yell much? what your child needs from you.

Do you want to end the yelling, become less frustrated and enjoy your kids more? Join local parent/family coach, Elizabeth Elizardi of  StrengthsHub, for a four-week interactive, online program based on the book What Your Child Needs From You: Creating a Connected Family by Dr. Justin Coulson. This is a rare opportunity to work at your own pace, wherever you want, whenever you want!

This four-week online program starts on October 29th and continues through the week of November 26th. (Don’t worry, no class on Thanksgiving!)

Program Details:

Week One: Emotional Availability
Week Two: Showing Understanding
Week Three: Teaching your Children Good Ways to Act
Week Four: Kindess, Love and Compassion

What is Included?

Your payment of $150.00 for the four-week program includes:

  • a copy of the book What Your Child Needs From You by Dr. Justin Coulson;
  • a weekly email from Elizabeth outlining activities for the week and questions to ponder;
  • a three-month membership to the Parent Hub online community;
  • access to the online discussion forum;
  • a one-hour weekly group call with Elizabeth;
  • one individual 15-minute coaching gym session with Elizabeth; and
  • a BONUS Expert call with the author, Dr. Justin Coulson, at the end of the four-week program.

How does it work?

Upon registering, you will receive in the mail the book  What Your Child Needs From You: Creating a Connected Family and an invitation to join the Parent Hub, a private, online parent community and discussion forum with weekly activities.

Beginning the first week of the program, Elizabeth will send an email to all participants outlining the reading, weekly activities to try, and questions for the discussion forum. Parents are encouraged to do the assigned reading, visit the forum, comment on the questions, try out the activities and report back to the group.

Elizabeth offers support through a one-hour weekly conference call with Q & A and community discussion. Parents are also invited to schedule a one-time fifteen minute coaching session during the four-week program.

How do I get started?

There is limited space for 20 participants in this class. Register here, spread the word and invite friends, too. Be sure to enter your email address, first/last name and mailing address so that you can receive your book in time for the first class on October 29th!

Get connected and boost your Parent Well-Being.

For questions or more information, email Elizabeth at

read to your bunny.

Reading to your child every day is the single most important thing you can do to create a lifelong love of books and ensure school success. Parenting a small child is a full time job, yet research shows that the first five years of life are crucial to language learning.  So how do you find time to incorporate reading to an active, inquisitive child into an already hectic schedule? Here are some tips that help fit reading into your daily routine with a limited amount of stress.

It’s never too early to start reading to a child. Reading can be a wonderful bonding opportunity. Hold your child while you read to her and she will grow up associating books with the warmth of your body and being held. One way to read to an infant is to put him on your chest facing up, and then lie down and hold the book up above you.

We often think that we have to read the text as printed in the book. Follow your child’s lead. If he’s flipping through the pages, point to a picture and name it.

Choose books that are developmentally appropriate. Really little ones enjoy concept books and bright colors. Relate the their experience. Point and name the objects in the picture: “this is a cup” or “this is a bottle, you drink from the bottle” or something associated with their routine. As they get older, you can choose books that have increasing text and a more sophisticated plot.

Reading is not restricted to sitting in a lap. While some children enjoy this, others, particularly active and curious children, are unable to sit still for an entire book. Read to them while they’re walking around, playing with leggos, or investigating a new toy. They are still listening.  Seize opportune moments, such as when your child is in a highchair or the bath, to get in some reading time. There are waterproof books designed explicitly for this purpose.

Expand the definition of reading. Rhymes, songs and just talking to your child are wonderful ways to bring language into their daily life. You don’t have to be a rockstar to sing to your child.  Children naturally respond to the rhythm of language and love the sound of your voice.

Make your reading time a fun, exciting adventure.  Move to the rhythm of the text or find a songbook.  Add motions and an expressive voice to bring the book to life.

Find the hook. Children express genre preferences early on so find the subject that engages and interests your child. If you’ve gone to the zoo and they love animals, read them a story about an animal.  If they like cooking, help them read the recipe. Reading can be in various formats, whether it’s a computer game, an iPad app or a magazine.

