NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Good news is almost old news for Lake Forest Charter Elementary School in New Orleans East, as it has consistently been ranked in the top five percent of academically performing Louisiana public schools for years and remains one of the top A-rated elementary schools in Orleans Parish.
But now it can boast being THE BEST Louisiana Elementary Charter School, according to U.S. News and World Report. Willow Charter and Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy ranked second and third in the ranking released today.
Founded by Mardele Early in 2001, the New Orleans East school has twice been named a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in 2013 and 2021, and CEO Early was named one of the nation’s top educators, winning the Terrell H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership in 2021.
“Bell awardees are truly extraordinary leaders,” the U.S Department of Education noted about Ms. Early. “Being chosen for this distinction puts school leaders in special company. Bell awardees work tirelessly, investing every ounce of their energy and expertise in their schools and students.”
Lake Forest’s original campus was destroyed after the levee failure following the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. CEO Early and a small band of teachers worked to reopen the K-8 school and Ms. Early led the effort to build a completely new campus on Lake Forest Boulevard, now serving more than 625 students. It has achieved its recognition as being the highest performing K-8 public charter in Louisiana with a student population that is classified as high risk, high poverty.
“Our children are not at risk, they are at promise,” CEO Early likes to say about Lake Forest. “Educators at Lake Forest genuinely believe in the promise our young people hold.”
The school is currently leading a fundraising drive to add a comprehensive Outdoor Recreation and Sports Complex to the 116 -acre campus which will strictly serve Lake Forest and area children. Eight out of 10 of Lake Forest’s students are African American; 14 percent are Asian American.