Education Chat

New Orleans Public Schools: Recovery & Reform

Paul G. Pastorek and Paul G. Vallas discussed the state of the city's schools two years after Hurricane Katrina.

August 20, 2007

New Orleans Public Schools: Recovery & Reform

Paul G. Pastorek
, a New Orleans native and longtime lawyer who was appointed as Louisiana’s state schools chief in March; and Paul G. Vallas, a veteran urban superintendent hired by Mr. Pastorek in May to run the city’s Recovery School District.

For more information about the city’s schools, check out Education Week‘s special series New Orleans Public Schools: Recovery & Reform.

Lesli Maxwell (Moderator):

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s chat about the ongoing recovery of public education in New Orleans two years after Hurricane Katrina struck. We are happy to have Paul Pastorek, Louisiana’s state superintendent, and Paul Vallas, the superintendent of the Recovery School District in New Orleans, with us to answer your questions. There are lots of good questions already, so let’s start our discussion.

Lesli Maxwell (Moderator):

Hello again everyone. Please standby for Mr. Pastorek and Mr. Vallas, who will begin responding to your questions shortly. We will be posting their answers over the next hour.

Question from Tracie L. Washington, Esq., President & CEO, Louisiana Justice Institute:

Paul and Paul, Good evening: Over the past several weeks I have heard each of you refer to the 2007 LEAP and I-LEAP scores as the new baseline. Education advocates such as myself, and the public at-large find this statement frustrating because it is the 2005 school performance scores for Orleans Parish that caused the Louisiana legislature to take over our schools. Wouldn’t you agree that in order to accurately judge whether our schools performed better before or after the state take-over we must use the 2005 school performance scores as the baseline?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Thanks for the question. The 2005 scores are pre-Katrina scores that apply to the pre-Katrina schools and are not related to the same named schools post-Katrina. The population of the schools are quite different. The State decided to use 2006 as a baseline so we match student populations in 2006 with the same populations in subsequent years.

Question from Dr. Michelle B. Ivy, NBCT, Teacher, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, Florida:

As a long-time lover of New Orleans, my continuing concern is about the dual school system that exists there. What are you planning to do to attract the children who go to the parochial schools to come back to the public school system? The support of their parents and that community seems to me to be essential to the success of public education in New Orleans. Can you expect to succeed without them?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Paul Vallas here. Thanks for question. Number one, we’re revamping the curriculum to make sure all the children of the district are being taught to grade level standards. Number two, we are putting accelerated courses, honors and advanced placement courses and gifted programs into our schools. Number three, we are reducing class size to reduce the burden on our teachers. Number four, we are equipping our teaching with superior curriculum and instructional models and providing them with year-round professional development in order to improve instruction. Number five, we are expanding school choices through the creation of charter schools and by putting magnet schools in neighborhood schools so that children who do not have financial means are provided with quality choices. All these initiatives will make our schools much more attractive to families who have the financial means to send their children elsewhere.

Question from James McIntyre, Teacher, Pine Bush Central Schools:

Why were the teachers, who are the core of any effort to reestablish an education base, treated so unfairly after Katrina?

Paul G. Pastorek:

The teachers were employees of the New Orleans Public School system. The schools did not open up until January of 2006, and then it was only a few schools. The School system (previously 126 schools) did not have the budget to retain the teachers and had to terminate them. There are many, including me, who wish that they did not have to be terminated, but the Katrina caused many to lose their jobs and businesses. We have reached out to those veteran teachers and have asked that they return. We also got special legislation that made it more favorable for them to do so. Perhaps, not enough, but an effort nonetheless.

Question from Tammy Griffin, Special Ed. Teacher, Broken Arrow Schools:

My question is simple- Recently, I heard on the radio thst the cost of living in New Orleans has tripled- Question: How will the teacher be able to afford to live in your district and help to rebuild your school?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Tammy, Thanks for the question. The cost of living has certainly not tripled. I live in New Orleans, I know. It is more expensive in certain areas, housing and construction to be sure. But, the increase is not nearly double, much less triple. I am not an economist, but I think immediately after Katrina the costs of those increase by maybe 50-75% IN SOME CASES, but that pressure has significantly diminished and the costs of housing are generally only a little higher than pre-Katrina.

