HOS Corner

October 9, 2019

To our ISL families and community:

Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Benjamin Welman, III.

Mr. Welman, a longtime ISL employee, joined ISL when he took up a second career teaching children after retiring from the practice of law. During his years at ISL, Mr. Welman served as a Middle School Math Teacher at ISL’s Jefferson Parish campus, a Math Tutor at our Uptown campus, and our school-wide Transportation Manager.

We will remember with affection his kindness, humor, and gracious spirit. Our thoughts are with Mr. Welman’s family and friends at this time. We will share arrangement details on our website, under HOS corner, when they are available.

At this time, we ask for your patience and understanding as we work through this as a school community.

In gratitude,
ISL Administration, Faculty & Staff
ISL Board of Trustees

August 6, 2019

Head of School Newsletter

August 29, 2018

Back to School Newsletter

July 18, 2018

Mid-Summer Newsletter

May 31, 2018

Head of School End of the Year Newsletter

March 14, 2018

Louisiana State Superintendent of Education
Tuesday, March 14, 2018
RE: Supreme Court Ruling

Dear charter school and state school leaders,

Today, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state and determined that the Louisiana Constitution does not prohibit the allocation of MFP funding to Type 2 charter schools and state schools. Additionally, the court has definitively ruled that charter schools are public schools.

After more than three years of debate, today’s ruling affirms once and for all that charter schools are public schools and that Louisiana families have the right to choose the schools best for their children. This lawsuit was never about children, however. It was about money. Thankfully, today justice prevailed. Children and families are the winners in today’s ruling.

As a result of this ruling, there will be no disruption this school year or in future school years to full and equitable funding for Type 2 charter schools and state schools. Click here to find a copy of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

As always, thank you for all you do for our children,



March 9, 2018

9:05am Email to Families

1:49pm Email Update to Families

February 16, 2018

Dear ISL Families,

Many of you have seen the disturbing news regarding the recent school shooting in Florida. Our thoughts are with the students, teachers, staff, their families, and surrounding community. Your student(s) may have heard the news in some way, whether from television, radio, adults or their friends. The news may be especially disturbing to them because it happened in a school building.

Here are a few suggestions for helping to make children feel safe: 

  • Turn off or monitor the television. Endless news coverage is likely to heighten anxiety.
  • Maintain a normal routine at home, and we will do the same while your children are at school.
  • Stick to facts. Answer questions factually.  Remain calm and reassuring.
  • Students take their cues from their parents and adults.  Be a good listener and observer.
  • Pay attention to changes in behavior.
  • Alert the school if you hear something from your child that doesn’t sit well.
  • Take care of yourself. You are better able to help your children if you are coping well. If you are anxious or upset, your children are more likely to be so as well.
  • As a resource, please refer to the National Association of School Psychologist handout “Talking to Children About Violence”

At ISL, the safety of our students and staff is a top priority. Our commitment has included enhancing security features at our campuses such as security cameras, securing fencing, single-point of entry at our campuses, a requirement that all visitors check-in with our offices, and no photography or video inside of our campus building for visitors. Additionally, we are in the annual process of updating our comprehensive security procedures manual for all classrooms at ISL to meet today’s security standards. We meet with law enforcement officials to review safety practices and we also revise our crisis intervention plans for each school on a routine basis. Additionally, our campuses practice a variety of emergency drills. Most importantly, we are attempting to promote a culture where everyone has a responsibility to be vigilant and focused on safety.

We ask that you talk with your children about the importance of sharing information that could be considered threatening to our community with a responsible adult. Our school leaders, teachers and staff work hard to ensure student safety and provide emotional support for students and we will continue to do this when classes resume on Monday.

Thank you,

Melanie Tennyson

CEO/Head of School

International School of Louisiana

February 8, 2018

A Letter from Head of School to Dixon Families


December 28, 2017

In Memory- The ISL community is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague Danny Duke.  Mr. Danny, as our students knew him, dedicated his professional life to helping children, first as a speech and language pathologist, and then as ISL’s Education Services Coordinator. Danny took great joy in working with his students and often spoke of them with affection and warmth.  Children and adults alike will grieve his passing. I hope that in our sadness, we will also find inspiration to continue Danny’s lifetime work of educating and advocating for children.  Our warmest thoughts go out to Danny’s family – his husband James, daughter Melanie, and grandchildren Jonah, Caleb, and Emily.

