Tackling the achievement gap in New Orleans
- 1 in 3 New Orleans children is vulnerable in at least one domain of school readiness .
- In 2015, 37% percent of all Orleans Parish children under 18 lived in poverty, putting them at higher risk for grade repetition, learning disability, and emotional problems in school .
- In 2015, 19% of New Orleans students were classified as truant (absent from 10% or more of school days). Chronic absence is a strong predictor of academic failure, school dropout, and criminal activity .
- Though the achievement gap in Orleans Parish has improved compared to Louisiana statewide, 2014 state tests show there remains a 24% difference between Black and white students scoring at basic or above.
- 14.5% of 16-24 year olds in New Orleans are qualified as “opportunity youth,” young adults between the ages of 16-24 neither employed nor enrolled in school .
- 87% of New Orleans’ opportunity youth identify as black or African-American .
Propeller works to narrow New Orleans’ achievement gap by addressing the factors that emerge to impact success throughout a young person’s educational career. Starting in early childcare, Propeller small businesses and nonprofits are supporting parents and caretakers and helping education providers streamline their administration and maximize funding. From K-12, entrepreneurs are working at the systems level to ensure student success, from improving student health with medical checkups in school and increasing the quality of healthy school lunches to partnering with RTA to ensure students have easy affordable transportation between school, home, and after-school enrichment programs. Propeller ventures also work with young adults who have left or completed high school to create pathways to postsecondary education and fulfilling careers.
- College Beyond (Startup, Growth ’17) helped nearly 200 students to enroll and succeed in college last year, providing support for admissions & financial aid applications, college enrollment, and first year success.
- Overcoming Racism (Startup ’17) trained 50 students, 220 teachers, and 40 school leaders last year through the process of developing anti-racist educators, collectively impacting 2,500 students in New Orleans.
- Whetstone Education (Growth ’16) brings its K-12 classroom observation and coaching platform to over 300 schools across the country, helping them streamline classroom observations and provide data-driven professional development for their educators.
- Electric Girls (Startup ’17) trained 280 New Orleans-area girls to be confident leaders and role models in technology in 2016–100 of which are paid by schools and 61 of which offered through scholarship.
- Royal Castle CDC (Growth ’16) provides childcare for almost 2,000 children and became nationally certified through the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the only 5 star rated (out of 5 stars) childcare provider in New Orleans.
Supporting Education Entrepreneurs
If you have or are looking to start a small business or nonprofit tackling the achievement gap and increasing equitable education outcomes, we’re here to help. Propeller’s Accelerator programs is designed to support entrepreneurs throughout the business lifecycle—from idea, to beta, to growth. Hands-on mentorship, access to high-level networks, pro bono technical support, and free office space, are just some of the benefits. Learn more about our accelerators, including eligibility and selection criteria, or visit our online application.