Creating Recovery School Districts to Drive Reforms: Lessons from Louisiana

September 2011

This essay was written for the PIE Network 5th Annual Policy Summit, September 2011

Six years after Hurricane Katrina, the Recovery School District's landmark efforts to rebuild New Orleans schools are posting impressive gains. Student academic progress in RSD schools outpaced gains made in the rest of Louisiana's schools in each of the last four years. RSD schools in New Orleans posted an historic 25% improvement in this time. Today, states across the country are looking at Louisiana’s experience to figure out how to build their own RSD. This essay outlines some of the key lessons Louisiana’s leaders offered fellow state leaders in a recent meeting on the progress of the RSD.

This essay draws from a CRPE working paper, On Recovery School Districts and Stronger State Education Agencies: Lessons from Louisiana, part of a new multi-year initiative on on how states can become more capable, especially in moving big city districts toward bold experimentation and rapid improvement.