Question from Rose Snyder, Professional Development:

Since you are in a posiiton that few districts have experienced, what are you doing differently that will rebuild a system that will produce better student achievement levels than before?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Rose, We are taking advantage of a fairly clean sheet of paper and putting in ideas that many have wanted to do in a systemic way, but haven’t been able to do. We are relying on charter schools, but we are building capacity in the non-charter schools. We are creating a central office that is more focused on providing resources to the schools, granting flexibility and holding them accountable, without the strictures that existed before. We are modernizing classrooms and buildings (though in its nascent stages). We are working on capacity building so our teachers and administrators can collectively succeed. It is an exciting effort.

Question from Dr. Jacqueline Brown, Adjunct Professor, Phoenix University:

Why has the scope of the personnel search to Mr. Vallas’ top administration been limited to locals with no experience in their areas of employment for example: Jan Jarrell, Deputy Superintendent of Accountability, former math coordinator in Jefferson Parish; Gary Robicheaux, Chief Academic Officer of Pre-K - eighth grade, KIPP principal without certification as a principal; Debbie Schum, Chief Academic Officer for High Schools, without certification as a principal. Finally, I would also like to know the rationale for excluding African American women from the highest ranking decision makers in his cabinet. There are qualified African American women whose voice should be heard about decisions affecting our children. Thank you for responding.

Paul G. Vallas:

First of all, I’m a little confused by the question. All the people we have hired are proven educators with outstanding reputations. Debbie Schum is considered by many to be Louisiana’s best high school principal. She has principal’s certification. Gary Robichaux is considered within the school reform community to be amont the best, if not their best administrator. Given my affection for the KIPP model, I thought it most appropriate to select a top KIPP person to be my K-8 administrator. Jan Jarrell is recognized as a distinguished educator in Louisiana and is one of the founding educators in the RSD. She was the district’s point person on assessment upon my arrival, so I considered her perfect for the job. With regard to the suggestion that African American women are excluded from the highest ranking decision makers in the cabinet, I think the questioner is misinformed. My director of curriculum and instruction, Susan Moore, my director of professional development and my director of human resources are all African American women. It’s also important to note that my chief of staff and my director of school management are African American men. I would also like to point out that I have a history of promoting African Americans, especially African American women to positions of prominence. All of my chief of staffs before New Orleans were African American women, all of my chief academic officers, with the exception of Greg Thorton (an African American man who was my last CAO in Philadelphia) were African American women. In addition, the most prominent members of my transition team have been African American men and women, including Dr. Cozette Buckney, Dr. Cassandra Jones and Dr. Creg Williams and Dr. Ed Williams. Dr. Buckney will remain on to be my director of labor relations.

Question from Todd Alan Price, Assistant Professor, National-Louis University:

My question is this: what is the rationale behind all of the charter schools and the Recovery School District, and how does this relate to strengthening the public schools? I understand the problems faced by the public school district even prior to Katrina, but wonder how expanding charter schools is expected to serve the greater good, meaning the most amount of students...or is the expectation and tradeoff that putting together a handful of charters will save some students, while other public schools will be left to their own devices and government aid?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Charter schools are public schools. Perforce they cannot detract from public schools. If they are successful, they add. If they are not, then we revoke their charter. In New Orleans, pre-Katrina, the regular public schools were so bad that even though we wanted to offer choice to students who were in chronically low performing schools, there were nearly no schools that were better performing. With public charter schools, the academic achievement has been higher in almost all cases and we are seeing the public schools (charter) can be successful and serve our children. However, charter schools are not the sole method of doing so and we will rely on “regular” or independent public schools to also educate our children.

Question from Betty Kirby, Assistant Professor, Central Michigan University:

What kind of training have faculty and staff had related to dealing with students and families that have been traumatized? What additional support or resources are still needed?

Paul G. Vallas:

We are training our teachers, counselors and support staff to help our children deal with the trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, we are assigning two social workers to every school, we’re reducing the ratio of counselors to students and we’re contracting out with an array of community, faith-based and social service organizations, including Catholic Charities and Communities in Schools (among many others) to bring more outside resources to the table. We’ve also established a university internship program which allows us to recruit the best and brightest university students and graduate students who are majoring in counseling, social work, child psychology and all the critical needs areas, and we are providing them with financial incentives to do their internships in our district.