Arrangements are under the direction of the St. Bernard Memorial Funeral Home in Chalmette, Louisiana.

Many ISL students will remember Mr. Danny with affection.  After instruction resumes on January 8, school Social Workers will be on hand at each campus to support our students.


September 26, 2017

The HOS Newsletter: Fall is Here! has been emailed to families.


August 21, 2017

On January 19, 2017, I shared information regarding the Type 2 Lawsuit in a letter to ISL families. I wanted to reach out to our families again to ensure you were aware of the lawsuit against Type 2 charter schools, like International School of Louisiana. This lawsuit will be heard in front of the Louisiana Supreme Court on September 5, 2017. I will be in attendance to represent our school and in support of local public charter schools.

Opponents are claiming that we are not public schools and therefore, should not be funded as such. I am a parent, voter, and homeowner from International School of Louisiana in New Orleans. I support public schools and believe dollars should follow the student.

We are a public school. We follow the same laws, take the same tests and open our doors to everyone for free.  Our students and teachers deserve to be funded as such. Anything else could devastate the lives of 16,000 students, their families and thousands of others who are employed by our schools.

Some of these schools have received funding for 20 years and have received unwavering support from governors and legislators from both parties. This ruling will have a profound impact on the educational choices parents have in picking a community school. Please know we appreciate your continued support; especially if this ends up back before you or the voters.

Please contact the Head of School office with any questions or for more information.


Melanie Tennyson
CEO/Head of School

August 7, 2017

Dixon Campus The rain continues to delay the completion of the roof. There are also several new leaks that need to be repaired. The construction crews are working around the clock and weather to get all repairs done as quickly as possible despite all delays.

Our facilities staff is working with the OPSB to ensure the removal of excess furniture and equipment that does not belong to ISL. They are also working to move all classroom furniture so that classrooms are equipped with everything our students will need. The process has been slow but we are working diligently and proactively to get this out in time for back to school.

Our teachers and assistants are working daily in their classrooms and they are so excited to welcome students. Most of our time and energy has been going into the classroom as this is where our students will spend most of their time.

Here is a quick recap of where we are in the different areas around campus:

  • Classrooms:
    • Approximately 90% completed, teachers and assistants are working feverishly to have these ready for our students for Friday’s Meet & Greet.
    • Please note:
      • Wednesday, August 9th (8:00am) and Thursday, August 10th (5:00pm) is Parent Orientation (meant for parents-only). Students will not have the opportunity to meet their teacher or visit classrooms until the Meet & Greet on Friday.
      • Friday, August 11th is the day when teachers will open up their classrooms to ISL families and welcome our students at the “Meet & Greet”.  
  • Common Areas:
    • OPSB is scheduled to remove excess furniture, construction crews are working on clean-up and repairs and are at about 90% completion.
    • Upon completion, cosmetic work (painting/resurfacing) will begin.  Please note that while floors need to be repaired, sanded and refinished, and walls need to be painted, the school will be clean and ready for students.
      • The Fire Marshall and DHHS are monitoring our site and working with ISL and OPSB to ensure that the facility is safe and ready for children to attend school.
  • Parking Area:
    • Areas have been cleared of scaffolds and large equipment, except for one crane scheduled to be removed in the next few days.

The Phone Line at the campus has been activated. For questions, please call (504) 934-4875

July 2017

ISL’s Mid-Summer Newsletter has been emailed to all parents. Click here to view. It includes important information about Back to School activities from Campuses and Construction updates as well as detailed building updates from Head of School, Melanie Tennyson.

