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Senate Education Committee January 26, 2011

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Senate Education Committee January 26, 2011. The Need and Mission. State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek. RSD: The Need. The WHY In 2005, prior to Transfer of New Orleans Schools to RSD, 22 Percent of Schools SPS Below 40. 66 percent of schools SPS Below 60.

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The Need and Mission

State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek

rsd the need
RSD: The Need


  • In 2005, prior to Transfer of New Orleans Schools to RSD, 22 Percent of Schools SPS Below 40.
  • 66 percent of schools SPS Below 60.
  • SPS 60 Represents School Where More than 60 Percent of Students Not on Grade-Level.
  • 62 Percent of Students in New Orleans Trapped in These Schools
  • And Only 30 Percent of 4th, 8th and 10th Grade Students Proficient in Math and ELA.
  • In 2005, Annual High School Dropout Rate In New Orleans – 11.4 Percent.
rsd the need1
RSD: The Need


  • More Than 230,000 Students (One Third) of Louisiana Students Not Grade Level Proficient
  • Only 2/3 of High School Students Graduated in Traditional Four Year Time Frame
  • Legislature adopted Senator Nevers’ Bill to Raise Graduation Rate to 80 Percent by 2014
  • Despite Significant Growth, 239 Schools With SPS Below 75, Meaning That More Than 50 Percent of Students Below Grade Level
  • 917 Schools With SPS Below 103, Meaning That at Least 25 Percent of Students Not Grade-Level Proficient
  • Statewide, 17,560 Students Attend 43 Academically Unacceptable Schools (SPS Below 60); But 10 Schools Came Off the AUS List in 2008, 29 Came Out in 2009 and 12 Schools in 2010.
rsd the need2
RSD: The Need

Based on 2010 School Performance Score

rsd the need3
RSD: The Need


  • Schools Systems Have Historically Been Unsuccessful at Boosting Low-Performing Schools
  • Not a Matter of Money
    • Study of 32 AUS Schools Reviewed in 2008-2009 Revealed Average Funding Through Title I School Allocations for Previous 2-3 Years - $450,000 with Some Schools Receiving as Much as 700,000
  • Not a Matter of Resources
    • Prior to Transfer Schools Receive Additional Support from LDOE
      • Distinguished Educator, Technical Assistance to Develop School Improvement Plan, Scholastic Audit
rsd the need4
RSD: The Need


  • Not a Matter of Intent or Effort on Part of Districts and Schools
  • Results from Lack of Knowledge and Expertise Necessary to Improve Schools with Long History of Failure
  • Historically, Culture and Requirements Restrict Ability of School Systems to Implement Innovative Instructional Practices.
  • But RSD and LDOE Committed to Driving Change Directly and Indirectly.
rsd the need5
RSD: The Need

What We’re Doing to Enrich District and School Capacity to Improve and Schools from Declining and Becoming AUS or Eligible for Takeover

LDOE Re-Organization

Aligned Around Support – Not Compliance

Critical Goal Offices

Office of Innovation (Trailblazer Program)

Support for Academic Watch List Schools



LDOE Reorganization

Louisiana’s Department of Education is Actively Transforming into a Capacity-Building, Service-Delivery Entity


Driving Statewide District/School Improvement

LDOE and RSD: Extending Intervention to Academic Watch Schools and Schools in Decline to Decrease Rate of Failure Before Schools Get to RSD.



watch list schools by lea
Watch List Schools by LEA

Though there are 46 LEAs with Watch List schools, 6 LEAs contain over 50%.

The top 15 LEAs contain almost 75% of Watch List Schools.

trailblazer districts and watch list impact
Trailblazer Districts and Watch List Impact

About 60% of Watch List Schools Are Located in Trailblazer Districts.

rsd the mission
RSD: The Mission

Primary Objective: Transforming and Then Returning Chronically Low-Performing Schools to Local Control

  • Created by Louisiana Legislature in 2003.
    • State’s Accountability System Determines Which Schools Are Failing.
    • Five New Orleans Schools Entered the RSD Prior to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
    • In Fall 2005, After Katrina, Legislators Passed Act 35, Extending Eligibility to Districts.
    • As a Result, 107 More New Orleans Schools Transferred to the RSD, Although Not All These Schools Reopened.
    • Currently RSD Operates 23 Direct-run and 46 Type 5 Charter Schools in Orleans Parish.
    • Outside New Orleans, the RSD Provides Oversight to 35 Schools in 11 Parishes Via Type 5 Charters, Management Agreements or Memorandums of Understanding.
schools enter rsd after 4 consecutive years of failure
Schools Enter RSD After 4 Consecutive Years of Failure

RSD Manages a Portfolio of School Using 3 Models for Turnaround:

Option #1: Restart the School Via a Charter or Contract

  • Freedom to Create New Culture
  • Strict Performance Requirements
  • Community Involvement

Option #2: Direct-Run the School

  • Stabilize School
  • Grant Autonomy to Staff
  • Over Time, Potentially Phase the School Out to a Charter

Option #3: Close the School & Send Students to Higher Performing Option

current rsd oversight
Current RSD Oversight
  • 12 Parishes
  • 104 Schools
  • 69 schools in New Orleans (Direct Run, Charters & Pre-GED program)
  • 35 schools outside of New Orleans (Charters, MOUs and Management Agreements)
what is the rsd
What is the RSD?

