The Orleans Parish (La.) School Board has approved the first "blended learning" charter school in New Orleans despite staff and board members' concerns about its for-profit management. Nola.com says the school, [email protected], is a joint venture of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Southern University at New Orleans, and will be run by Connections, an online education company owned by textbook giant Pearson. The educational model combines in-person and online coursework. [email protected] could open as early as next fall with 225 students in grades 6 to 8, expanding to a 625-student middle/high school by 2018. It would be the 15th charter overseen by the Orleans Parish School Board, which controls about one quarter of the city's public schools.