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New Operator Selected To Lead Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep Following Charter Nonrenewal

Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep's wellness center. Feb. 1, 2017.
Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep's wellness center. Feb. 1, 2017.

Young Audiences Charter Association will take the helm of Lawrence D. Crocker College Prep beginning next school year, NOLA Public Schools announced Friday.

Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. recommended Crocker for non-renewal in December, a decision met with board approval. Of the 18 schools up for renewal this year, Crocker is the district’s lowest-performing.

Rather than close Crocker, Lewis opted for a process known as “school transformation”: providing other charter management organizations with the chance to take the school over.

“Young Audiences has the strong leadership and vision needed to lead Crocker’s parents, families, faculty, and staff to academic success,” Lewis said in a press release Friday. “In addition, the organization has continually shown interest in expanding its operations to Orleans Parish and would provide a robust music and arts curriculum for students, adding more options for families in the community.”

Young Audiences currently that serves students in PreK through the 10th grade. During the 2019-20 school year, they enrolled approximately 1,100 students.

Crocker currently serves 417 students in grades PreK through eighth. The school is located in the city’s Milan neighborhood.

“We understand the great responsibility we have to the children of New Orleans and we are confident that our creative learners will thrive both academically and artistically in a school culture of community and respect,” Brionne Marcelle, school leader for Young Audiences said in a press release.

Young Audiences is known for its “art-integrated, arts-intensive” curriculum, which incorporates some form of art instruction — literary arts, music, dance or movement, drama and visual art— into every class.

“Prioritizing the arts, especially in a city that is known for its artistic self-expression and rich history of culture-bearers, brings more well-deserved opportunities for our youth to have access to a robust education that nurtures the whole child,” Marcelle said.

Young Audiences was one of two operators that applied to operate Crocker, the other being Crescent City Schools. Well established in New Orleans, Crescent City Schools operates three public schools that serve more than 2,200 students.

In a press release, the district said both operators submitted full applications and “provided thoughtful and thorough plans to help transition operation of the school.”

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