"A Sustainable Turnaround Strategy Where Schools Innovate and"
Louisiana’s Recovery School District A Sustainable Turnaround Strategy Where Schools Innovate and Children Can Grow and Thrive? Paul Pastorek Superintendent Louisiana July 22, 2009 LA: Good News/Bad News Good News: Dedicated hard working educators Academic Achievement is up dramatically Gap closing is significant Bad News: 50th in 4th grade ELA 16,000 dropouts per year (5% of 7th through 12th graders) 108 schools under Recovery School District; additionally, over 100,000 more children are below grade level (500+ schools (nearly 50 % of schools)) Assumptions Positive: Most kids want to be successful in school and successful in life. Positive: Most teachers, principals, administrators and parents want to help children to be successful in school so they can be successful in life. Positive: Some of our schools successfully educate large numbers of children who are minority, poor and/or have inadequate parental support. Negative: The education system is not designed to allow schools or educators to innovate. Negative: There are many impediments to institutionalizing best practices in schools. The Urgency of NOW Far too many children are being failed by adults’ complacency to figure out a solution to failing schools. We cannot be timid or incremental about correcting this problem. We cannot shoot for perfect when dealing with failing schools. We cannot let “perfect” be the enemy of “good”. We cannot be risk averse. We must take and manage risk. We must have low risk and high risk portfolio. If there is only little risk, there is little reward. The School is the Center of Change and Innovation Neither state government, nor the district can “fix” the problem from the top down. Doing so, drives good leaders and educators away from schools. Rather, the role of state government and the district should be to: remove barriers to change and innovation and provide quality support for the school to fix its own problems. give flexibility and autonomy to the school to be the center of change and innovation (charter or “charter-like”). hold schools accountable. Recovery School District – A Turnaround Strategy In its original conception, the Recovery School District was a very modest idea that was borne of the frustration of state policy makers with district failure to turnaround failing schools. The original conception has since been shaped, molded and reconceived to respond to different stimuli and circumstances. Recovery School District – A Turnaround Strategy Prior to Katrina, LA created a Recovery School District where individual chronically failing schools (statewide) would be turned over to qualified charter school providers. Why? School Reconstitution plans were ineffective. Traditional state takeovers were largely ineffective. Charter school offered important possibilities: unfettered by state or local interference. true reconstitution. real local control Recovery School District – A Turnaround Strategy Place chronically low achieving schools under state control. Recovery School District becomes a “turnaround zone“. State control meant that the state would control the building and the funds for the prior year student population. All existing employees must re-apply for jobs in the school (with priority). All obligations of the district to the school or its employees were abrogated. Recovery School District – A Turnaround Strategy Phase 1 - 4 New Orleans schools were placed in Recovery School District (RSD) prior to the storm and were chartered. Phase 2 - Katrina – released the pent up frustration with the New Orleans Public Schools. Chronic district failure - 90% of schools in New Orleans to be placed in RSD. Again, the idea was that “all” schools would be Charter Schools. Clearly, this was an anomalous circumstance. Recovery School District – A Turnaround Strategy The state “authorized” many charter schools. But, there weren’t enough quality charters to run the number of schools needed in NOLA. Adaptive – we adopted a hybrid strategy – “traditional” central office running traditional schools “traditional” central office authorizing and holding charter schools accountable. All focused on New Orleans. Phase 3 - we recognized that we had other schools in other parts of the state that were failing. Recovery School District – A Turnaround Strategy Over the next 2 years, first, 10 schools eligible; then, 33 schools eligible for takeover. We had