Saving Sarah Towles Reed High School

Sarah Reed High School was established in 1988 in New Orleans East, and has been operated by the Recovery School District since 2006. The Recovery School District is administered by the Louisiana Department of Education, and transforms under-funded schools into a positive environment for children to learn. The school is named after Sara Towles Reed (March 8, 1882-May 8, 1978). She was a leading member of the teachers’ union during a time when women did not have equal rights. She fought for equal pay for both African American and white women (“New State Superintendent of Education Named.” Last modified 01 11, 2012. Accessed April 9, 2014. New State Superintendent of Education named).

The school is located at 13127 Lemans Street. The school mission is to “nurture and develop skillful, resilient, socially-conscious, and optimistic strategists who will contribute to humanity in the field of their choice.” The school teaches all of the basic core subjects for 9-12th graders, and has everyday extracurricular activities including soccer, student government, and ROTC activities. The students wear a uniform everyday; the uniform is a khaki or navy blue pant with a yellow polo shirt with the school logo on the right of the shirt. As of April 2014, due to funding issues, like being unable to pay the teachers’ salary and afford books for the children to use, the school is being forced to close (“Sarah T. Reed High School.” Accessed April 9, 2014.

Student Perspective

Student Myron Miller, pictured, is one of the many students who are trying to save the school. Photo by Stephanie Rosenfeld.

Myron Miller, a recent graduate from Sarah Reed, says how he is trying to save the school he attended and loved. He was involved in ROTC, Robotics club, marching band, and his favorite subject was African American studies. He was also vice president of student government senior year. Myron now studies business administration in college (Myron Miller, Interview by Stephanie Rosenfeld and Katherine Levy, New Orleans, LA, March 18, 2014).

Reed Renaissance

Although Myron expressed his love for Sarah Reed, he believes that the board of education views it as a failing school and is trying to close it. Myron said, “People say I could be the last graduating class of Sarah Reed High School.” Myron and other students started a campaign called The Reed Renaissance Initiative, where students have come together and try to petition for Sarah Reed to stay open. The students feel that it is unfair to close the school, taking into consideration the effect it has on the community. The Reed Renaissance group still has hope to open Sarah Reed again, and they are still discussing ways to save the failing school. For example, Myron suggests giving books out to students instead of locking them in the building overnight, which restricts many of the students from being able to accomplish their homework. Myron said he could not do his homework or study because his books were locked up every night. Myron said, “It’s crazy to not be able to take the books home, we were usually given a homework packet because the teachers did not want us to ruin the books” (Myron Miller, Interview by Stephanie Rosenfeld and Katherine Levy, New Orleans, LA, March 18, 2014). Reed Renaissance meets every Monday and hopes to figure out strategies and marketing techniques to keep the school open. Chris Sang, one of the adult supervisors of Reed Renaissance, discusses how their work will hopefully save the school as well as other failing schools in the city. “The community is hoping to reopen the school in 2015, building on a vision that the community is developing this year” (Chris Sang, Interview by Stephanie Rosenfeld and Katherine Levy, New Orleans, LA. April 7, 2014).


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