• We believe every child in this city deserves access to an excellent public education.
  • We believe in the power of the community’s collective voice.
  • We believe sustainable and impactful change in education can only happen through the support of an informed and engaged community.
  • We believe the most important choice is the one a quality education provides a child in expanding his/her life chances.
  • If you believe these things too, we ask you to join us!

Q. What is ONE STEP The Campaign?

A: ONE STEP is the first post-Katrina grassroots organized campaign to engage the collective New Orleans community in crafting a vision for the future of public education in New Orleans. Starting with a special day kick-off on September 25th, members of the community will start a seven month process to create a vision for public education. Members of the community will work in small working groups (10 – 15 people) throughout the city from October 2010 – April 2011 to discuss key education topics and make recommendations which will collectively create a vision of quality public education.

Q: What is a working group?

A: A working group is a committee of 10 – 15 people who agree to meet once a month for two hours and discuss pre-selected topics on public education and make recommendations. Prior to the monthly meetings, working groups members are responsible for homework. Each month OPEN will release an issue brief and share best practices on the topic of discussion. Working groups members are responsible for reviewing this information before their monthly meeting as it will help inform their discussion.

Q:  How can my group  join or form a working group?

We welcome every church, neighborhood, civic, social organization  or group of individuals interested in education to form a working group of 10-15 people.
Individuals who join must be willing to meet once a month for two hours,
Be committed to making a difference in our city,
Believe in the importance of quality public education.

OPEN will train or provide a facilitator to facilitate the group’s first meeting and help them get started. To form a working group please contact OPEN by calling 504-523-9800 or email open@orleanspubliceducationnetwork.org.

Q. Will OPEN help us form a working group?

A. Yes, OPEN will provide a facilitator or train someone from your group to get you started. Additionally, every month OPEN will provide a issue brief and video which provides information on topic of the month.

A. It’s the official kick-off, the purpose with a party! On September 25th  partners from around the city will stand in solidarity and take “ONE STEP TOGETHER FOR OUR CHILDREN.” We invite the entire New Orleans Community to stand in solidarity with us by attending the Community Education Summit, the One STEP TOGETHER Parade, and a festival focused on strengthening education quality.

THERE is SOMETHING HERE FOR EVERYONE! School leaders are encouraged to come out to get information on how to broaden the services provided at their schools (CONNECT2EDUCATE). There will be enrichment activities for children, tools and workshops for parents and wealth of other activities and resources.

ONE STEP SATURDAY is brought to you by a committed group of partners:  Orleans Public Education Network, Connect2Educate, Mahalia Jackson Family Learning Center, Total Community Action and Central City Renaissance Alliance.

Q. Who should be involved and attend  the ONE STEP EVENTS?

A. IF YOU LOVE NEW ORLEANS and you care about its future, ONE STEP Is for you! At the center of every issue facing New Orleans is quality education – diversifying the local economy, adding jobs, improving the quality of life, reducing crime, quality healthcare – every one of these issues is directly impacted by the quality of education!

Making New Orleans a 21st Century City requires we build a system of excellent public schools. But building excellence requires an informed an engaged community!

Be involved and Be Heard, for more information on how to get involved call 504-523-9800.

Q..What are the goals of the ONE STEP Campaign?

The goals of the ONE STEP CAMPAIGN are:
Create a community vision for public education
Inform future of  local control in alignment with community’s vision of quality schools.
Increase the community’s awareness of what works and how to best support education
Build an informed and engaged community that can collectively help improve school quality.

Q:  What makes ONE STEP different than any  other outreach efforts?

A: To our knowledge there has been no effort to mobilize the community, Post-Katrina on public education which sought to help frame a collective vision of public education.  Most importantly, ONE STEP is driven by the community.  The topics and the recommendations all come from the community.

You don’t have to be an education expert to be involved! OPEN will provide information on best practices to help inform working groups.

For seven months, members of the community will work in small working groups (10 – 15 people) throughout the city to discuss important issues like teacher and school leader quality, special education, choice, high school reform, school and community partnership and make recommendations which will collectively create a vision of quality public education.

Q.. What will happen at the Summit?

The Summit is the kick-off of the Campaign.  We will introduce the topics which will be discussed during the seven-month long campaign, and ask the community to prioritize those topics.

Q.. Can I attend the summit even if I am not a part of a working group?

A. Yes!  Everyone is welcome to attend the summit. If you decide you want to join or form  a working group, we will help you get connected with a working group in your area or support your efforts to start a working group.

Q. How can my group join in the “ONE STEP TOGETHER” Parade to show our solidarity with this event?

A.  We welcome your participation.  Please contact our offices at (504)523-9800 to sign-up and receive detailed instructions on participating in the ONE STEP TOGETHER parade.

Q..Will this REALLY make a difference? Has anyone done this before?

A.  Absolutely!  Many communities at both the state and local level have taken responsibility for public education by getting the community involved.  Formally framed as “building civic capacity” evidence suggests that communities who are actively involved in public education invest more strategically in public education and realize better results.  We believe New Orleans can have significantly better schools and we believe the only way to accomplish this is to have the community work in concert with schools!

A few examples of communities who have made building civic capacity a priority include;
Mobile, Alabama (its efforts resulted in first increase in millage in more than a decade, greater investment in public education, eliminating the revolving door of district leadership and a increase in student achievement), Tennessee and Georgia have both recently completed similar process. For more information on  similar efforts across the country:
Public Education Network.
UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA)

Q.. Is One STEP a one-time event?

A. No! Its’ the beginning of a longer term commitment to cultivate and sustain the type of community engagement which will raise the level and quality of schools in New Orleans long term.  For too long, there has been a disconnect between schools and community. It is our goal to have one step bridge this disconnect, we believe this community.

Q. How will the community vision be used to make a difference?

A. OPEN is committed to ensuring ONE STEP makes meaningful connections to change and building the capacity of the community to influence policy decisions.  The vision will be used to directly influence policy in related areas; it will be shared with local and state policymakers. Moreover, OPEN will collect benchmark data and work with the community on annually tracking progress on the key indicators outlined in the community vision.