can't even read. We deserve more.

"I evacuated to Texas after Katrina and I attended a school that made me realize I was cheated out of an education back home. The school was nice. It had updated books for every student, lockers, elevators, and teachers who seemed to care and want to teach. Those schools had after school programs, and other electives that kids were interested in such as French & Spanish. I think we should have all this in our schools because we are kids and all we want is education."

"My name is Chelsea Doucette.

"I want cleaner bathrooms, more books, good teachers, and improved lunches; we need these things to make better schools.

"Children should have the best of everything in their schools because we are there 190 days out of the year. We put up with bad education, awful lunches that are cold.

"My parents and other adult voices are always heard. Now it is time for our voices to be heard. It is important we let people know we know what we need, and we deserve a good education."

"Hi, my name is Kayla Paul.

"I want better teachers. 1 would like better supplies and more books for our schools. We should also have lockers and a variety of foods because some kids do not eat meat. We ought to have clean bathrooms with every thing we need in them.

"We should not have to ask for those things, we deserve them. We do not want to have nasty food for lunch; we do not want to use filthy bathrooms.

"We the kids should rebuild our schools. We attend them so we know what we need."

"Hi, my name is Melissa Augustine.

"What I want in a school is a first-class education so that I can be a more intelligent person in life. I want high-quality books as we begin to learn advanced subjects, and I would like more activities at school that will keep kids interested in learning.

"Every student should have a nice school with excellent teachers who are willing to help them succeed and continue to go on. We need sanitary bathrooms that have toilet paper, and soap to wash your hands, and we also need good lunches and clean cafeteria to eat our food in.

"It's important for children to protest to get what they want. We are the ones in the schools that have been neglected by our city. We now have the opportunity to talk about the problems in our schools and have people hear our voices."

"I'm Dudley Grady Jr.

"I want my school, as well as others in New Orleans, to be the very best. The schools should meet every need of the students, as well as the teachers. Instead of the past New Orleans public schools not having enough, this time around, we should have too much. Every school should require qualified teachers that are willing to teach students. In addition, there should be enough supplies and materials for faculty, staff, and students. We should have many choices for extra curricular activities such as band, sports, clubs, etc. Finally, what keeps a school going? School spirit!

"We deserve these things in our schools because every student in this country is equal. Students in New Orleans should have the same experiences and opportunities as those in Texas or Florida. Some of us have had no choice but to go to "not so good" schools. It is time for a change.

"It is time for students to take charge, because we are attending these schools. The school and government officials are not attending these schools so we should have the voice."

"Hi, I am Jeremy Augustine.

"I want better books since we have to use these books, and teachers who want to teach. We need an education to go where we want in life. I want cleaner bathrooms with better stalls; we need soap, toilet· paper, and when we wash our hands, we should not have to use cold water. In addition to better books, we should have more books. It is unfair that we have to share old and used supplies when every year or two we are suppose to have updated material.

"Everyday we deal with terrible school conditions and we are tired. Kids should rethink their our schools since it is the kids who suffer through bad lunches and beatings from other children.

"We know what we need. We are ready to tell y'all what we want.

Hi, My name is Lucy Tucker.

"In my schools I want change. I want clean bathrooms, extra supplies and teachers that like kids. I want teachers who are willing to sit down with any student and help them learn. And I want better curriculum because we all have different ways of learning. For example, I can't learn anything from a textbook. It's just boring for me. I want flash cards, not just textbooks. Another example ¬teachers could make up songs and rhymes to learn all subjects.

"I want more cafeteria choices. For example, a vegan choice, a Muslim choice, and a vegetarian choice for kids like me. And those are some of things I want in my schools.

"Every single citizen of America has the right to a good education and I believe that every single citizen of America also has the right to a welcoming, healthy environment where they get that good education.

"Of all the people of New Orleans, I think that the kids are the right ones to decide how the public schools need to change. We are the ones that are taught in the schools - not the adults. We know what needs to change because we go through it every day. We understand."

Student Speeches Rethink News Conference

July 21, 2006

On the site of the storm-ravaged Sherwood Forest Elementary School in New Orleans East.



Hello, my name is Isaiah Simms and I am a public school student.

