Filed Under:  Arts & Culture, Education, Local

TCA transitions 587, largest cohort since pre-Katrina

11th July 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Nayita Wilson
The Louisiana Weekly

In an energetic call and response tactic, Kendria Reaux, center aide at Berean Head Start Center, asks hundreds of emerging kindergarten students: “Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready, ready, ready, ready, ready?”

The kids yell, “YEAH!”

On one hand, Reaux’s question was posed minutes before the students became the focal point of a photo shoot on the steps of the New Orleans Museum of Art wherein they will be remembered as the first, largest group of students to transition from Total Com­­munity Action’s (TCA) 18 Head Start sites since before hurricane Katrina—approximately 587 to be exact.

The numbers are expected to increase. TCA serviced 1,595 students this academic year. Next year’s enrollment is expected to increase to 1,700.

“We’re growing every single year,” said Head Start Director Pearlie Elloie.

The organization’s is renovating current sites and TCA delegate agencies are building new constructions to meet growing and future need: the Urban League will build a new center in the Desire community; the center at James Singleton is being rebuilt; Kingsley House will establish a new site in Colombia Parc; and Central City EEOC is constructing modular facilities on Jackson Avenue for its existing location.

“We have been a part of the recovery of this city from day one and will continue to be an active part of the recovery of this city,” Elloie said.

Adding to the picture, the students are preparing to transition into an evolving education system that offers diverse educational options.

“TCA has partnered with the Orleans Parish School Board, the Recovery School district, charter school operators and the Arch­diocese in a series of transitioning meetings to help parents make the best decisions for the children,” Elloie said.

Karla Brooks is ahead of the game. Her son Jose Castro, 5 years old, has already been accepted to attend Lake Forest Charter School. Castro is transitioning from Berean where he learned “sight words, reading and self-discipline,” his told the Louisiana Weekly.

For the first time ever, TCA will hold two graduation exercises for its transitioning students on Thurs., July 14, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, 2515 Franklin Avenue, New Orleans, 70117. The exercises will take place at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

This article originally published in the July 11, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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