In New Orleans, Back To School Season Lasts A Full Month
It's back to school season. And in New Orleans, it truly is a season — spanning late July to late August. The city has many school start dates and calendars.
It's the first day of school at Andrew H. Wilson Charter. Mrs. Isom greets each of her new fourth graders with a fist bump. They file quietly into the classroom, hook backpacks behind their chairs, and answer writing prompts about summer vacation.
There's a similar ritual happening all over the city. But not at the same time. That's because each individual charter school or network sets its own calendar.
Some schools started back in July. Others open their doors this week. And many stagger their starts, with different groups coming in on different days. All told, there are more than 115 starts.
For parents with children in multiple schools, that can create a challenge.
Kim Conner-Davis is an instructional coach and mother of three. Last year, her children all attended different schools.
"My oldest child actually started first, which left my younger children kinda, you know, hanging around," she says. "So we had to figure out who exactly would stay home with our children. Because my husband and I both work."
Her kids' vacation breaks didn't line up, either.
"So I would have one child on spring break, and another child in school," she says. "And then also me being in education, I was on a different calendar also which was just like, unheard of where, you know, it's really imperative that my children actually have time off together. It's a part of just keeping the family together."
Conner-Davis says this year is better. Her two youngest children now go to the same school. Getting them on the same calendar was a priority.
Back in Mrs. Isom's classroom, the first day fanfare continues. Isom explains why school is so important: the more brain power, the better job, the more opportunities.
Her students will build their brain power until Andrew H. Wilson Charter's fall break. One of many, in a city without a coordinated school calendar.