Question from Don Whittinghill, consultant, LSBA:

New Orleans is rapidly becoming the poster child for Charter school movements in the U.s. While it is recognized that significant change is necessary, there is troubling aspect to charters. They syphon students, most often the best performing students, from regular public schools. The dollars that accompany those students are also drained from regular schools. What is there in the charter school public oversight? What is to insure that they serve true needs of the community--including special need students?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Don, See my answer to a related questioner. However, I would add that the State has a role in assuring that charter schools serve special need students and we will see to it that that happens. “Draining” is a zero sum concept. We need to think more holistically. Paul

Question from Dr. Brenda J. Brooks-Coleman, Asst. Principal, Edison Middle School, Port Arthur, TX:

Greetings, I was in New Orleans in July for the “High Schools That Work” conference. I had the opportunity to tour some the areas that are under some recovery effort I pray. My question: What is the expect time of full recovery? There are many kids in Texas schools who are not doing well. I have worked individually with my families who are still unable to go home. What is it that I can do to help this kid? Particularly, given the fact that we do not have adequate educational records for them. In closing, good luck and God bless!

Paul G. Pastorek:

Full recovery is a very hard concept to fathom. I am not really sure what it looks like or when it will occur. It is a journey that begins with a step. We are only just beginning the journey, I assure you.

Question from Daryl Diamond, Assistant Director, Enterprise Change Implementation - Broward County Public Schools:

Has the redevelopment included creating wireless access for schools so that administrations can harnass the capabilities of web-based instructional technologies such as online courses and videoconferencing to successfully replace and augument the current New Orleans instructional staff with national and international highly qualified teachers? There is an entire world of educators who would be willing and able to support the redesign of the New Orleans educational system by participating virtually to create anywhere, anytime teaching and learning environments. Broward County Public Schools in South Florida is adequately poised to assist in such an endeavor.

Paul G. Vallas:

I want to thank Darryl for his offer to assist us, and I will be contacting him. We are moving to Web-based instructional models, online instruction and video conferencing capability. In fact, we will be providing supplemental professional development online and teachers will be able to secure additional online support from teacher mentors. We are also focusing a lot of attention on classroom modernization. This includes smart boards and Promethean boards in all 4th through 12th grade classrooms, a ratio of one laptop and desktop for every 2 and a half students and laptop computers in the hands of every high school student. Those are considered to be minimum requirements as part of our classroom modernization efforts. Also over the next two years we will be providing students with an opportunity to take course online that are not offered in their individual schools. In addition, we’re partnering with a number of prominent national companies with expertise in cyberschools and online and Web-based course offerings to assist us.

Question from Adam Silver, Teacher, Stamford Public Schools:

Schools in New Orleans before Katrina were dysfunctional at best. What do you plan to do to improve conditions so that every child can get the tools he/she needs to succeed and rise from poverty, and what will you do to retain staff who continually flee due to low morale and poor management?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Vallas can give a better answer, but he has created a new position in the “central office” called the school climate manager. This individual’s job is to assure that the teachers and administrators are getting the resources they need to do the job. Also, the person is responsible for assuring proper maintenance and addressing other facilities issues. Finally, the person is to address student behavior issues on a systemic basis.

Question from Jason Fennell, Acct Manager, EdOptions:

How many teachers still need to be hired?What alternatives are you considering if you cannot hire the total needed?

Paul G. Vallas:

We have exceeded our goals and we are going to be staffing at 120 percent to ensure that we can keep our class sizes reduced to no more than 20-1 in grades K-8 and no more than 25-1. This ratio does not include special education teachers and other support teachers who do not have specific classroom assignements. Thus, these reduced class sizes will be real.

Question from Curtis Linton, Consultant, School Improvement Network:

Beyond Mr. Vallas, how has power shifted in school governance decisions away from the people in New Orleans who have traditionally been in power--and are ultimately responsible for the extreme inequity that was created? If the same people are now leading who lead before Katrina, where is hope to be found in creating a new school system?

