This is a school to watch. If the Living School can execute its mission, it could become a national model for traditional and nontraditional schools to study and emulate.
An old building is turning into a new school, but this isn’t your ordinary public high school. From the outside of the old laser tag building off Bullard Avenue in New Orleans East, it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot going on. But inside, you’ll find young minds like 14-year-old Joy Alsanders discussing what her new school should look like when it opens in July. “It allows kids to have more freedom, Alsanders said. “And choice, which is very interesting.” Alsanders being so involved is emblematic of The Living School’s philosophy: A public high school where not just the administrators have a say, but the students and their parents do too. “I think it’s great,” Netaya Hart, a parent of one of the school’s first student, said. “I think kids should be trusted to know what their education looks like.”
Will input from so many stakeholders create issues that hinder the mission and overall growth of the school? Not necessarily. Large, nonprofit boards have enjoyed some success in incorporating the numerous and often diverse voices of their stakeholders. Success will come down to structures and processes the Living School puts in place to receive and honor feedback from all who want to see it succeed.