Firstline Schools

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FirstLine is deeply rooted in the city of New Orleans, having founded the first charter school in the city 25 years ago.

Our mission is to create and inspire great open-admissions public schools in New Orleans.

We believe our schools will prepare students for college, fulfilling careers, and a healthy life by nurturing students in MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT.

We believe PEOPLE are the most important element in educating children and youth, and particularly TEACHERS, who create authentic relationships with students and their families.

That is why we INVEST in our faculty and staff, by compensating them fairly, developing them professionally, and offering outstanding benefits.

At FirstLine we believe in:

  • FirstLine believes in rewarding dedicated employees who live our values, working to nurture students in Mind, Body, and Spirit year after year. We increase compensation each year based on tenure and we offer performance bonuses for teachers reaching established goals. We have in the region.
  • FirstLine offers a robust array of health insurance options, pre-tax HSA and FSA accounts, a free Employee Assistance Program, telemedicine, low-cost, dental and vision coverage, and employer paid life and disability insurance. Participation in our BRAVO wellness program results in a significant reduction in medical premiums.
  • FirstLine pays full tuition for any staff member enrolled in REACH University toward obtaining a college degree.
  • FirstLine has one of the , with employer contributions starting at 3% and growing based on years of service up to 12% of salaries at the 10-year employment milestone.
  • FirstLine offers twelve weeks of paid parental leave for birthing parents and six weeks of paid leave for non-birthing or adoptive parents.

“Our employees are our greatest asset and we work hard to celebrate their successes and compensate them for their work.”

– Sabrina Pence, CEO

  • FirstLine recruits and retains a diverse group of teachers who hold high expectations for their students and offer rigorous and engaging classes where students are responsible for doing the majority of thinking, writing, and discussion.
  • FirstLine teachers receive weekly coaching and lesson feedback.
  • FirstLine fosters a culture of excellence that helps students develop the academic skills and character strengths needed to succeed in school and in life.
  • FirstLine utilizes culturally relevant curriculum that provides “windows and mirrors.” Our children are more engaged when they see themselves represented through an historically accurate socio-political lens that broadens students’ choices and develops them into justice-oriented, curious, creative global citizens.

“We have access to leaders who know what they want to see in the classrooms and know how to coach teachers to success when changes are needed.”

– Ida Adugna, Middle School Assistant Principal

FirstLine creates school environments that are nurturing and supportive for students, families, and staff of all races, socioeconomic status, and abilities to ensure inclusive, safe, and brave spaces where people can show up as their whole selves. At FirstLine, we commit to:

    • My own and others’ development
    • Listening and understanding
    • Speaking with honesty and respect
    • Doing what it takes to serve others
    • Keeping myself and others safe in mind, body, and spirit
    • Bringing my personal joy to our work
    • Holding myself and others accountable.

“I feel valued here. I am asked about things by senior leadership . Feels nice to be valued in a way that I had never felt before.”

– Megan Chauvin, Director of Communication

  • FirstLine is committed to training teachers in trauma-informed approaches that nurture supportive and caring relationships as the foundation of positive culture, enabling teachers to de-escalate behaviors and thus reduce suspensions.
  • FirstLine’s signature program, (ESYNOLA), teaches children and adults to make healthy connections through food and the natural world. Hands-on garden and culinary / nutrition education classes provide FirstLine students with social / emotional learning opportunities that teach respect for life, the power of personal choice, and the value of community.
  • FirstLine’s commitment to doing what is right for kids is rooted in doing the necessary work of deeply examining policies, procedures, and practices to ensure we are working toward dismantling the effects of systemic racism on our students.
  • FirstLine partners with , an organization that seeks to build more equitable institutions through comprehensive race and equity training, which benefits all staff, and through us, our students and their families.
  • As New Orleans’ oldest homegrown charter school organization founded in 1998, FirstLine was created and always values its deep and long-standing partnerships with families and community based organizations, artists and musicians, churches, and local universities.
  • FirstLine understands the challenges our families face economically and works to link families to community resources and social services, working in partnership with Communities in Schools and our team of mental health professionals.

“Our organization was co-founded by a native New Orleanian with the intent of educating children by partnering with families and building community relationships, before Katrina.”

– Sivi Domango, Chief Equity Officer