Why We Do It

In April 2009, McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms, published an in-depth report entitled The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools. In this report, McKinsey defines four specific achievement gaps: 1) between the United States and other nations; (2) between African-American and Latino students and white students; (3) between students of different income levels; and (4) between similar students schooled in different systems or regions.

ELEVATE New Orleans focuses primarily on the second and third types of achievement gap described in the McKinsey report — those based upon race and income level. In 2009, of the 38,051 students enrolled in New Orleans public schools, over 90% were African-American and 82% received free/reduced-price lunch (compared to Louisiana: 66%; United States: 41%).

One specific example of the achievement gap can be found in the differences in 2009 ACT scores between New Orleans students and the state and national averages:

National Average: 21.1
Louisiana Average: 20.1
New Orleans Recovery School District Average (oversees majority of NOLA schools): 15.0

It is our aim to ensure these gaps are narrowed and ultimately eliminated.

‡From 3:00-6:00pm are the hours when children are most likely to commit crimes, be victims of crimes, be in an automobile accident, smoke, drink alcohol, and use drugs

Kids left unsupervised 3 or more days per week are twice as likely to hang out with gang members, three times more likely to be engaged in criminal behavior, and more than three times as likely to use illegal drugs

Youth who frequently attended after school programs, like sports, had less substance abuse, less misconduct, more positive work habits, were more persistent in completing tasks, performed better academically, had better social skills in relating to their peers, and were less aggressive than their peers who did not attend after school programs.

If an adolescent consistently participates in activities, such as sports, from 8th grade through 12th grade, he or she will be nearly twice as likely to vote, over 3 times as likely to volunteer and over 4 times as likely to attend college as someone who never participated.
after school programs

Findings have shown reduced crime rates in areas with sport-based youth development initiatives

10-16 year olds who have a relationship with a mentor are 46% less likely to start using drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking alcohol.

Two-thirds of girls fail to get the minimal amount of physical activity required to maximize health benefits. Research clearly indicates that girls’ physical activity levels decline as they mature from childhood through adolescence, and declines are more severe for girls of color and those of low income.