Through RSD, Louisiana Employing Unique Approach to School Turnaround (National Model)


Developing and implementing comprehensive accountability systems that ensure all schools are held to the same high standards


Creating high-performing “best practice” schools, supported by data-driven, research-based models that address individual academic, behavioral or social needs.


Offering parents and guardians the freedom to select the RSD school of their choice, and guaranteeing that access to quality school programs is equitable and attainable.


Ensuring that RSD schools have autonomy over site-based budgeting and staffing; creating and maintaining alternative governance arrangements, such as Advisory Boards, Steering Committees or Board of Directors.


Creating and maintaining safe, clean schools in which every child can be educated in a classroom that is modern and well-equipped for 21st Century learning.


The Results

Recovery School District Superintendent

Paul Vallas

how do you measure a school intervention program s value

Is the program financially efficient?

What is the intent of the program and is it successful in its mission?

How Do You Measure a School Intervention Program’s Value?

Ask Four Questions

What is the process for returning schools to local control and are improvements sustainable?

Is the program producing tangible benefits beyond it’s primary mission?

question 1
Question 1

What is the Intent of the Program

and Is It Succeeding in Its Mission?

results benefits
Results & Benefits
  • Key Strategies
  • Governing Authority
  • Effective Teachers
  • Data-driven Instruction
  • New Schools
  • School Choice
  • School Autonomy
  • Optimizing Budgetary Resources
  • Modernized Facilities
  • Successful Stability and Transformation of School District, Including:
  • Locally Controlled Leadership Team Committed to the Implementation of School Reforms.
  • Creation of Sustainable Reforms Despite Significant But Temporary Funding Resources.
  • Construction of Secure Facilities that Meet the Demand of All Returning Students.
  • All Students in Modern Classrooms with Technology Assets and Tools.
  • Created an Environment of Self-Sustaining Improvement.
rsd has faced unique challenges in new orleans
RSD Has Faced Unique Challenges in New Orleans:




  • Unlike traditional school districts, the RSD has no borrowing power or cash reserves
  • As a state agency, the RSD is bound by procurement policies, data systems and procedures that are not well suited to aschool district
  • The RSD initially lacked essential infrastructure, such as a payroll system and procurement system.
  • Public Schools Devastated by One of the Nation’s Worst Natural Disasters
  • More than 100 school buildings damaged, some completely
  • 90% of the buildings in Poor Condition Before Katrina
  • The RSD fully supplied 70 schools with contents, including furniture, instructional material desktop and laptop computers
  • Many returning students missed months or years of school
  • More than 80% of students entering RSD schools were 1½ or more years below grade level
  • More than 20 percent of students two or more years older than typical for grade level
  • Influx of federal funds to open schools was temporary; aggressive academic reforms had to be sustainable.
academic improvements in the rsd
Academic Improvements in the RSD
  • Test Scores in the RSD Have Improved in Every Grade and Every Subject for Three Consecutive Years, Resulting in RSD Leading State in Growth from 2009-2010 as well as for the last three years, with a gain of 20 points from 2007-2010.
  • Since 2007, the passing rate for first time 4th grade test-takers in the RSD increased from 36% to 58%. The passing rate for 8th grade first-time test takers grew from 32% to 50%.
  • In 2010, Growth in the RSD exceeded the growth in the state in 25 of 30 categories in LEAP, iLEAP and GEE.
gains in percentage of students scoring basic and above
Gains in Percentage of Students Scoring Basic and Above

2007 to 2010 (RSD New Orleans Charters and Direct-Run Schools)

graduation rates significantly improving
Graduation Rates Significantly Improving

In the 2006-2007 school year, 544 of 1,081 eligible seniors graduated (50%). By the 2009-2010 school year, 1,139 of 1,319 eligible seniors (86%) received diplomas.

question 2
Question 2

Is the Program Financially Efficient?

the cost of reform
The Cost of Reform

While RSD Most Improved School District in State and Reach Expanded to More Schools and Districts, Allocations from State General Fund to RSD Reduced by Nearly 30 Percent From Last Fiscal Year. RSD Has Decreased Reliance on State General Funds, While Tasked With Elevating the Academic Achievement of Students Enrolled in Chronically Low-Performing Schools and, in Many Cases Students Two, Three and Four Years Below Grade Level. Per Pupil Revenue Ranks 20th out of Louisiana’s 70 School Districts.