I am 11-years old, going into 7tb grade. My elementary school was messed up by Katrina and is now closed. My house was also messed up and my family and I are living in a trailer while we rebuild our house and my grandma's house.

Welcome to our Rethink news conference. We are Rethink - Kids Rethinking New Orleans Schools. We've been meeting all summer long to think about the public schools.

We though a lot about our past schools and our dreams for our future schools. Some of us went to better New Orleans Schools and some of us went to failing ones. Some of us loved our schools even though they failed us.

Most New Orleans kids had a bad education before Katrina. Before the hurricane, 112 of our 128 schools were judged to be failing. We put up with a lot, and you will hear about that today.

We have a vision: a great education for every kid in New Orleans, no matter what neighborhood they stay in, no matter how much money their parents make, and no matter what the color of their skin.

All of our parents pay taxes. All of us deserve the same good education.

Before Katrina, most of our schools were raggedy with lots of problems. 85% of our schools were destroyed.

No one deserves a voice in rebuilding our schools more than us, the students who go to these schools every day.

Our group, Rethink, we want to help you adults rethink and rebuild the schools. Give us that chance. Listen to us and let us have a voice.

Next year, we want to evaluate some of the schools that are open, and write a book about kids in New Orleans Schools before and after Katrina. We met for six weeks this summer to make these plans, and we are ready to go. Please listen to us this morning and let us help Rethink our New Orleans schools.



Hello, my name is Amber Augustine.

My name is Melissa Augustine.

My name is Jeremy Augustine.


We went to this school- Sherwood Forest - and we live in this community. We want to welcome you here, and we want to show you show you what happened to our old school. It is sad and horrible.

(Melissa and Amber-open the doors.)


We want to dedicate this news conference to our cousins Matava and Davante Trueblood. Katrina took their lives. Matava and Davante will not be in school next year, but we have saved some seats in their honor.



We found two plaques at another deserted school in New Orleans East. The school was made into a shelter after the hurricane. These plaques seemed just right for our cousins.



Girls could you put the plaques on the desks?



Our cousins were fun outgoing children and it is a shame that they will not be in school next year. We dedicate this news conference to my cousins and to all the children dead and still missing because of Katrina. Thank you.




My name is Shannon Taylor, I am 16-years-old and I am a public school student. I am speaking now on behalf of all of us at Rethink. This is a list we made up that includes some of the things we endured in the public schools.

Several kids have been in classes where students do not have enough chairs and desks. One Rethinker says she sat on the edge of a table all year long in two of her classes.

Many Rethinkers have been in classes where students share books, sometimes three to a book. This is very hard because kids are working on different chapters and no one gets to take the books home. One of our Rethink mentors just graduated from high school this June. She says in 12 years she never owned a knapsack. She did not need to - her schools never gave her any books.

Many kids say their books were old, torn and out of date.

Most all Rethinkers, even in the better public schools, report filthy bathrooms. They say that their school bathrooms have no toilet paper and no soap. They also report that in some bathrooms, they have seen have in schools across this city, the doors and sinks are hanging off the walls. We do not want in any way to blame our janitors. There are not enough of them to keep the schools clean.

Many of our group say they feel unsafe in their schools.

Our lunches are not healthy enough. For breakfast, we sometimes get a greasy donut. For lunch, we sometimes get a greasy burger. We deserve healthier meals.

If you are a vegetarian because of your religion - lets say you are a Muslim - you have to bring your own lunch.

We all have to take LEAP tests and many of us never studied the material they tested us on. No wonder that so many of us failed.

Some of us Rethinkers went to schools in other states after Katrina, and found that we were one year, often two years, behind the school kids there. Some of us barely learned to read in New Orleans.

Briante told us that she evacuated to Texas after Katrina. She attended a school that made her realize she was cheated out of an education back home. The school was nice and it had updated books one for every student. It had lockers, elevators, and teachers who really wanted to teach. Those schools had after school programs, and other electives that kids were interested in like French & Spanish.

Why can't we have all this in our schools? Is it really asking that much? We are just kids and all we want is a good education.

So these are some of the things we endured in the past. Now Josie Bingler will tell you some of our dreams for the future.



My name is Josephine Bingler and I am a public school student.

