Partnerships In Education & Service (PIE’s) is a national not-for-profit group whose volunteers help open schools the hardest hit by economic or natural disasters.

PIEs, many of whose members are from Evanston, has been working in New Orleans, La. (NOLA) schools since first coming in August 2007 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Last month, PIEs finished its 10th NOLA project in 10 years at a historic 9th Ward school. Formerly called the William Frantz School, it was renamed Akili Academy when New Orleans did away with its public schools and adopted a charter school system.

Newly rehabbed and remodeled after the hurricane, it gained renown as the school that 6-year-old Ruby Bridges integrated in 1960, after her parents responded to a request from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for volunteers. For a year, Ruby was the only black child attending the school.

This year, across the street from Akili, PIEs built a raised-bed garden the school will use for its beginning pre-K program.