Paul G. Pastorek:

The governance of the New Orleans schools pre-Katrina was overseen by a traditionally elected school board. That board only oversees the highest achieving schools (5) and the remainder are “governed” by the state board of education. The state board has allowed me to appoint Vallas and he reports to me. We are developing plans now to engage the community in a formal way, but in the meantime Vallas and I meet nearly daily with community groups and neighborhood organizations to discuss Paul’s plans for the schools. The state board is driving decisions only at the policy level. For example, they have expressed their desire to have a diverse management team, but they do not come near any discussions on job appointments or position appointments.

Question from Jack Walden, Board member, Oracle elementary:

Do you think the New Orleans Public School System will remain public, or will it become privatized?

Paul G. Pastorek:

It will remain public, but there will be more choice among public schools. Vouchers have been advanced, but that has gained no traction.

Question from Lee R. McMurrin,Retired Supt., Milwaukee Public Schools:

Now is the opportunity to completely remake the New Orleans Public Schools. Why don’t you develop an entirely new system of public schools designed after the specialy schools developed in the Milwaukee Public Schools in the late 1970’s?These schools are thriving and thought to be the best schools in America: Rufus King IB High School,Riverside University High School, and the Language Immersion Schools,for examples.You should explore the best examples of outstanding schools that have clear and understandable themes that give parents and students excellent choices. Shouldn’t you build permanent schools and not have anything second rate such as portables?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Mr. McMurrin, This is exactly what Mr. Vallas is planning to do. This concept is going to be developed as we get going further in the school year. For now, Paul, who has officially been on board for only a month and a half, has been focused on opening schools, but he does so with that concept in the back of his mind. I support that concept wholeheartedly. Paul

Question from Shelia, teacher, RSD Elementary School:

Last year I taught at an RSD elementary school. We were severley overcrowded. I was excited to learn that schools would be staffed at ratios of 20-1 for elementary and 25-1 for high schools. Mr. Vallas each time I have heard you speak you talk about how committed you are to this and that you would rather have schools overstaffed and prepared for another influx of students. However, I was recently informed that due to staffing I would not be able to return to my old school. I am a part of my schools leadership team and as we planned for the new year we were excited and counted on keeping all of our staff in place (teaching and administrative) so that we could provide some consistentcy for our students and start the year off on the right track. What is going on with the staffing changes? I am also concerned that the hours for the school day have changed 3 times. Is the new schedule the correct one?

Paul G. Vallas:

Sheila, I will try to find out why you weren’t able to return to your school. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. I agree with you 100 percent that consistency is very important. We hope that this year will be more stable, but there will be a number of changes going, hopefully for the better. Changes in the final schedule were the result of the need to resolve some transportation issues. The schedule that is posted on is the final schedule.

Question from Rev. Mary Harrington, President, Gulf Coast Vounteers for the Long Haul:

I served as a tutor for children from the Sarah T. Reed Elementary School in May who had failed the LEAP test for 4th graders and needed to pass this summer to enter 5th grade in the fall. They have been through so much and it was clear that they have many serious and complex needs. What services are offered to children in this situation? How can qualified volunteers help?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Pastor, I appreciate the offer and you can speak to Vincent Nzinga at 504-373-6200. He can help you hook up with us. As for the help, these children need a great deal and the community (including the school systems) are not really capable at this point to give them what they need. In fact, we estimate that as many as 500-1000 children are not living with their parents or relatives in New Orleans (effectively they are homeless). Additionally, there are many still suffering from trauma from Katrina, which is reinforced when hurricanes, like Dean, pop up. I spoke to a Congressional Delegation last week (Speaker Pelosi et al) and asked that they help by providing financial incentives to attract mental health care professionals to New Orleans. Our health care system is still reeling. I hope we can get help in this area.

Question from Andrea Trasher, principal, Memorial School, Medfield, MA:

I cannot fathom the effort and energy that you are putting in to ready your schools. What assistance can be provided to your system by other schools such as mine in Massachusetts? Is there a contact within your organization who would coordinate volunteers, donations, etc?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Thanks so much for thinking that way. Please call Vincent Nzinga at 504-373-6200 re donations and volunteers. Right now, we are about ready to open schools so it is difficult for you to do much at this moment, but after schools start (9/4), we can process other kinds of help.

Question from Darlynn Bosley, Executive Director of Elementary Schools:

1. What is the role of the local Board of Education? 2. How are your prioritizing District needs? 3. Has Mr. Roberti and the Alvarez team been helpful to the recovery of the New Orleans school district? 4. How is Mr. Vallas style of leadership different from other Superintendents?