Add a reading or language component to an everyday activity. Talk or sing while you’re changing a diaper. Listen to a book on tape while driving. Keep a book in the car for unexpected free time, such as waiting at a doctor’s office.  Grocery stores are another great opportunity for literacy learning. Have your child help you write a list beforehand, even if it’s just contributing ideas. Upon arrival, talk about what you see, pointing out signs and favorite foods.

Find text in your environment. Letters in a child’s name and letters in family member’s names are their first core alphabet. Those are the letters they’ll learn first, so have them look for those. Look for letters in passing cars’ license plates. Have them find the “m” in McDonalds or the “t” in ToysRus.

Establish a nighttime ritual. Reading or just looking at a picture book together can be a soothing end to a busy day. Curl up with your little one and start a lifetime of shared moments with reading with someone you love.

How do you integrate reading into your child’s life? What’s your family’s reading routine?

eleven educational models

When it comes to choosing the right school for your child, New Orleans offers so many choices that it can be overwhelming. This is a topic that seems to be on everyone’s mind, especially now. It’s time to start attending Open Houses and getting a sense for which school is best for your family.

To help us all navigate these murky waters, below are brief descriptions written by representatives of select schools explaining the various educational models available in the city. Part of the nolaParent initiative is to close the gap between parents and schools and open the lines of communication. One common thread that unites all of us, parents and schools alike, is that we all want what is best for our children and our families.

Thank you to all of the schools who contributed to this article.

Bilingual/Immersion Education
by Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans (EB)

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and Duke University have conducted studies and gathered research on the many benefits for children who become bilingual at an early age through immersion education. These benefits include:

  • out scoring monolingual peers in the verbal and math sections of standardized tests;
  • higher cognitive flexibility and development;
  • better creative thinking skills;
  • deeper understanding of their own and other cultures;
  • improved understanding of the English language; and
  • greater career opportunities.

These benefits are realized when students are allowed to follow a strong immersion education throughout elementary school but especially when the immersion continues through middle school. This length of time ensures advanced “native-like” proficiencies in reading, writing and oral communication skills of the target language.

Independent Schools
by Lisa Davis, Development Director, St. Paul’s Episcopal School

What is an Independent School? There are approximately 2,000 independent schools across the United States educating roughly 700,000 students a year. Louisiana is home to 15 independent schools with 10 located right in the greater New Orleans area. Two characteristics of an independent school can be defined as:

Independent in governance, meaning that the schools are organized as not-for-profit and non-discriminatory corporations governed by a self-perpetuating board of directors, as opposed to being “owned” and run by the government (public schools), by a diocese (parochial schools) or by for-profit entities (proprietary schools).

Independent in finance, meaning that the schools charge tuition and raise money to operate themselves, as opposed to being supported primarily by public monies or religious subsidies.

Distinct though each one is, independent schools also have a lot in common. Some advantages of independent schools are: high academic standards, small classes and individual attention, excellent teachers, greater likelihood of a student completing a bachelor’s degree, education for the whole child, and a strong partnership with parents. They also share a commitment to teaching young people academic skills plus the importance of hard work, leadership, personal responsibility, and good citizenship.

Suggested reading: Bassett, Patrick. “Why Choose an Independent School.” 06/12/06. National Association of Independent Schools, Web. 3 Jan 2010.; “The Independent School Advantage.”

Visit the ISAS New Orleans website for a complete listing of all New Orleans Independent Schools.

KIPP New Orleans Schools
by Lisa Abel, Director of Communication and Community Affairs, KIPP Schools

Leading the education reform charge in New Orleans, KIPP New Orleans Schools (KNOS), is the highest-performing, tuition-free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory charter school network in New Orleans and is working hard to create exceptional opportunities for our city’s students.

