BCA Inventing the school system


In 2000, the Mayor’s Military Advisory Committee of New Orleans, working closely with military leaders, identified two issues that helped put a “poor” label on the life of military families living in the New Orleans area: the lack of affordable housing and poor public school systems.

This was something that had never been done before, so local leaders had to “invent the wheel” as they went. The support of the local and state business and political leaders was phenomenal and made Belle Chasse Academy a model of success for others to emulate.

Quality Education for Military Children

Belle Chasse Academy recognizes that throughout their lives, children of military service members face more stress than civilian children since they move to new homes and schools every few years and typically one of their parents is frequently deployed, often in harm’s way. The academy provides continuing student counseling on the unique challenges faced by the military-connected child.

Military Families share special qualities!

  • Dedication and Commitment – They work together to achieve individual, family and national goals.
  • Sacrifice – They make difficult choices and accept important responsibilities.
  • Adaptability – By adjusting to deployments and relocations, they learn from new experiences and develop strength as individuals and as a family.

Belle Chasse Academy’s dedication to its goal of serving military families is summed up in a statement on the Guidance Department’s Web site.

Belle Chasse Academy makes sure that parents can be deeply involved in school programs. Parents have open access to classrooms for observations, Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) meetings are held monthly, and parents have direct and substantial input into the annual discipline policy review/handbook, annual guidance plan and annual pupil progression plan.

As part of charter school accountability in Louisiana, Belle Chasse Academy administers the Iowa Test of Basic Skills twice during each school year. Additionally, students in fourth and eighth grades must pass the Louisiana Education Assessment Program (LEAP 21) tests in order to be promoted. Belle Chasse Academy cores have been very good, with passing rates exceeding that of local parishes.

In this very challenging budgetary environment, the Department of Defense will be looking closer than ever at the efficiencies of their installations through the 2017 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Belle Chasse Academy offers a unique and innovative solution to a major quality of life issue for military families.

Excerpted from Jane Fitzgerald Dye’s article “BELLE CHASSE ACADEMY: INVENTING A NEW SCHOOL SYSTEM TO STRENGTHEN A MILITARY BASE”, Published by the National Association of Defense Communities