school bus stock

Edward Hynes Charter School, a popular, top-scoring public elementary school in Lakeview, will open a new campus next year in partnership with the University of New Orleans, officials announced this week.

The school, to be named Hynes Charter School-UNO, will begin by enrolling approximately 75 kindergartners and then will add a grade each year, eventually growing to a full K-8 school with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Parents will be able to apply for Hynes Charter School-UNO when OneApp, the centralized enrollment system for the majority of the city's public schools, opens on Monday.

Hynes CEO Michelle Douglas said the new school will respond to an avalanche of applications Hynes receives. Hynes, which accepts pre-K through eighth-grade students, is the most in-demand public elementary school in New Orleans that does not use a selective admissions process.

While pre-K students must be deemed gifted to be accepted, the other grades don't have any academic entrance requirements. Last year, nearly 1,000 students applied for just 75 available kindergarten seats, Douglas said.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer a Hynes education to more families," she said. 

The new school will be located at the former Jean Gordon School "swing space," at 6101 Chatham Drive, until a new building is constructed on the UNO campus. Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, which was housed at Jean Gordon this year, will move back Uptown.

Officials said the new school will replicate Hynes' values and curriculum and will offer two programs: a traditional one and a French immersion program.

Hynes, which has received an A grade from the Louisiana Department of Education for more than five years, has repeatedly earned academic accolades from the state and the Orleans Parish School Board.

Last week, the Department of Education recognized Hynes as a “Top Gains” school, meaning that it demonstrated "exceptional student progress" by ensuring students meet or exceed their learning goals each year. 

Hynes was also named to the state’s “Excellence Honor Roll” for early childhood education. Its program, which serves Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4, was one of only two in Orleans Parish to get top scores from the state.

Orleans Parish School Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said the expansion helps fulfill his mission of replicating schools in the city that excel, while closing down those that are consistently failing.

“We are very thankful to see this partnership come to fruition as a way to expand our high-performing schools to other families in the city,” Lewis said. “Not only will this partnership help us achieve our goal of increasing the number of students attending 'A' and 'B' schools, but it will also give our students an incentive to strive in higher education."

UNO and Hynes already have a shared history, as the public university helped the elementary school reopen after its campus was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The school was closed for the remainder of that school year, but after forging a "permanent working relationship" with UNO it was granted a charter by the OPSB in March 2006.

UNO President John Nicklow said he was "excited to move forward" with the school, which had been under discussion for at least a year.

"The university believes strongly in its role as a community asset, and making high-quality, tuition-free education available to more families in our city is well aligned with our institutional values," Nicklow said in a statement.

Hynes will host tours at its Lakeview campus, 990 Harrison Ave., on Nov. 28, Dec. 11 and Jan. 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Registration will be on-site, with a photo ID required. 

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.