Part of the nationally renowned Knowledge is Power Program, the KIPP New Orleans Schools’ program boasts a rigorous curriculum. KIPP concentrates on academic gain and character development, a safe, nurturing environment, and extensive enrichment and extracurricular activities. KNOS schools have a longer school day, week and year (7:30am to 5:00pm Monday-Friday, several Saturdays per semester and three weeks in the summer). This additional time exposes students to a comprehensive college-prep education that is not routinely found in traditional public schools. Remediation, acceleration-oriented instruction, diverse field lessons, sports, music, visual arts and extensive year-end trips, make up the KIPP program. On average, our students take home two hours of homework daily. And, our dedicated and innovative teachers, at the heart and soul of KNOS, are available by cell phone each night to support students and their families. We do whatever it takes to ensure that our students become lifelong learners and leaders in school and in life.

More time in the classroom and a keen focus on results is paying off. KNOS students improve more than two grade levels, on average, in a single school year. In addition, we engage and work closely with students and families throughout the high school and college application process. Our KIPP to College program provides alumni with ongoing academic and personal support, school placement, and mentoring and enrichment activities, including college visits.

Against a “No Shortcuts, No Excuses” philosophy and “Work Hard, Be Nice” mantra, the students of KIPP New Orleans Schools, affectionately known as KIPPsters, are on the path to and through college.

by Teddi Locke, Director, University Montessori School

The goal of Montessori education is to foster competent, responsible, adaptive citizens who are lifelong learners, problem solvers and contribute to their community. Learning occurs in an inquiring, cooperative, nurturing environment designed specifically for the child. By manipulating materials and interacting with others, students have meaningful experiences that are ncessary for the abstract understanding of ideas. Each child is considered unique and as a whole. By combining age groups, children develop a sense of community. Through individual and group activities and class routine, the child experiences decision making, concern for his or her and others’ rights, independent thinking and personal responsibility.

Montessori schools can be private or public. Though Montessori schools can differ greatly, they all follow an interpretation of the same philosophy developed by Maria Montessori at the beginning of the twentieth century. Teachers are certified as Montessori teachers when they have had specific Montessori training. In the state of Louisiana, schools can seek approval as a Montessori school by the Louisiana State School Board if they meet the necessary standards.

New Orleans Public Charter Schools
by Elizabeth Garrett, Communications Director, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools

Charter Schools are independent public schools that are free to be more innovative and are held accountable for student achievement. They foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students to create an environment in which parents can be more involved. Teachers are given the freedom to innovate and students are provided the structure they need to learn. In the last five years, charter schools have proliferated in New Orleans with currently 60% of public school students in charter schools. These schools have consistently proven to give parents a choice in quality education for their children.

A recent study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that charter schools in Louisiana are outperforming traditional public schools in reading and math. Overall, since public charter schools have entered the New Orleans public school landscape, school performance scores across the city have continued to improve, making New Orleans a city where every child can have access to a quality public education.

by Rosalie Tomeny, Director of Development, Holy Name of Jesus School

In choosing a parochial school for your child, he or she will receive an excellent, affordable education, grounded in faith-based, Catholic traditions. This faith-based influence guides our curriculums and our faculties and administrations. Catholic schools have a long-standing tradition of educating the “whole child,” in a God-centered environment. Parochial schools are usually part of a Catholic “parish” and as such are the main outreach of the parish to foster Christian formation and growth. While most Catholic schools today have very few religious teaching, the administration and faculty are committed to maintaining the traditions of a Catholic education.

Catholic schools derive their income from the tuition paid by the parents, in addition to a subsidy from the church parish. Parents play an integral role in fundraisers to help support the school and continue to maintain an affordable rate of tuition. While each Catholic, parochial school in New Orleans is autonomous, all are under the jurisdiction of the Office of Catholics Schools of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which provides leadership, service, support and direction to the Catholic school community.

With its long history of providing education to thousands of children in the Greater New Orleans area, it is no wonder that many parents, throughout the generations, choose a Catholic parochial education for their children.

