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School Choice & Charters Project

The Re-Education of New Orleans: About This Project

August 12, 2015 4 min read
School Choice & Charters Project

The Re-Education of New Orleans: About This Project

August 12, 2015 4 min read
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We are proud to announce that “The Re-Education of New Orleans,” won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award for non-deadline reporting by a non-daily publication.


No other American city has experienced as much upheaval to public schooling than New Orleans has in the decade since Hurricane Katrina. The tradition of neighborhood schools that most American children and families experience has vanished. An often perplexing universe of charter schools has taken their place. Education Week reporters and visual journalists went to New Orleans and Houston to interview parents, students, and educators and explore the evolution of the city’s unorthodox school system.

About the Team

The Re-Education of New Orleans was a five-month-long effort by a team of Education Week reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, web producers, and artists. To learn more about New Orleans’ drastically altered schooling landscape through the years, explore Education Week’s extensive coverage.

Lead Reporter

Arianna Prothero traveled to New Orleans three times this year, interviewing dozens of people and reporting on the varied experiences that parents, students, and educators are having in the city’s nearly all-charter school system. She wrote three of the stories, conducted interviews for video, and reported on numerous other elements featured in the of The Re-Education of New Orleans. Arianna focuses on charter schools, school vouchers and related policies, private schools, and homeschooling in her role as a staff writer for Education Week.


Denisa R. Superville interviewed families who fled New Orleans as a result of Hurricane Katrina and made the difficult decision to leave behind the only home many of them had ever known for her piece exploring the experience of students in the diaspora. Denisa focuses on district news, leadership, and district management in her role as a staff writer for Education Week.

Corey Mitchell interviewed teachers who lost their jobs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, exploring what happened to them and the Orleans Parish teaching corps in the decade since. Corey focuses on English-language learners, bilingual education, Native American education, and school district news and leadership in his role as a staff writer for Education Week.


Charlie Borst is the Director of Photography at Education Week, where he supervises all aspects of still photography for the newspaper and the website. Charlie worked with Associate Director of Photography Swikar Patel and other team members to identify and capture the best possible solutions in still and video that would visually document The Re-Education of New Orleans.

Swikar Patel is the Associate Photo Director at Education Week, where he serves an photographer, videographer, and editor. Swikar spent a week in New Orleans documenting in still images and video the people, places, and stories seen in this series. He shot most of the still photography seen in The Re-Education of New Orleans.


Deanna Del Ciello is the Multimedia Producer for Education Week, where she conceptualizes and develops visually compelling and interactive features for, as well as producing audio and video stories. She spent a week in New Orleans with Arianna Prothero gathering footage of schools, students, the city, and interviews. Her footage, along with colleague Swikar Patel’s, is featured throughout the project.

Swikar Patel contributed video interviews to The Re-Education of New Orleans.

Learning Matters contributed archival footage.


Laura Baker is the creative director for Education Week and Laura oversaw the design and presentation of The Re-Education of New Orleans in print and on the web, working closely with the whole team to bring this special package to life. She designed the photo stats gallery, and ensured visual consistency across the print, web, and social media presentations.

Gina Tomko is the art director for Education Week and was the lead designer for The Re-Education of New Orleans in print, working extensively with the photo team, editors, and reporters. She also collaborated with other designers and web producers on the branding of the print and web presentations, and helped art direct the spoken word video by New Orleans teacher John Lacarbiere.

Vanessa Solis is the associate art director for Education Week. Working with reporter Arianna Prothero, Vanessa helped capture the often dizzying array of changes to New Orleans’ schools through the creation of a lively visual presentation of one school’s multiple relocations, temporary homes, and management changes in the decade since Katrina.


Stacey Decker is the Online News Editor at, where she manages web production and advises on digital strategy. As a member of the team who worked on The Re-Education of New Orleans, Stacey contributed to the design, development, production, and promotion of the website. She assisted with the creation of interactive elements and helped refine the online presentation.

Deanna Del Ciello created and assisted with the production of data visualizations and interactives for the online presentation. Along with Stacey, she worked on the design, development and production of the website.

Project Editor

Lesli A. Maxwell is an assistant managing editor for Education Week and led the team that produced The Re-Education of New Orleans. Formerly a reporter for Education Week, Lesli spent the 2007-08 school year traveling to New Orleans to report and write a series of stories on the rebuilding and recovery of public schooling in the city two years after Katrina.

A home in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward remains mostly untouched 10 years after Hurricane Katrina.

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