Just prior to the onset of COVID19 in our community, the board and staff made a collective decision to dissolve NPNO and move the organization’s initiatives to partner organizations.
Although this means the end of an organization, it does not mean the end for the work we are doing. We are in the process of thoughtfully transitioning our major initiatives to expert partners we have come to know through the work. Our Special Education work will transition to the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools (NCSECS), and our Mental and Behavioral Health work will transition to Children’s Hospital New Orleans (CHNOLA).
We are grateful that New Pathways was successful in its initial charge, driving collaboration amongst key stakeholders and catalyzing real change. We were founded with a commitment to being “additive, and not duplicative” to our local youth-serving organizations who have come to be our valued partners. We successfully facilitated increased collaboration, communication, and partnerships in complicated environments which will allow for improved outcomes for our underserved youth.
NPNO’s funders and partners believed in our ability to examine the landscape in the community and look for places where expertise could be leveraged for impact. We are grateful to organizations such as Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Entergy, Baptist Community Ministries, Booth Bricker Fund, and more, for their support — as well as valued partners such as NOLA Public Schools, Center for Resilience, CHNOLA, and many New Orleans charter schools.
It is because of you, our supporters and partners, that we have been able to accomplish so much in our three focus areas of special education, mental and behavioral health, and juvenile justice.
As part of our intentional wind down, the NPNO team is on staff through June 2020 to ensure the work continues in earnest for the youth of New Orleans who deserve our very best.
What we’ve accomplished:
We founded the Special Education Consortium (SpEC) that developed, and is implementing, a city-wide vision for special education services. Our partners include NOLA Public Schools, the Special Education Leadership Fellowship (SELF), and the Center for Resilience. The Consortium and a working group of seven charter management organizations are in the process of designing a citywide portfolio of specialized programs for students with significant disabilities. NPNO initiated this work by completing a catalogue and gap analysis of existing specialized programs compared to unmet special education student needs across Orleans Parish. Our catalogue is the first of its kind; prior to our project, no one had mapped the existence of such programs in the city.
Mental & Behavioral Health:
We launched an initiative with Children’s Hospital New Orleans (our lead clinical partner), NOLA Public Schools, and four charter schools to deliver critically needed health services to students, particularly mental and behavioral health. To design the project, we led a diverse, inclusive steering committee of stakeholders who collectively educate, service, or reach over 25,000 New Orleans students to identify their greatest unmet health needs. This project will serve 2,500 students and families through the delivery of five services: universal mental and behavioral health screeners with follow-up connectivity to services, acute crisis care, discharge coordination from psychiatric care, access to telehealth/telepsychiatry, and family engagement for health. NPNO provided strategic planning and design support to ensure successful collaboration between our partners and various community based mental health providers, including Communities in Schools and the Children’s Bureau. This pilot program will result in data identifying additional gaps in services along the continuum of care, with which our partners are committed to further assessing to define next steps to connect youth with much-needed mental and behavioral health services.
We designed the launch of an Early Prevention Initiative, connecting youth to school-based services correlated with reduced justice involvement and/or recidivism. Our blueprint for an Early Prevention Initiative pairs schools with high rates of at-risk students with service providers to strengthen (or launch) these schools’ investments in four key domains — mental/behavioral health and trauma, special education, school discipline/culture, and access to after-school enrichment. Research shows that investing in school-based preventive services is a sound method to reach youth as early as possible. Our data, framework and design is in place for an organization to implement in our city.