In the summer of 2004, the University of New Orleans’ College of Education and Human Development embarked on a journey that was described in statewide newspaper coverage as “the unprecedented gamble, “a major risk” and “good news”. The university became the first entity in the state of Louisiana to take control of a failing public school.
New Beginnings' commitment to quality public education is an outgrowth of the vision of the charter network’s founder, James Meza, Jr., Dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “As an urban university, our mission calls for us to assume a greater responsibility for the quality of public education in the New Orleans area,” said Meza. “Through our charter school initiative we have established opportunities for our faculty and students to engage in professional development and research though school based inquiry. This systematic teaching and learning process empowers our college teaching community to clearly understand problems and identify best practices for school improvement."
Pierre Capdau Elementary became Louisiana’s first “takeover” charter school after voters in 2003 approved a state constitutional amendment to allow state takeover of repeatedly failing public schools.