June 11, 2017

For Immediate Release 

Diverse Charter Schools Coalition Recognizes

International School Of Louisiana

ISL Receives the Coalition’s Inaugural Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Diverse Charter Schools Coalition Board, members, staff, and partners honored International School of Louisiana with the Achievement Gap Award for demonstrating exceptional commitment to successfully closing achievement gaps. The inaugural awards were presented during the DCSC Annual Convening on Sunday June 11.
The International School of Louisiana (ISL), receiving the Achievement Gap Award, was founded in 2000 by a group of parents who envisioned a public school offering a foreign language-based academic program with a global perspective. Students are taught core academic subjects in either French or Spanish through everyday conversation and classroom instruction learn a second language naturally. Their unique school model has produced achievement gap-closing results. In both the 2014-15 and the 2015-2016 school years, ISL has had a greater percentage of its minority and economically disadvantaged students scoring at “Mastery or above” than the district of New Orleans or the state. Within the school, almost two-thirds of ISL students qualify for free and reduced lunch and have an average of 92% in Basic or Above on the Louisiana Educational Assessment Progra

Pictured above: Melanie Tennyson (CEO/Head of School- International School of Louisiana) and Karla Marie Cochran (Director of Communications & Development- International School of Louisiana)

m assessment. Head of School Melanie Tennyson attributes their academic success to the hard work and dedication of ISL teachers and staff implementing the language immersion program through the ISL experience.
“This achievement reminds us once again that language immersion education is accessible and beneficial to students of all backgrounds and at ISL, has effectively been the key in closing achievement gaps,” said Tennyson. 
Also at the convention, Blackstone Valley Prep (Cumberland, RI) won School of the Year for best exemplifying the Coalition’s value and Valor Collegiate (Nashville, TN) won the Best Newcomer School.
“I want to congratulate our three member schools for their commitment to excellence and exemplifying what is possible through a diverse-by-design school model,” said the Coalition’s Executive Director Sonia Park.  “They have done extraordinary, thoughtful work in their approach to diversity. ”
About the Coalition:

The Diverse Charter Schools Coalition is a charter advocacy and membership group that seeks to support the creation and expansion of high-quality, racially and economically diverse public charter schools. Founded in summer 2014, the coalition has grown from 14 founding charter schools and networks to include more than 100 member schools located in 14 different states

 and the District of Columbia. For more information please see our website http://www.diversecharters.org, or contact the Coalition by email at info@diversecharters.org

February 10, 2017:

A letter explaining the Transfer process for JP students was sent home on February 10. To access these letters, click on the following links:  Transfer Letter  |  Instructions in English  |  Instrucciones en Español

January 27, 2017

Update to announce 2017-18 School Start Times

January 19, 2017

To: All ISL Families
Re: Type 2 Charter School Lawsuit
From: Melanie Tennyson, CEO/Head of School

Dear ISL families and community members,

I want to take a moment to fill you in on the Type 2 charter school lawsuit affecting some local charter schools in our state and share details about what this means for our school.

Currently, Louisiana is home to 33 total Type 2 charter schools, serving approximately 18,000 students. A brief summary of activity surrounding the Type 2 charter school lawsuit is provided below:

  • In the fall of 2015, the Iberville Parish School Board and the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) sought to strip MFP funding from Type 2 charter schools and invalidate the state’s current MFP funding formula, which is allocated on a per-pupil basis. (MFP funds make up the vast majority of the funding received by public schools.) The case went to trial and Judge Fields ruled in favor of the Type 2 charter schools.

  • In the spring of 2016, the case went up to an Appellate Court.

  • This week, the ruling was overturned. This ruling has been in the news and some of you may have heard and are wondering what it means for ISL.

What does this mean for ISL? There are different types of Type 2 charter schools. An important distinction for our school is that the International School of Louisiana’s Type 2 charter is a legacy charter (chartered before 2008); eight of the 33 total Type 2 schools are legacy schools and 26 are new Type 2 charter schools (chartered after 2008). ISL and the legacy Type 2 charter schools are exempt from the ruling. The ruling only applies to the new Type 2 charter schools. The ruling does not apply to legacy Type 2 charters.

What can we do to advocate for Type 2 charter schools? The lawsuit does not directly impact the International School of Louisiana. However, from the beginning, ISL has used its stability and reputation of excellence to support the new Type 2 charter schools at the state level. Additionally, ISL has supported these new Type 2 charters by officially signing on as interveners in the lawsuit, along with 4 other charter schools, to add the weight of our organization. ISL has also provided financial support to the cause. ISL will continue this support and continue to advocate for Type 2 charter schools.

What happens next? The next step will be for the case to be heard in the State Supreme Court. As things continue to unfold, we will keep you abreast of the situation. There are ways our community can support, we will keep you informed on what the collective community can do to help.