Private School Education
by nolaParent

Deciding on a school for your child is one of the most important and hardest decisions a parent can make. In New Orleans, the advantages of private school education include high academic standards, small classes with individual attention, excellent teachers, total education of mind, body and spirit, nurturing environment, inclusiveness, and a school community or family. Students are generally more academically challenged, exposed to value systems and receive more individualized attention. They also participate in elaborate plays and musicals and are allowed unique opportunities to explore their talents. Private schools often place a major emphasis on personal values and community service which achieves the goal of educating the mind, body and spirit. Additionally, private schools offer a safe environment and students who attend private schools generally continue their educational journey to college and beyond. The benefits of Private School Education far out-weigh the costs. When making that hard decision of where your child will go to school, make sure that the school you choose is the right fit for your child and your family.

Reggio Emilia Education
by Emmy DaCosta-Gomez, Executive Director, Abeona House Child Discovery Center

The Reggio Emilia approach was borne out of community response to disaster. After World War II, the Italian government granted cities funds to rebuild a sense of community. Most cities built community centers, but the families in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy used the bricks from bombed out buildings and volunteers from all corners of the community to build a school. In this model, several key points converge:

  • respect for all individuals, each child, parent and staff member;
  • open communication between parents, teachers, and children in the discovery/learning process;
  • sparking of curiosity and development of critical thinking in children;
  • an extended-family atmosphere so that parents feel welcome and children feel comfortable;
  • recording and reviewing the learning process through documentation;
  • freedom of expression through a multitude of media and representations, also known as “The Hundred Languages of Children”

The benefit of a model that responds to the needs, curiosity, and wonderment of children results in skillful children who are not only prepared for kindergarten, but have a deep love of learning, and recognize teachers as partners in the world of ideas.

Single-Gender Education for Girls
by Kristen Dry, Director of Communications, Louise S. McGehee School

In an all girls’ school, each girl is encouraged to succeed by harnessing her potential, finding her voice, taking risks and delivering her very best. At an all girls’ school girls take center stage. Girls fill every role: math whiz, team captain, class president, valedictorian, speaker, player, writer, singer, and athlete. A single sex school provides the inclusive environment needed for girls to take appropriate risks, so they can work and learn collaboratively and competitively without boys as a distraction. Add a rigorous college preparatory education and you have the perfect setting for girls to experience a love of learning, individualized attention and the chance to lead and succeed.

To learn more about single sex education for girls, please visit the website of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. The NCGS is the leading advocate for all girls’ education both nationally and internationally and their website includes useful information, including a video called, “It’s Cool to be Smart-The Effectiveness of Girls’ Schools“.

Single-Gender Education for Boys
by Katherine Diliberto, Director of Admission, Stuart Hall School for Boys

When boys are placed in a single-gender elementary school, they are given an opportunity to learn at their own developmental pace. The boys are given time to mature physically and socially without having to impress the girls. They are placed in an environment that is not threatening where they can create and take risks. The school day is structured to accommodate their need for physical activity and to allow them to engage physically with their world. There is an emphasis on reading, writing, listening, speaking, and organizational skills in the curriculum. The math and science is accelerated and manipulative. Boys can be great leaders. They can handle responsibility at a very young age, but in a co-educational environment, girls tend to be the leaders because they mature at an earlier age. In a single-gender environment, they have no choice. As a result, boys learn the leadership skills they will use for the rest of their lives. The activities and programs in an all-boys school are tailored to the way boys grow and learn. These schools celebrate boys and their strengths.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of single-gender education for boys, visit these websites:

The Daily Beast: The Trouble With Boys by Peg Tyre
Bloomberg Businessweek: The New Gender Gap by Michelle Conlin
Hearts and Minds: Ten Reasons For a Boys’ School
by Dr. Stephen Johnson

Waldorf Education
by Jennifer Curry, Office Manager, Waldorf School of New Orleans

Today, with more than 900 Waldorf schools in 83 countries, Waldorf Education is the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world. In North America Waldorf has been available since 1928, and there are now over 250 schools and 14 teacher training centers in some level of development. No two schools are identical; each is administratively independent. The aim of Waldorf education is to inspire in all students a lifelong love of learning and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities. Waldorf curriculum is structured to respond to three specific developmental phases of childhood. A Waldorf education provides meaningful support for a child to comprehend these phases fully and to bring “age appropriate” content that nourishes healthy growth for the Waldorf student. In the Waldorf School, basic academics, as well as music, dance and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about and tested; they are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities, and grow to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.