RSD General Costs $10,538

question 3
Question 3

Is the Program Providing Lasting Benefits Beyond Its Primary Mission?

lasting benefits
Lasting Benefits
  • RSD has Become a State and National Model for Education Reform
  • Reforms Aligned to National Education Agenda
  • As a Result, Louisiana Better Positioned to Secure Additional Federal and Foundation Funding
  • Reforms Attracting High Quality School Providers and Talent to Louisiana

Thank You,

And Questions?


Meeting the

Turnaround Challenge

Chris Meyer

Director of Policy

question 4
Question 4

What is the Process of Returning Schools and Are Improvements Sustainable?

exit plan from turnaround zone
Exit Plan from Turnaround Zone
  • State Law Requires a School that Enters RSD to Remain in RSD for Minimum of Five Years
  • After 5 years, Should We Automatically Return a School Without Any Consideration of the School’s Performance or that of the Previous District?
  • BESE says “No” – Performance and Choice Should Guide Decision-Making So We Don’t Repeat History of Failure
eligible schools
Eligible Schools
  • If School is Doing Well Under RSD (Meets Performance Target) Then School Eligible to Return
  • Eligibility = Choice to Transfer
    • Charter: Vote of Charter Board
    • Direct-Run: Recommendation of RSD Superintendent with Input from Parents & Staff
  • Schools that Stay With RSD Remain There Until End of Next Transfer Period (Up to Five Years)
non eligible schools
Non-Eligible Schools
  • If School Not Doing Well After Five Years in RSD, then Competition Occurs for Right to Operate Schools
    • Previous District
    • Other Charters
    • Alternative Governing Authorities
    • RSD
  • Plans Submitted to and Reviewed by BESE (and 3rd Party Evaluator) to Determine Who Operates School
benefits of plan
Benefits of Plan
  • Competition Among School Systems to Offer Best Types of Support for Turnaround Schools
  • Choice of People Closest School
  • Students First, Not Adults or Political Interests
  • Rewards Success and Maintains Consequences for Failure
  • Sustainable

RSD Capital Update

Ramsey Green

Deputy Superintendent of Operations

capital program highlights
Capital Program Highlights
  • Jointly BESE and OPSB Plan Adopted in 2008
  • Largest Public-Sector Re-Building Program on the Gulf Coast Since Katrina and the Largest FEMA Funded School Rebuilding Program in US History.
  • Secured a Lump Sum Settlement From FEMA to Fund $1.8 Billion Master Plan
  • RSD Has Opened and Rebuilt 5 new schools and 13 Others in Various Phases of Design Process. A total of 87 Permanent Schools Will Be designed for 21st Century Learning
  • RSD Currently Has More than $200 million in Open Construction Contracts
  • Working to Leverage Over $400 in New Market Tax Credits
  • All New Schools Within the Master Plan are Green Schools Built with LEED Silver standards.
  • Projects Providing Considerable Economic Benefits in Tax Revenues, Jobs and State and Local Revenues During Period of Sluggish Economy Activity
background master plan
Background – Master Plan
  • Over 200 Community Engagement Meetings
  • Technical Studies
    • Demographic Study
    • Building Assessments
    • Standards Developed
basis of plan
Basis of Plan
  • Elementary Schools: PreK-8
    • ½ mile Walking Distance
    • 50% of students from Neighborhood
    • 50% of Students Outside Neighborhood
    • 450-600 Students
    • 160 Sq. Ft./Student
    • 3-5 Acres (New Acquisition)
basis of plan1
Basis of Plan
  • High Schools: 9-12
    • City Wide
    • No Neighborhood Boundaries
    • 600-1100 Students (Comprehensive)
    • 450-600 Students (Boutique)
    • 180 Sq. Ft./Student
    • 10 Acres (New Acquisition)
basis of plan3
Basis of Plan

2008 GCR Projection of Population for the 2016-2017 School Year

  • Planned for Moderate Projection
  • Demographics Updated Every Two Years
  • Currently Cnderway
basis of plan4
Basis of Plan
  • Community Desire for School Buildings to Maximize Public Assets (Joint Use)
  • Flexibility to Reconfigure in Future
  • Over 6600 seats in Temporary Facilities
    • Modular Buildings
    • Leased Spaces
  • Phase 1 is Designed to Create Permanent Seats
master plan
Master Plan

Number of Students Impacted

Maximum Building Capacity

master plan1
Master Plan

Number of Projects


Type of Projects

construction status
Construction Status
  • Cash Flow
    • FY ‘08 -- $133 Million
    • FY ‘09 -- $66 Million
    • FY ’10 -- $146 Million
    • FY’ 11 -- $170 Million Projected
construction status1
Construction Status

Program Schedule: Major Projects

construction status2
Construction Status

Program Schedule: Major Projects


Thank You,