Originally called Community United to Reform Education, the CURE organization began after eight months of formal gatherings among education and community activists, as well as academics in 1999 / 2000.  The mission was to develop specific criteria for Pre K – 12 education in the 21st century.  This process produced the document,  A Model for Educational Excellence.

In early 2001 CURE “adopted” A. P. Tureaud Elementary School in New Orleans which had been ranked 138 of 139 elementary schools in Louisiana, and was enthusiastically received by newly arrived principal, Mamie Polk.  The first two years were spent gaining credibility as a reliable partner among the school’s student / teacher / parent culture while acquiring small grants for extra curricula learning activities and social events for parents and children.

In 2003 the group organized and facilitated a U. S. Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Center grant for students and neighborhood residents, an effort memorialized in Toward a Comprehensive Community Health Collaborative, produced by Robert Crow, Ph.D, Director of the Human Development Center, LSU Health Sciences.  Award of the grant allowed CURE to organize a “Neighborhood Summit” that included city department heads, state political representatives, school district management and neighborhood community members to discuss a strategy and plan for internally directed, neighborhood development toward transformation of community health, education and economic vitality.

2004 brought organization of the A. P. Tureaud / Census Tract 27 Comprehensive Community Health Collaborative as a citywide overview group into which CURE was intended to eventually be merged.   The collaborative then produced a promotional brochure, the 2005 CURE / CCHC Brochure.  Members included the New Orleans Health Department, Human Development Center, LSU/HSC, National Council for Jewish Women, Delgado Community College, Turning Point Partners, United Bank and Trust and physicians from the Tulane University Department of Pediatrics and the New Orleans Stress Treatment Center.

In 2004 and ‘05, a U.S. Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Center grant allowed the group to conduct Summer Camp – School sessions implementing a unique “confluent classroom management” practice that provided anecdotal data to indicate something dramatic was occurring for the children.  Within a few weeks, parents were coming to the school to ask what was going on because the children were “acting differently.”  (Seven-year-olds talking about “deliberate intelligent behavior.”)  At the end of the ‘05 session, Director Dorothy Nelson, a highly successful, veteran, eighth grade teacher, said with great emotion, “You know what happened here this summer was a miracle, don’t you?”

The effort at A. P. Tureaud Elementary and the census tract 27 neighborhood ended with Hurricane Katrina, but the importance of the experience was not lost.

In 2007 – 08, the CURE group became affiliated with the New Orleans Health Department, establishing an Office of Innovation where a formal proposal for a citywide health and intelligence development effort was organized, and a grant proposal, New Orleans Health Development Initiative: Toward a Learning Societywas prepared by Marcia Lobman, a grant writing instructor at the University of New Orleans and former staff member of LSU’s Human Development Center

A later two page version, New Orleans, Toward a Learning Society was produced in 2010 – in order to raise awareness of the perspective, process and potential of a new category: “comprehensive human development,” that offers optimal value to both the individual and society, and delineates the “added value” of a city’s transformation into a learning society.

The documents highlighted here reflect the group’s developmental history and process from a focus on education reform to a Vision, Strategy and Plan for urban transformation and emergence of a self motivated, self directed citizenry committed to lifelong learning and growth: physical, rational, emotional, social, aesthetic and spiritual, as in the human spirit. 

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