Dedicated Parent: An innovative early childhood education program

Your child is considered capable and intelligent, a born learner, a student of his and her environment (both inside and outside the classroom), an explorer, a problem-solver, and member of and contributor to a larger community.

This is the foundation of a Reggio Emilia-inspired learning environment.

This is Little Gate.

Through the Little Gate: A Reggio Discovery Day Video

Parents of children ages 1-3 are invited to an Open House on Thursday, October 11, from 4:30-6:30pm at 1538 Philip Street, to learn more about the Little Gate program and how your children will benefit from a Little Gate education. For more information, visit the Little Gate website or call (504) 523-9911 to schedule a personal tour.

Sponsored post.

How motherhood led to a love of reading and the launch of READ Nola

My introductory remarks at the beginning of a session of READ always include telling parents that they are their child’s first and most influential teacher. What I found is that although I did serve in that role, I learned an equal amount from my children.

My career truly benefited from all my daughter and son taught me over the years. As a child, I was not read to and although I was a good student, I was a relatively slow reader and did not know the joy of reading for pleasure. My daughter loved language and books almost from birth. My son started reading at age four, extremely interested in the box scores on the sports page. I feel that they literally took me by the hand and we, together, explored books and the pleasure that reading provides.

I was a teacher by training and taught kindergarten at Newman school for a couple of years before my daughter, Lauren, was born. I left and was a full-time Mom until Josh, my second child, was 10 years old. When I went back to teaching, I continued in the classroom, but also developed a summer reading enrichment program. My interest in doing this was inspired by the love of reading that I experienced personally only after having children. My goal was to design a program that was a fun, comfortable learning environment. The original program was for children aged four to seven years. The summer program was a big success and I enjoyed working with children, books, and literacy so much, that I decided to leave the classroom, and READ was born.

I felt that the exposure to the magic of reading should begin even earlier than four years, so while I applied the same concepts from the summer program, I focused on starting a love of reading as early as possible.

READ Nola is now for children aged six months to five years. In addition, I wanted this reading experience to not only teach the children, but to serve as an opportunity for parents and children to explore the world of books together.

No matter how old they are, children remember times where they felt happy and close with their parents. Incorporating books into those special times helps children associate reading with positive feelings.

Visiting los animales at the Audubon Zoo

One of my favorite things to do with my 19-month-old, Elle, is a trip to the zoo. I’m raising her speaking Spanish, so besides the fact that she loves the animals, it’s a good opportunity for us to go over some of the animals’ Spanish names we’ve seen in so many books.

A recent trip to Audubon Zoo started easy enough. The elephants (elefantes) and monkeys (monos) were easy to point out and talk about. Then we hit the petting zoo – and I realized just how far I have to go to properly raise my daughters speaking Spanish.

I was raised in a Spanish-speaking household in Miami by Cuban parents and grandparents. But having never studied Spanish in school, I have glaring gaps in my vocabulary and grammar. As we walked around the animals at the petting zoo, I struggled to come up with all the names. Sheep I knew (oveja), but drew a blank on goat. The Google Translate app on my iPhone offered ‘cabra’ for goat but that didn’t sound right. Then I remembered ‘chiva.’ Google, I’ve noticed, rarely gives the Cuban Spanish translation to words, and its suggestions need to be cross-checked with a phone call to my mom.

The rabbits were easy to point out, as we have books filled with ‘conejos’ at home. But guinea pig – no idea. Didn’t see a lot of those growing up in Miami. Google Translate suggests ‘conejillo de Indias’ for guinea pig, which is a wonderful, lyrical phrase and one I’ll probably never remember.

