Opportunities Academy (OA) Wins Distinguished Merit Award from Governor's Office of Disability Affairs
New Orleans, Louisiana -
Baton Rouge [Dec 8, 2021] - Today, Governor John Bel Edwards’ Office of Disability Affairs awarded New Orleans’ Opportunities Academy their top statewide recognition for impact on the disability community. The Distinguished Merit Award is presented annually in recognition of extraordinary service that has consistently presented opportunities for people with disabilities to utilize their capabilities in achieving full participation in society.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell nominated the charter school for the award. She wrote, “It was a great honor to nominate Opportunities Academy for this recognition. They are extraordinarily deserving of the award. The school has expanded the educational opportunities for young people with disabilities in New Orleans, transforming the lives of the students and families they serve.”
Opportunities Academy (OA), part of the nonprofit Collegiate Academies network of public charter schools, began as a pilot program at Abramson Sci Academy in 2015. The Orleans Parish School Board granted the program its own charter in 2019-20. Since then it has grown to serve approximately 75 young adults ages 18-22 with intellectual disabilities and autism. OA offers students a truly individualized experience. The instruction and applied learning experiences are tailored to each student’s unique needs and long-term goals. For example, a number of students operate an on-site coffee shop (rOAst), while others participate in externships with potential career partners across New Orleans.
OA’s service, leadership, and commitment to the disability community in Louisiana were celebrated in a ceremony at the Old State Capitol on December 8th. Executive Director Sophia Scott said, “I’m so proud of the students and team at OA. Together we’ve built a community that helps every individual grow and reach their full potential. We’re honored to receive this recognition of our work.”
State Senator Karen Carter Peterson wrote in support of the school’s nomination, “OA sets an example for school systems across our state. I’m proud to support them. They have created a caring and rigorous learning environment that provides each student with a personalized pathway to achieving their dreams.”
Likewise, State Representative Royce Duplessis added in his letter of support, “Like my father, a long-time Orleans Parish teacher, the educators at Opportunities Academy embrace the call to be servant leaders. They demonstrate an unwavering commitment to young people with disabilities in New Orleans.”
Dr. Henderson Lewis, Superintendent of NOLA Public Schools said, “Congratulations to Opportunities Academy for achieving this prestigious recognition. It is a remarkable place that has been transformational in the lives of so many young people with disabilities in New Orleans. It is also a great reminder of all the hard work our community of schools puts in every day to make sure every child has access to high-quality education.”
Collegiate Academies Interim Chief Executive Officer Stacy Martin attended the award ceremony alongside OA Executive Director Sophia Scott. Martin noted, “The OA community of families, students, and educators has persevered through so many challenges over the last two years. Through it all, they stayed focused on the young people they serve. I’m so grateful to Governor John Bel Edwards’ administration for the opportunity to shine a line on the great work happening at OA.”
For more information about Opportunities Academy, contact the company here:
2625 Thalia Street
New Orleans, LA 70113