Our Mission

The mission of FirstLine Schools is to create and inspire great open admissions public schools in New Orleans.

Our schools will prepare students for college and fulfilling careers by achieving the following primary objectives:

  • Ensuring college readiness so all of our students are on track to be academically prepared for success in college and in a college preparatory high school as demonstrated by achievement, aspiration, love of learning, and confidence
  • Providing a rich variety of experiences for our students to nurture character, health, and active citizenship
  • Developing the skillfulness of our staff
  • Building sustainable organizations that facilitate our long-term success

Our Vision

We believe New Orleans can be the first city in America where every child goes to a great school.

OUR HISTORY

1990: Summerbridge (Now called Breakthrough)

March 31, 1990

1990: Summerbridge (Now called Breakthrough)

The roots of FirstLine Schools trace to the founding of this unique summer program designed to help 5th and 6th grade students gain acceptance into top middle schools.

1992: James Lewis Extension

March 17, 1992

1992: James Lewis Extension

Working with a group of concerned parents, Jay Altman and the Summerbridge team founded this school, with 100 students and four teachers.  Dr. Tony Recasner became the school’s Director in 1993.

1998: New Orleans Charter Middle School (NOCMS)

March 17, 1998

1998: New Orleans Charter Middle School (NOCMS)

James Lewis Extension converted into a charter school and adopted a new name.  NOCMS became the top-performing open admissions middle school in New Orleans. In August 2005, flooding from Hurricane Katrina destroyed the campus and led to NOCMS’ closure.

2005: Samuel J. Green Charter School

March 17, 2005

2005: Samuel J. Green Charter School

Middle School Advocates (the former name of FirstLine Schools) was approached by the state and asked to take over the failing Green Middle School.  Green opened as a K-8 charter school the week before Katrina.  The school reopened in January 2006.

2007: Arthur Ashe Charter School

March 17, 2007

2007: Arthur Ashe Charter School

Using the NOCMS charter to open a new K-8 school (later renamed Arthur Ashe), this school opened with 42 students and has grown to its current enrollment of over 650 students. In 2012 Ashe moved to a brand new campus in the Oak Park neighborhood of Gentilly.

2010: Phillis Wheatley Community School (formerly John Dibert Community School) & Langston Hughes Academy

March 17, 2010

2010: Phillis Wheatley Community School (formerly John Dibert Community School) & Langston Hughes Academy

In 2010, we chartered John Dibert Community School (now Phillis Wheatley Community School) as a turnaround school, to improve academic performance.  Also that year FirstLine began managing Langston Hughes Academy, which is now a FirstLine school.

2011: Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School

March 17, 2011

2011: Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School

The doors opened on the newly chartered Clark Prep in August 2011. With some of the biggest academic gains in the city following its inaugural year, Clark Prep is restoring the school’s legacy.