For other parents with bilingual kids – or those who just want to add a fun twist to a zoo trip – here’s a list of common zoo animals in Spanish, with their English translations (in parenthesis):

jirafa (giraffe)
león (lion)
camello (camel)
gorila (gorilla)
burro (donkey)
tortuga (turtle)
flamenco (flamingo)
foca (seal)
búho (owl)
serpiente (snake)
avestruz (ostrich)
cebra (zebra)

It’s best to try to memorize them before you head out. You miss a lot of the magic of a trip to the zoo if you’re constantly turning to your iPhone’s translator app.

¡Buena suerte! (translate)

Parent Tip: The Parenting Center School Fair

With so many school choices in New Orleans it’s hard to research every school to pick the one that fits your children’s needs. The school fair gives parents an opportunity to learn about a variety of different schools in the New Orleans community.

At the Parenting Center School Fair, local schools share information important to parents who are selecting programs for their young children, including:

  • curriculum/educational philosophy;
  • extracurricular opportunities;
  • additional services for children and families; and 
  • admissions.

The deets:

What: The School Fair, 2012

When: Tuesday, October 2nd, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Where: Children’s Hospital Auditorium, 200 Henry Clay Ave., New Orleans

Registration: FREE (for more info, email

Parent tip submitted by: Moira Riley, MS, The Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital

Parent Tip: Learn how to take better snapshots of your kiddos

Category: Learn

Title:  Camera Class for Parents: Learn to Take Better Snapshots of your Kiddos!


My tip is rad and/or relevant to parents because…

All parents wish they had great pictures of their kids outside of professional portrait sessions. And since not everyone is Suri Cruise and used to professional photographers documenting her every move, for most families the job of snapping memories falls to the parents.

Many families own $800-$1200 DSLRs nowadays and wonder why their pictures look like they were taken with the older, much cheaper point-and-shoot they used to have. And that’s where I come in. My name is Olivia Grey Pritchard, published photographer and professional kid wrangler. I can’t be there for every family event, so I like to help parents learn how to use their own equipment to improve their personal photographs.

Don’t worry. This is not a photography class. We won’t be discussing which f-stop you need for indoor low light on a moving subject. Your camera can do some amazing things and you’ll learn tips and tricks on how to use it better at this 2-hour class.

Bring your DSLR, owner’s manual, any questions, and a pen and paper for notes. This is going to be fun and a great way to meet other parents who love photography as much as you!

The deets:

What: Camera Class for Parents: Learn to Take Better Snapshots of your Kiddos! ($40 per person)

When: Wednesday, September 26, 2012, from 7-9pm

Where: Uptown (exact location TBA)

Register: Email for more info!

Getting Our Children the Education They Deserve

My wife, Erin, and I moved to New Orleans with our two young children in July 2009, to be a part of the historic education reforms and improvements happening all over the city. We are both teachers and were drawn by the opportunity to contribute to what many said was the center for public education reform nationally.

We were quickly smitten with New Orleans (once the humidity broke!). Our neighbors regularly convened at a nearby playground. Our house of worship was warm and welcoming. We even found great friends in the families of our kids’ pre-school classmates. We had found our family’s home.

But after one year in New Orleans, we realized that the very thing that initially attracted us here also presented a most daunting challenge: public schools. Both Erin and I grew up attending public schools, spent our career working in public schools, and moved to a new city to work in the public school system. Now it was time for us to navigate the various school options and find an elementary school that was a good fit for our daughter. We were overwhelmed. Even as career educators, we found the process challenging. Every night we found ourselves asking the same questions:

What should we value in a school?
Does small class size really matter?
Is [insert private school here] really worth [$8,000 – $14,000] a year? I mean, I know it’s a good school, but is it that much better than the public options out there?
What does it mean to be arts-based? Does that even matter?
What is a community school?
How should I evaluate a school’s literacy program?
How important is diversity?
How should I interpret test scores?
What about foreign language instruction?
…and it went on and on.

These questions led me to start talking with other parents about what they wanted in a school and eventually motivated me to start working on what would become Bricolage Academy. It’s a journey that I have been on for 18 months and one that I hope to be on for a long time.