to measure capacity to takeover. Adaptive - Concluded to takeover some, but place others into “receivership” via an MOU. Takeover or “receivership” – but, the key was to: remove the barriers to change and allow the institutionalization of best practices. Key Strategies Rather than following the common paradigm for school takeovers nationally – that is, taking over entire school districts with all their dysfunctions, central office bureaucracy, employees, and restrictive collective bargaining agreements - the RSD takes over only individual schools, their employees, their students and their funding. Reconstitute the school as charter or charter like schools. Willingness to use alternative school management models Key Strategies Allow the infusion/institutionalization of best practices. Modify or Remove the rules. Most importantly, the Recovery School District is transformed from being the top down management district office to a support entity. External support entities are formed to provide alternative support to RSD. What is Working Expanded choice attracts national education entrepreneurs, improving schools through healthy competition, and expands quality options for parents and students. Allowing schools to recruit and retain staff based on merit and performance (site selection) is producing a higher- quality workforce with higher expectations, a superior work ethic and content-area mastery. A data-driven curriculum and instructional management system that is based on proven models. More instructional time on task in the form of a longer school day and longer school year. Establishment of local school leadership teams via TAP (Teacher Advancement Program). Modernization of all core classrooms with tech- nology to help deliver instruction and facilitate interventions. Change in “Percent Basic and Above” RSD Spring 2008 to Spring 2009 Grade Test ELA Math Science SS 3 iLEAP +5 +6 +12 +6 4 LEAP +8 +1 +11 +9 5 iLEAP +7 +6 +3 +5 6 iLEAP +16 +17 +10 +16 7 iLEAP +10 +15 +13 +13 8 LEAP +6 +3 +4 +2 9 iLEAP +13 +15 -- -- 10 GEE +11 +18 -- -- 11 GEE -- -- +6 +10 RSD Direct-Operated and Charter Schools Comparison of LEAP, iLEAP & GEE to State Growth GROWTH in Students Scoring Proficient (Basic & Above) ELA Math Science Social Studies Grade iLEAP 3 3 1 5 3 Grade LEAP 4 5 3 6 5 Grade iLEAP 5 6 5 (1) 4 Grade iLEAP 6 9 8 7 10 Grade iLEAP 7 9 7 7 (2) Grade LEAP 8 1 2 2 (3) Grade iLEAP 9 10 12 NA NA Grade GEE 0 (2) (2) 8 Improvement No Change Decline Graduation Rates by Individual School - 2007 to 2009 School 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 # eligible # graduates % # eligible # graduates % # eligible # graduates % G.W. Carver * * * 24 20 83% 77 68 88% Joseph S. Clark 66 26 39% 93 55 59% 113 90 80% Walter L. Cohen * * * 53 31 58% 62 40 65% Frederick Douglass 172 49 28% 81 42 52% 123 97 79% John McDonogh 306 105 34% 137 105 77% 116 104 90% L.E. Rabouin 146 73 50% 144 89 62% 223 162 73% Sarah T. Reed 170 85 50% 132 101 77% 189 138 73% Algiers Technology * * * 14 11 79% 38 36 95% O.P. Walker 221 206 93% 256 244 95% 218 204 94% 1081 544 50% 934 698 75% 1159 939 81% Note: This report only includes high schools with a senior class. An asterisk * denotes no senior class in this year. Fourth Grade Results: Orleans + RSD Percent Meeting the Promotional Standard 2005 48% 2006 41% 2007 48% 2008 55% 2009 63% 2005 to 2009; State improved 6 percentage points; Orleans improved 15 points 2008 to 2009: State improved 1 percentage point; Orleans improved 8 points Eighth Grade Results: Orleans + RSD Percent Meeting the Promotional Standard 2006 37% 2007 43% 2008 43% 2009 52% 2006 to 2009; State improved 7 percentage points; Orleans improved 15 points 2008 to 2009: State improved 3 percentage point; Orleans improved 9 points Next Phase – Scaling Up, Including the District Offices Adaptive - Create district partnerships agreements between RSD and some or all of the 500+ chronically low achieving schools voluntarily agree to remove the barriers and institutionalize best practices. Adaptive - Included in this, transform the participating district office to become like the RSD. Thanks Leslie Jacobs Paul Vallas LA’s Recovery School District A turnaround zone where we: welcome and practice innovation every day. respond to unforeseen or the unexpected by adapting so that the enterprise can meet the needs of the schools we serve. remove the barriers to change in schools so that schools can control their own destiny