Just like at other schools around the metro area, teachers and staff at Alice M. Harte Charter School will spend the summer planning for the next school year. But those at Harte might have a little extra spring in their steps.

The Algiers school recently was recognized for the second year in a row by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching and received a $10,000 cash prize.

Harte was one of five schools across the country named finalists for the 2019 NIET Founder's Award. The top winner, Wildflower School in Arizona, received a $50,000 grand prize.

The money will help purchase academic award jackets for students, said Harte’s head of school, Robert Hill. 

Created by NIET chairman and founder Lowell Milken, the Founder's Award is presented annually for exceptional implementation of NIET's principles to build educator excellence and give all students opportunities for success.

Milken credited the five finalists with “establishing a vision of success, nurturing leadership and creating collaborative school cultures that help ensure high-quality educational opportunities for all.”

To that end, Hill said, he, his teachers and staff are “very excited and will spend 90 percent of their summer going over student data to prepare for the next school year.”  

Each of the five schools is incredibly deserving of recognition," said NIET CEO Candice McQueen. “In their own way, their teachers and leaders have shown that by having a mindset of continuous growth for both educators and students, everyone can improve — no matter where they started.”

Even though his school will be starting the next academic year as a winner already, Hill is aiming even higher. He wants the grand prize next year. 

Opa!

It's time for the 46th annual New Orleans Greek Festival, taking place from Thursday, May 23, to Sunday, May 26, on the grounds of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1200 Robert E. Lee on Bayou St. John.

Organizers said the Thursday opening day was a big hit last year and so they're repeating it. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., admission is $5, at the gate only. A limited menu will be sold in “go boxes” and includes traditional Greek dinners and pastries. Wine, beer and other drinks will be served, and the Greek grocery will be open for sales of imported cheeses, Kalamata olives and other items.

Weekend hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8, and free for children under 12. Wear a tasteful toga on Sunday and enter free.

For information, including festival foods, events and shuttle service from Friday through Sunday, visit greekfestnola.com.

Volunteer with SPCA

If you are interested in volunteering and caring for animals in need of homes, give the Louisiana SPCA a call. Preregistration is required to attend a volunteer orientation class from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at the shelter, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. in Algiers.

For information, visit la-spca.org/volunteer.


Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensencolumn@gmail.com.