You heard from the Rethinkers about some of the changes we dream of:

• Clean bathrooms

• New books we do not have to share

• Safe schools

• Teachers who love to teach

• Plenty of extracurricular activities

In addition we came up with other changes we think we deserve:

• Schools with no graffiti on the walls

• Schools with nice sports equipment. No more rusty, broken down goals and deflated balls.

Clean bathroom and goals that aren't broken may not sound like dreams to you, but they are to us because we don't have them. These are our first dreams for better schools.

We did have time to dream bigger dreams at Rethink this summer, and we actually built these dreams into a sculpture. (She points to the 12-foot-high house of cards sculpture.) When you look at our sculpture, notice Trynisba's ideas for a kids' lounge and Victor's plan for a cool library. Get Briante and Shannon to show you their food court with healthy food. Ask Dudley to tell you bis ideas for a media center and check out my garden for kids.

One day this summer, Bobbie Hill from Concordia Architects came to visit us and she showed us a video of some public schools around the world that were in a contest for the best school design. Looking at these schools just blew our minds. Here were these pictures of public schools in places like Mexico, Japan, and California. They were beautiful beyond our wildest dreams. Some of them had whole front sides made of glass and big trees and fish ponds and libraries. These schools made us realize that public schools can be great, not just good. They can be inspiring and fabulous places to study. Seeing these pictures made a big impression on us. We were very surprised ¬and some of us felt angry comparing these public schools to our own.

Next year at Rethink 2 summer school, we are going to challenge ourselves to dream big big dreams, huge dreams about schools like the ones Bobbie showed us. And I bet we can get some of them built. Maybe these dream schools won't be ready in my time, but I bet we could have one ready about the time my cousin Lyle goes to school. (Shows picture.)

So for now, that's my biggest dream of all. That Lyle will have a truly wonderful and beautiful school by the time he is my age.

Thank you.



Hello, I am Anthony Ayala and I am Huang Huang. We are public school students. ANTHONY:

We Rethinkers want to have a voice in rebuilding our schools. So part of our job will be to keep an eye on the public schools this year. We want to watch how they are doing. Grown ups need to keep an eye on the schools, but so do us kids. Kids are the ones who go to the schools every day, and believe me, we know a lot about them.

This summer, a professional evaluator came to class and helped us make this evaluation. (point to it.) Huang, can you read the questions?



So here is the deal ..... the schools give us kids report cards. We want to do the same thing - give our schools a report card. We cannot evaluate all the schools this year, but we could do quite a few over the coming years - all of our public schools including the charters.

We would like to ask Dr. Robin Jarvis and also Ms. Phyllis Landrieu if they would meet with us to help us plan how to use this evaluation.


Dr. Jarvis is in our audience today (points to her). She will speak in a little while. And I bet she will agree to meet with us Rethinkers sometime soon.

Thank you.



(A few words from our writing mentor, Ashley Nelson) BRIEF WORDS OF ENCOURAGMENT




Isaiah Simms


Kids Rethinking New Orleans' Schools Sherwood Forest Elementary School

July 21, 2006


Isaiah Simms


Jeremy, Melissa and Amber Augustine

Brief Thoughts from Rethinkers

Aaron Danielson, Tryisha Taylor, Anthony Ayala, Briante Blumfield, Dudley Grady, Kayla Paul, Lucy Tucker, Victor Carter, Amber Brooks and Jeremy Augustine

What We Endured

Shannon Taylor

What We Envision

Josephine Bingler

Next Year I School Evaluation Project Anthony Ayala

Huang Huang

Next Year I Book Project Ashley Nelson

Comments from special guests

Dr. Robin Jarvis, Acting Superintendent, Recovery School District Oliver Thomas, City Council President

We thank the UNO ARMS-Outreach 21st Century Community Learning Center Summer Program for sponsoring Rethink; the Capdall School for housing us; the First U. U. Church of NOLA for feeding Rethinkers at parent meetings; and the People's Institute its undoing racism workshop.

In addition, warm thanks to the foundations and individuals that make Rethink financially possible: the Institute of Mental Hygiene, Southern Partners, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Common Cents, Gulf Coast Ecological and Community Renewal Fund, Tess, Josh, and other private donors.

Rethink Partners are: YAlYA Inc, Concordia Planners and Architects, Spirit in Action, Esopus Creek Communications and the East Cost Independent Film Crew.