How can parents provide feedback or get more information? There has been a lot happening lately. We are committed to working diligently to provide answers to your many thoughtful questions and details on the upcoming changes. We continue to focus on the day to day instruction of our current student body, while keeping our families updated with information as it becomes available. Thank you to the more than 60 people who have completed the Feedback Form on our web site and the many others who have reached out via phone and email to ask questions or voice concerns. We encourage you to continue using the Feedback Form whenever possible to streamline the communications process. It is our goal to continue to provide accurate and timely information to our ISL community.


Melanie Tennyson
CEO/Head of School

January 17, 2017: 

In an effort to keep parents informed, we have created a Feedback Form that will allow parents the opportunity to submit their individual questions, concerns, or feedback. This form allows us the opportunity for follow up as information becomes available based on your individual needs.

January 13, 2017: 

A Letter from the Head of School for our Jefferson Parish families (posted Friday, January 13, 2017). ISL-JPPSS Letter

January 9, 2017:

Board of Trustees held a Special Board Meeting on Friday, January 6, 2017. The Board voted in favor of Head of School’s recommendation to not renew the type 1 Charter in Jefferson Parish.

January 3, 2017:

Message from the Board of Trustees and Head of School Office- There has been a Special Board of Trustees Meeting scheduled for Friday, January 6, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. at Jefferson Campus. BOT meetings are open to the public. ISL community is encouraged to attend this special meeting. For a listing of ISL Board of Trustees meetings, please click here. To view the Board of Trustees Meeting Agenda, please click here.  The Agenda will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

January 2, 2016


International School of Louisiana Acquires New Campus

In-demand language immersion school expands to meet growing student population at former Bethune site

The International School of Louisiana (ISL), an “A” rated language immersion school, is pleased to announce that it will expand its campuses to include the former Mary McLeod Bethune Campus at 4040 Eagle Street in New Orleans- a campus building that became available when Bethune Elementary relocated its campus to Humanity Street.

ISL plans to make the campus an Early Childhood concentrated facility for grades K-2, housing up to 400 students. ISL currently has three other campuses Uptown, the Westbank and Jefferson, as well as a temporary campus in Mid-City.

The Orleans Parish School Board approved the move in December and the ISL Board will vote to approve the lease at a special Board of Trustees meeting this January. The move to the Bethune campus will help the school address its need to accommodate a growing student population and provide accessible facilities to its greater New Orleans student body.

“We are thrilled to acquire this beautiful, historical campus for our younger children to learn and thrive,” said ISL Head of School Melanie Tennyson. “Our goal is to educate as many students in the greater New Orleans area as possible, and accommodate our growing list of applicants.”

In Orleans Parish, ISL plans to house grades 3-8 at its Camp Street location Uptown and K-5 at its Olivier Street campus on the Westbank.

The former Bethune building, now the ISL Mid-City/Dixon campus is an historical building designed by famed architect E.A. Christy with generous green spaces and playgrounds with two separate play yards.  The campus has close proximity to I-10, where Old Metairie meets Mid-City, right at the Jefferson/Orleans parish line, off Airline Highway.

“We are happy to be part of the Dixon neighborhood and look forward to building a strong community presence,” said Tennyson. “ISL places an emphasis on community involvement and we know our diverse body of students and staff will only add to an already vibrant area.”

The International School of Louisiana is the only tuition-free, multi-language immersion school in Louisiana.  ISL is an “A” rated School by the Department of Education and was named a National “Charter School of the Year” by the Center for Education Reform. It is a State-Certified World Language Immersion School and received the School Award for Exemplary Education of Young Men of Color by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color. Students at ISL are introduced to the world’s rich cultural heritage through a rigorous and expansive education taught in French or Spanish.  With its emphasis on international awareness, the celebration of diversity and community responsibility, ISL’s unique curriculum strengthens basic academic skills as it prepares students for success in today’s worldwide marketplace. Learn more at www.isl-edu.org

December 14, 2016:

Middle School Update- “The Orleans Parish School Board has announced that the International School of Louisiana’s temporary use of  the John Dibert facility at 4217 Orleans Avenue will end after the 2016-17 school year.  ISL grades 6-8 will finish the current year at the Mid-City campus and return to our Uptown facility at 1400 Camp Street for the 2017-18 school year.”  For questions or concerns, please click here.