Metairie Park Country Day School

The New Orleans Scholars Program at Metairie Park Country Day School

Metairie Park Country Day School is honored to be the recipient of a $250,000 Educational Leadership matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation to fund the creation of the New Orleans Scholars program.This program is a creative response to the question, “How do we educate a new generation of citizens who can effect a paradigm shift for the future of our city?”

New Orleans has been described as a geographically impossible but necessary city.Today New Orleans is essential to the nation’s supply of oil, natural gas, and sea food.Denizens of the city define its existence in cultural terms, and references to gumbo and Mardi Gras have become hackneyed; our young future citizens need to understand that New Orleans has more to offer than edgy television shows and cuisine.And the problems that we think of as global – ethnic strife, climate change and economic uncertainty – are in fact local.By actively confronting these problems, New Orleans could become the quintessential American city rather than the eccentric other, an image that New Orleans has cultivated arguably to its detriment.

Through the creation of the New Orleans Scholars Program at Metairie Park Country Day School, our students will take advantage of the educational and cultural resources of our community and engage four topics – economic development, the environment, politics, and culture.Incoming juniors will apply to participate in the two-year program, joined by students from a high-achieving New Orleans charter school, Benjamin Franklin High School.Our independent school students will be challenged to see the public purpose of their independent education, thus strengthening our service learning and senior externship programs.

As New Orleans Scholars, the students will be required to take four half-courses over four semesters, one in each topic.Country Day will partner with local organizations including The Idea Village, The Historic New Orleans Collection, the University of New Orleans Disaster Resiliency Program, and the Loyola University Institute of Politics to utilize local expertise in each area of study.Students will develop joint projects each semester, applying their knowledge to the issues at hand.New Orleans Scholars will complete the program with a better understanding of the problems that have historically faced our community. Having immersed themselves in active community problem-solving, they will be equipped to re-engage with these very issues as adults, wherever they may live.

We are most grateful to the Edward E. Ford Foundation for their support of a program which will engage students with a substantive curriculum, shed light on the challenges of our time, and enable our School to participate in building a vibrant and viable future for our city.