NEW ORLEANS - The Recovery School District (RSD) announced today strategic decisions affecting schools in the 2013-14 school year. Each year the RSD's decisions advance the organization's goal of setting up a successful system of independent, autonomous schools. This strategy has led to significant academic growth for students in the eight years of the RSD's existence. In 2004-05, fewer than 25 percent of public school students in the city were on grade level; in 2011-12, New Orleans public schools are closing the achievement gap faster than any other urban city in the country with more than 50 percent of public school students on grade level.
"As we optimize the number of high-quality seats available to our students, we reinforce the Recovery School District's core value of parent choice," says Patrick Dobard, Superintendent of the Recovery School District. "We are communicating these school changes to staff, families and the community ahead of the mid-January OneApp launch to give our families all the information they need to make informed enrollment decisions for their children."
The RSD's mission is to create a sustainable system of independent, autonomous schools that are held accountable for school performance. The changes for 2013-2014 reflect and align to our mission in the following ways: 1) holding schools accountable by not continuing with operators who have not met the minimum academic bar, 2) empowering proven educators to transform schools to provide more high-quality seats for students and 3) right-sizing our system to ensure long-term stability.
"By making strategic changes in school management, the Recovery School District continues its push toward providing all students with an excellent education," said U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La. "I am confident that these changes will result in a stronger network of school choices available to New Orleans families."
The following is the list of schools that will see changes in the upcoming school year:
- Crocker Arts & Technology will now be managed by New Orleans College Prep.
- Pride College Prep will now be managed by Arise Charter.
- Intercultural Charter School there will be a high-quality open-enrollment elementary school at the Intercultural campus next year and all current Intercultural students will have guaranteed seats at this school.
- Benjamin Mays Preparatory will close; all current students will have priority in the enrollment process to all participating elementary schools.
- Mary D. Coghill Elementary School will now be managed by the Better Choice Foundation
- Murray Henderson will close; all students will be guaranteed a seat at Habans Elementary which will be managed by Crescent City Schools.
- L.B. Landry and O.P. Walker High Schools will be unified under the management of Algiers Charter School Association and students will attend school in the brand new L.B. Landry building. All students will be guaranteed a seat at the new unified high school.
- H.C. Schaumburg Elementary will now be managed by ReNEW Charter Management Organization. All current students will be guaranteed a seat at Schaumburg Elementary under the new management.
- Abramson Elementary will close; all students will be guaranteed a seat at Schaumburg Elementary, which will be managed by ReNEW.
- Paul B. Habans Elementary will now be managed by Crescent City Schools Charter Management Organization. All current students will be guaranteed a seat at Habans Elementary under the new management.
- James W. Johnson Elementary will close; all students will be guaranteed a seat at Banneker Elementary.
"These changes for the upcoming school year are steps in the right direction and forward our mission to create a sustainable system of schools," said Dobard. "We are making these decisions as part of a long-term strategy to ensure all public school students in New Orleans receive the highest-quality education possible."
Families and faculty affected by these changes have been notified. The RSD will be hosting information sessions to assist parents in making a transition if needed. The dates of the parent meetings will take place at their child's current school. The list of parent meetings is below:
- Mary D. Coghill - Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 5:30pm
- Crocker Arts and Technology - Monday, January 7, 2013 at 6:00pm
- Abramson and H.C. Schaumburg Elementary Schools - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 5:30pm
- James W. Johnson and Murray Henderson Elementary Schools - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:30pm
- Pride College Prep, Benjamin Mays Preparatory and Paul B. Habans Elementary Schools - Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 5:30pm
- Intercultural Charter School - Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:30pm
"The RSD has been a driving force in Coghill's transformation by providing us with autonomy and holding us to a high standard to ensure our students receive the best education possible," said Aisha Jones, Coghill Elementary School Principal. "The Coghill leadership, parents, and community have created the Better Choice Foundation and were granted a charter that will allow us to run our school in a way that is best for our students. The Coghill community embraced the transformation, because it was the right thing for our children and we hope that we can be a model for other New Orleans schools."
The RSD is based on three core principles: Choice by parents, autonomy of educators, and accountability to the governing body. This strategy was recently recognized by the Brookings Institute's Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI) as the only school district deserving an "A" grade. The ECCI explores the critical role of school choice in the future of education reform.
"I applaud the Recovery School District's work in holding charter school management operators to appropriate standards and taking action when those standards are not being met," says Westley Bayas, New Orleans Director of Stand for Children. "Our district governing authorities must be student-centered and the decisions announced today move the needle forward in ensuring all students will have access to high-quality education as soon as possible. We will continue to work with parents in making sure they have all the information they need to make decisions about their children's future."