Uptown Messenger Series: Diversity, Community, and Warmth at Hoffman

September 9, 2019

Diversity, Community, and Warmth at hoffman

By Anna Derby & Rodolfo Machirica

In this second of our ten-essay series by parents of students at public schools Uptown, Anna Derby and Rodolfo Machirica write about their children’s experience at John W. Hoffman Early Learning Center. Uptown, like New Orleans as a whole, has many public school options for families—from college preparatory schools, to three different language immersion programs, to a Montessori program, to a technology career pathway school. In this series, we hear from parents themselves on why their child’s school is right for them.


We have two young children: Gabriel is three years old, and Elijah is four months. Both as educators and as parents, we care deeply about where we send our kids to school, and we know these early years matter. That’s why we send them both to John W. Hoffman Early Learning Center, which serves infants through pre-K4.

We heard about Hoffman Early Learning Center from other educators. Anna was working at New Orleans Charter Science & Math High School at the time, and the former principal there recommended it. From everything we heard, it was a place where people felt great sending their kids, and we wanted to feel the same way. We wanted it to feel like home. It has. It was a great fit for us.

Right away, when Gabe started at Hoffman, we sensed a real environment of joy. We noticed that everyone was on the same page and definitely cared about what they were doing. That was expressed by everyone from the executive director, to the teachers, to the support staff. The whole atmosphere was just bright and joyful…