Paul G. Pastorek:

1. What is the role of the local Board of Education? They still govern 5 schools and have chartered 12 schools. Their role is quite diminished, but we work cooperatively with them. 2. How are your prioritizing District needs? I rely on Mr. Vallas to do so as I must focus on the state. The main needs are facilities (post-Katrina this is quite difficult). Staff and human capital needs are great. These are the highest priorities. 3. Has Mr. Roberti and the Alvarez team been helpful to the recovery of the New Orleans school district? Mr. Roberti and Alvarez did a very good job of cleaning up the finances of the Orleans Parish School Board, which were a mess. 4. How is Mr. Vallas style of leadership different from other Superintendents? Quite obviously, he knows what he is doing. He has a very clear picture of what he is about and where he is headed, but he is very open to ideas. He has found a few valuable ideas in Louisiana and even in New Orleans and has appended them to his repertoire. He is focused and clear minded without being arrogant. He is very engaged with the community and relishes interaction. He is looking for new ideas and change. There is no status quo around him.

Question from Gail Greenbaum, Executive Director, Transforming Education in America phone: 646 784-6435,

Reading about both of you in the papers has made me extremely hopeful that you will be able to bring about the changes in education New Orleans needs. I would like to do everything I can to support your vision. I have a tremendous amount of experience teaching both in very high and low performing schools in New York City. Developing cutting edge curricula which infuse character development directly into all subject classes is my forte. I have been observing classes in New Orleans over the past year and feel my training program could be of huge benefit here as well. My question is: How can someone like me, who is also visionary, have the opportunity to speak with both of you? What do I need to do to get in touch with you? Gail Greenbaum, Executive Director, Transforming Education in America, Phone 646 784-6435,

Paul G. Pastorek:

Email me. My assistant can hook us up. A little busy now, so be persistent.

Question from D. Bagayoko, Professor of Physics and of Science and Mathematics Education , SUBR:

What are the explanations for the poor performance of the Recovery Schools as compared to Schools under the control of the Orlearns School District - as per the contents of the Augusdt 15 Issue Education Week?

Paul G. Vallas:

It’s not possible to compare the two districts. The Recovery School District was created to run underperforming schools. The Orleans Parish School Board was left with magnet schools and a few other performing schools. To compound the situation, after the hurricane, the Recovery School District became the last option for students who were not admitted to charters or the magnet schools, and who enrolled in schools late during the course of the year. As a result, there was a constant influx of new students, some of whom hadn’t been in school since before storm. Indeed, several schools opened months and in some cases weeks before testing.

Question from Leigh Dingerson, Center for Community Change, Washington DC:

Assuming that New Orleans continues to have a multi-layered network of charter schools, traditional public schools and state-run public schools for the immediate future, how will you ensure that these different types of systems will provide equal access to high quality education for ALL students? How will resources be leveled across schools?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Great question. In my role as state superintendent, I must assure equal access. I have spent quite a bit of time listening to the different groups and I think we have done a good job of getting them in the room and hashing out the different views. I then must make decisions that are fair to all. I try to be as transparent as I can and that seems to be working.

Question from Michael Schwam-Baird, Research Analyst, & Nash Molpus, Assistant Director, Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, Tulane University:

What are your long term objectives for school facilities and what sort of planning and implementation process do you envision?

Paul G. Pastorek:

We are beginning a master plan for the rebuilding and repositioning of the schools. We are also looking at schools which are the center of the community, not just serving as the education building. With the level of devastation, if we do this right, we can make that vision happen. The trick will be the resources to rebuild. Right now, there just isn’t enough for all that we hope for.

Question from Dorothy Strong, President of the Education Support Group:

I am pleased that concentrated efforts are being made to do something about the education of ALL students in New Orleans. As always, I am devoting my energies toward the mathematics education of ALL students, especially those who have been left out of the equation. Having worked with you in Chicago,I know your commitment and would love to help in whatever way I can. I also hope that many others will join you in this important battle. Specifically, what help do you need? I can be reached at

Paul G. Vallas:

Dorothy, it’s great to hear from you. As you know, I place as much importance on mathematics as I do on language arts. Not only have we standardized the language arts and mathematics curriculum, but instructional guides require two hours of language arts a day, 90 minutes of math a day, but children can receive more than 200 hours of instruction through our extended year program. I appreciate the offer to help and I’ll have Phil Hansen, another prominent Chicagoan who is assisting me on my tradition team, contact you.

