Rebuilt charter school anchors New Orleans neighborhood

The story of Wilson Charter School is the story of one struggling New Orleans neighborhood drowned by Katrina but determined to come back better than before.

Broadmoor, a New Orleans neighborhood in the Uptown/Carrolton area, was among the worst affected by Katrina flooding. Since the state did not have plans to re-open the badly-damaged school, Broadmoor residents took it upon themselves. In spring 2006, the community pulled together to re-build the neighborhood - with Wilson Charter School as its centerpiece.

The community and Broadmoor Improvement Association - one of the oldest neighborhood associations in New Orleans - created a 300-page redevelopment plan entitiled "Better Than Before." Because they believe neighborhoods are defined by their local schools, a critical element was Wilson Charter School, the only public school in the area. Before Katrina, Wilson was an underperforming school with 85 percent of students performing below grade level.

In February 2007, the Broadmoor Improvement Association was awarded authority to open the charter school, which is managed by EdisonLearning. Since operating as a neighborhood-run charter school, Wilson has shown dramatic progress. Recent results from the state test showed improvements of up to 26 points in core subjects.

In January, this transformed school will reach a significant milestone and move into its newly-remodeled building. Parts of the existing building were reconstructed, and a brand new wing was added. The new school features:

  • State-of-the-art technology, including 90 PCs, 70 laptops, 40 smartboards, three learning distance solutions, and wireless and networking equipment
  • Green solutions and LEED certification, including bamboo flooring (a renewable resource), natural lighting and temperature control
  • Library and media center, open to community members
  • Science lab, music suite, art rooms and gymnasium, open to community members
  • Courtyard with performance stadium

Wilson is part of a larger vision for Broadmoor. It is part of the eight-block Education Corridor, designed to meet the needs of the entire community - from dance classes to GED training.