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Education Opinion

Hogwarts Blues

By Roslyn Johnson Smith, Ph.D. — October 19, 2007 2 min read
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J.K. Rowling was in New Orleans yesterday. At her much lauded book stop, she read to 1600 public school children and signed Harry Potter books. None of the children at our school were in attendance for this once in a lifetime event. We received some donated books for the library and late Wednesday evening, 20 tickets were delivered for our student representatives. Unfortunately, the details did not come with the tickets. The principal gave the tickets out to the children in the after school tutoring program and told them to ask their parents to take them to the event. It was too late to order a bus or get permission slips out. It was too late to conduct the essay contests or Harry Potter discussions held at other schools this week. We never got the communication about the event. We didn’t know tickets were reserved for our school. The next morning, a bus showed up to transport the children to the Convention Center for Rowling’s appearance. No one told us that a bus had been ordered.

I read about the appearance of this internationally famous author with great interest in the daily paper. The first article stated that 40 children from 40 schools would be selected to attend the reading. I wondered how we missed the opportunity to be included in the 40 schools. Today’s article states that 20 students from 80 schools were included. Subtract 20 for the McDonogh 42 Owls who were missing in action. My daughter, Saia, is a big Rowling/Potter fan. When the last book was released in July, she went to a midnight book gathering to get her copy. She finished the 700+ page turner by the end of the next day, even reading during breaks while standing at her register in Dillard’s Department Store. She was aghast when I told her that we had unused tickets to the reading, free copies and a promise that each book would be signed by the author. She was so disappointed about the wasted tickets. She even considered skipping class and trying to find one of the unused tickets. Saia is a senior English major at Tulane University.

This is the third time this week that an important communication did not reach us. Something is terribly wrong here when something as simple as getting on the right email list is so difficult. How hard can it be to communicate with all of the schools? Luckily, one of the finance people at the state level noticed our school was MIA and reached out to us. Now a few more people know we exist. I am very worried about information or deadlines we have missed already.

I think that the “transition” from district run to charter school has not been completed. Maybe our mail and notices are being routed to another school. The teachers and students who were in our building last spring were sent en masse to Harney School uptown. I plan to talk to the principal today to see if she has any unusual mail traffic that might be ours. Maybe she has the letter informing us about the unique opportunity we missed for fans of Harry, Hermione, Ron and Neville.

You can read the article in today’s Times-Picayune:
http://blog.nola.com/living/2007/10/new_orleans_students_give_rowl.html.

The opinions expressed in Starting Over: A Post-Katrina Education are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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