Our Story

2018 Summer Pilot 2

Backpacking: History, Ecology, & Survival


Students from 6 different public schools across New Orleans ventured into the Mississippi & Arkansas wilderness for one week to learn about human history, Southern ecology, and how we can survive in and thrive with nature.

Upon returning, students exhibited the work in front over 50 community members.  Highlights included fishing, cooking, & fire-starting skills, a scientific ecology journal cataloging trees from the trail, and a spoken word piece both about their journey and their learning across disciplines.



of students reported this being one of their most valuable learning experiences


of students reported being interested in enrolling at Living School for high school


parent/family satisfaction with  safety, learning, and communication

Click to see what our students accomplished this summer.

Want to try work like this in your community?  Click for all of our resources!

“It's important to have a school run by the parents, students, and teachers. While there are other great schools out there, we as families often have little power to influence them. A school that starts with our interests, skills, and needs will help us really understand what we need to succeed in the world. This will create more entrepreneurs and problem solvers. This school seems to have more tools to help give kids more confidence and skills to realize their dreams and plans for themselves and the world.”

Parent of a student on our Backpacking Pilot

2018 Summer Pilot 1

Entrepreneurship Camp


As part of NORDC's & VIET's Teen Camp, we worked with students to audit the local economy in New Orleans East.  Students investigated what businesses exist in the East and why.

Then, student groups developed businesses that filled unmet community needs and beta-launched their businesses at our culminating expo.



student businesses designed & launched


of students reported the project being valuable & engaging


of students reported interest in enrolling at Living School for high school

Click to see what our students in this pilot accomplished.

Want to try work like this in your community?  Click for all of our resources!

“Living School is better than school. It helps us learn about the community and there’s more that we can relate to. It’s hands-on, not just workbooks.  We don’t like to read out of a textbook. We like to do projects and be hands-on. A textbook won’t catch our attention. Y’all got us thinking about the future and what’s wrong with the world. We talked about the changes we want in our community and how we’re going to get those changes.  I wish we had more time. I think it should be longer. It’s something that most kids would enjoy doing. How to change the community will help me in my life. Once I get older this experience will really make me think about what I want to do to help my community like making a business that could help poor people.”

9th Grade Student at Entrepreneurship Camp

2018 Spring Pop-up Series

Dream School Design Days


Students from across the city came together for day-long workshops inviting them to design the school of their dreams.


Half of the group worked with professional architects to design the physical campus and the others worked with educators to design the culture & curriculum.



unique school designs with floor plan, culture blueprint, & artifacts


of students reported higher engagement than their current school


of students reported interest in enrolling at Living School for high school

Click to see what our students in this pilot accomplished.

Want to try work like this in your community?  Click for all of our resources!

“ Living School is the next big thing.  It’s a school where students can get outside of the box.  It’s not like any other school. Think of it as a box that you open.  We’re having the students come out into an open new world. Students want to explore while they’re young.  Living School will give them the opportunity to open up that dream every kid has dreamed of. The Living School is a place where kids design the school.  It’s a mix of teachers and students, but it’s mainly students. Y’all gave us examples and then you let our minds and imaginations do the work instead of saying I want this I want that like they do in a regular school.  It will prepare us for when we get a job and have to present in a meeting.”

7th Grade Student at our School Design Pop-Up

2017 Summer Pilot

Student-Run Pop-Up with a Mission


A community of over 40 individual donors helped us bring to life our inaugural pilot in collaboration with the awesome team at The NET Charter High School and The Good Work Network.

Our 13 students designed, built, and operated a multicultural pop-up with a mission; fulfilled the mission; published public blogs documenting their experience and reflections; learned a new language; and earned two credits each toward their high school graduation!



of students reported learning skills that will improve his/her life


student completion (compare to school average of 51%)


salary paid to students in a scaled salary structure built by consensus 

Click to see what our students in this pilot accomplished.

Want to try work like this in your community?  Click for all of our resources!

“Our work with Living School this summer created an invaluable learning experience for everyone involved. Living School's focus on student voice and leadership made for a natural partnership where students helped to drive their own learning. Hearing them reflect in the end, it was evident that the deepest learning came from having to build a concept as a team and see it through to completion. Students spoke about their disbelief in the beginning that they would accomplish their goal, and the pride of having worked together, solving problems along the way, to make the project successful.”

Neil Poynter, Principal, The NET Charter High School.



"My experience of designing, opening, and running LTD Latin-Creole Cafe was a new learning skill for me"


"I learned that opening a restaurant is hard work...I had fun 'cause I never worked in a restaurant or thought I could work with people."


"We had to figure out what was going to be on the menu. Then we budget[ed] our food and veggies."


"At first I wasn’t down for being a part in this idea because I didn’t understand the purpose of it, but my mind was changed when we started talking about what jobs we would have and getting paid."


"I would have never thought it would have turned out successful...We did a great job with the teamwork to make the restaurant work our excellent."


"Opening up a restaurant wasn't easy as a class. We had so many disagreements about so many things...but the experience was pretty fun and I'm glad I worked with it."


"In the six weeks we came a long way. Everyone is playing their part...It got a little difficult but in all we had fun running a restaurant."


"My class and I opening up a 4-day pop-up restaurant. The restaurant's goal was to raise awareness for LGBTQ community, hate crimes, and police brutality."


"The trips to the Crescent City Farmers Market and Hollygrove Market and Farm were great learning experiences for me because I got to learn about different fruits and veggies."


"We voted on what we were going to wear to work at the restaurant, what time we were going to open and close, and what we were going to name our restaurant."


"Starting this restaurant, I had little hope and a bit of faith, no clue, nor did I have an idea how only 13 students from The NET Charter High School could handle it."


"We had a lot of decisions to make about this restaurant. But we had a wonderful time...We are more like a family."


"The things that surprised me were how we were working together and the happiness. I thought it was going to be hard or difficult for everyone to do, and we were actually working like we were at a real restaurant."

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