Question from Christy Kane, ConocoPhillips/Adams and Reese Fellow, Louisiana Appleseed:

One initial disclosure: Paul Pastorek and I are former law partners, and he and I have communicated on this topic as a function of our new posts. Paul Pastorek - As you know, the non-profit Louisiana Appleseed has a team of volunteer lawyers who are currently analyzing the teacher recruitment and retention issue as it relates to our New Orleans schools. What is the bigger challenge at this point in New Orleans schools, recruitment or retention? What about in our rural areas of Louisiana (same question)? Superintendent Vallas - Same question, as it relates to New Orleans. Thanks -- Christy Kane

Paul G. Pastorek:

Christy, Recruitment is the biggest challenge. But, Vallas has done a very good job. Paul

Question from Cynthia Van Dam:

Are the air conditioners fixed? Please say yes! I have read that you expect students to spend longer hours in the classroom. Can you be more specific about exactly which students and what hours?

Paul G. Vallas:

They better be!

Question from Joe Daschbach, Doctoral student, Teachers College:

Good evening. As the RSD schools begin to improve, as we all hope they will, what plans are being made to return schools, both RSD operated and RSD charters, to local control? RSD law seems clear that once a school is no longer “academically unacceptable”, that school is to be returned to the body from which it was taken. Does this mean a return to the Orleans Parish School Board?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Our mission is to make these schools ones that we can be proud of and return them to local control as soon as possible.

Question from Jane Golfin, teacher:

Are most administrators at Charter Schools professional educators, or are they managers of a business?

Paul G. Vallas:

Yes, most of the administrators at Charter Schools are professional educators, not business managers.

Question from Christian Roselund, Communications Director, United Teachers of New Orleans:

After Katrina, there were a lot of promises made about creating a new school system that ensured that all New Orleans children would receive a high-quality education. How can these promises be fulfilled as long as some schools are permitted to use selective admission policies and enrollment caps to limit student access, while other schools must accept all students?

Paul G. Pastorek:

All of the State run schools are open admission schools.

Question from Frank Hendrick, Principal, FWISD:

Hello gentlemen. I am a Louisiana native and was hired to be an administrator in the Recovery District last year but could not accept the position due to the uncertainty of which schools would be open, housing costs, and the costs of benefits. My heart and thoughts are still with you. What is being done to secure housing and other incidentals for employees?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Housing situation is much improved. We have more human capacity to assist this year than last.

Question from kimberly Pohl, student, University of Phoenix, online:

1. Has anyone considered incorporating clean up and rebuilding work into the curriculum? Students could feel empowered at having a hand in this kind of work. 2. This seems like an awesome opportunity to rethink the priorities of education with seas of change rolling through. How can students’ experiences with loss and trauma be acknowledged while also helping them to feel they can regain a sense of control in their lives? There are things and events more important than testing and scores.

Paul G. Vallas:

We’re creating a student conservation corps that will employ a large number of our students. They’ll help with school cleanup and beautification, landscaping, bathroom and cafeteria maintenance and the construction of KaBOOM playlots.

Question from Leigh Dingerson, Center for Community Change, Washington DC:

Following up on your response to Rose Snyder: experience suggests that it’s a mistake to “rely on charter schools.” In other large charter systems (DC, Ohio), the charters have consistently performed less well than the traditional public schools, with their more experienced teachers and better, centralized support systems. How will you make sure New Orleans’ charter “experiment” works better than these others?

Paul G. Pastorek:

Charter schools that don’t perform won’t stay in business.

Lesli Maxwell (Moderator):

For the many of you who posted offers of help and textbook donations for public schools in New Orleans, there are two people you can contact. In the state department of education, you can call Beth Scioneaux at 225-342-4989 or email her at In the Recovery School District, you can contact Troy Peloquin, the volunteer and donation coordinator at

Lesli Maxwell (Moderator):

A very special thanks to our guests for joining us for this enlightening hour of conversation and to all of our readers who posed thoughtful and substantive questions. This concludes our chat today. A transcript of this discussion will be posted shortly at

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