Early on in the process, I read a book called The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Children the Education They Deserve, by Peg Tyre, a nationally known education reporter and author who also wrote the NY Times Best Seller, The Trouble With Boys.

In The Good School, Peg breaks down education research in a way that is easy for parents to understand and act upon. The book answers some of the questions above and many more. I found it incredibly informative, even as a teacher. It is a must read for any parent choosing a school for their child.

It turned out that Peg was a friend of a friend and I jumped at the chance to bring her to New Orleans to speak with parents and families. I am excited to invite any parent in the New Orleans area to Loyola University this Saturday for a conversation with Peg. She’ll talk about her research, the contents of the book and engage in a spirited Q & A session.

This is a free event, and it is open to the public. If you have a child entering Kindergarten next year, or if you are re-evaluating the school options for your child, The Good School is a must read, and I strongly encourage you to attend this Saturday.

The details:

What: A Conversation with Peg Tyre, author of The Good School
When: Saturday 3:00 – 4:30.
Where: Loyola University’s Miller Hall (corner of Loyola and Calhoun), room 112

Sponsored by: Bricolage Academy of New Orleans

Parenting in New Orleans Discussion at Rising Tide Conference

On Saturday, September 22, Rising Tide: A Conference On The Future Of New Orleans will feature its first ever PARENTING panel, Mardi Gras Moms & Who Dat Dads. GET YOUR TICKETS and join Ashley Bond of, Keith Spera of The Times Picayune’s The Paternity Test, Andrea Dewenter of, and moderator Bart Everson of for a discussion of the unique problems and benefits of raising children in New Orleans.

“Known around the world for its debauchery, hurricanes, and crime, New Orleans seems an unlikely place to raise a child. So why would you stay here, or even move here, to do so? ‘Mardi Gras Moms and Who Dat Dads’ will explore the strong cultural and familial bonds that make New Orleans hard to resist, but also those dark moments that make us second-guess ourselves. While some of the issues parents face here are typical of urban America, others are distinctively Nola, and the intersection of these can lead to unfathomable obstacles. But the benefits cannot be denied. New Orleans provides one of the most genuine and unique urban upbringings you can have in America today. On a good day, it’s like raising your child in the Land of Oz after living in Kansas; the senses endlessly overstimulated, the passion for life cranked up to maximum. But on a bad day it’s like raising your child in an unstable foreign country – without an embassy to run to. Parenting here is for those who like great challenges, and curious rewards.”

The Rising Tide conference will also feature an EDUCATION panel, The Education Experiment: Petri Dish Reform in New Orleans and Louisiana, where panelists will discuss the controversial topics of charter schools, vouchers, the future of public schools, and the experimental nature of our post-Katrina education system. Moderated by The Lens’ education reporter, Jessica Williams, panelists include Brian Beabout, an Assistant Professor of Education at UNO, Elizabeth Walters, writer, editor, and high-school teacher in St. Bernard Parish, Zack Kopplin, a student at Rice University working to make sure Louisiana kids will be able to get jobs after they graduate, Dr. Lance Hill, Executive Director of the Southern Institute for Education and Research, and Caroline Roemer Shirley, Executive Director Louisiana Association of Charter Schools.

Other panels and speakers for 2012 include:

  • Lawrence Powell, “The Accidental History of an Accidental Book: How the author stumbled into the 18th century and post-Katrina New Orleans through the lens of her colonial past.”
  • Lolis Eric Elie: “At War With Ourselves: New Orleans Culture at the Crossroads… Again… And Again… And… “
  • Black and White and Red All Over: The digital future of the New Orleans media market.
  • Oil & Water: Can Louisiana save its coastline and have a thriving oil industry at the same time?
  • Community or Commodity?: Is profiting from our culture also stifling its evolution?
  • Take This Job and Love It: What it takes to own a business in New Orleans.

The Rising Tide conference was created on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by the local blogging community to respond to the massive political and cultural changes our city was – and still is – experiencing. Every year since it has addressed the hard issues facing New Orleans through prominent speakers and engaging discussion panels. Learn more about the history of Rising Tide.

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