The New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School

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Founded in 1993, the New Orleans Center for Science & Math (Sci High) operated as a half day program within the Orleans Parish School System offering specialized instruction in science, math, and technology, and providing an open door to any interested New Orleans high school student. Students attended partner schools for their other graduation requirements.

The guiding principle: that students with a broad range of scholastic aptitudes can master science and mathematics concepts and information at a high level given the proper culture, faculty and school leader.

Sci High students proved us right, consistently doing as well or better than students in the selective Orleans Parish magnet schools, even though we were not selective in our admissions. They gave us evidence that even those students with weak academic preparation and a broad range of scholastic aptitudes can master science and mathematics concepts, given a culture of high expectations and a respect for work and one another.

After Hurricane Katrina

The post-Katrina public high school situation dictated a different model for Sci High. There were only four public high schools open after the flood. Previously, there had been 22, all of which had served as feeder schools for Sci High. The demand for a half-day program had been destroyed. Therefore, in October, 2005, a mere 60 days after the collapse of the New Orleans levee system, The Advocates for Science & Mathematics Education, Inc. applied for and was granted a Type III charter by the Orleans Parish School Board. Now the founding Advocates had the full responsibility for finances and operations of their successful model.

Responding to the new environment, the half-day program became a full-day program offering all subjects that are required for graduation. From the founding until Hurricane Katrina, Sci High was on the campus of Delgado College. When the building was destroyed, the high school moved to Allen School, a former elementary building, at the corner of Nashville and Loyola avenues.

Looking Forward

Since Katrina, Sci High has grown. Now serving over 470 students from all over the city, we offer a well-rounded education with an emphasis on rigorous STEM courses. The Sci High experience focuses on challenging curriculum in a supportive environment, with deliberate pathways designed to prepare students for college or career. In addition to core courses in science, math and the humanities, students gain hands-on experience and professional certifications through Career Technical Education courses such as Computer Science, Engineering, NCCER Carpentry and Makerspace.

In 2019, Sci High will move into a new facility built specifically to support our coursework and our mission. The new building location is one block from the new Lafitte Greenway and two blocks away from the new biomedical corridor, strengthening community partnerships and internship opportunities for our students. Our building will be fully ADA accessible and include six specialty labs for biomedical, health, engineering and skilled crafts courses. 

We're thrilled for the next chapter in Sci High history, and honored to educate the next generation of innovators.