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The Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD) is a state turnaround agency whose mission is to transform chronically underperforming schools across the state to raise student achievement so that all Louisiana students can attain a college degree or professional career. The RSD has been nationally recognized as one of the most innovative public school districts in the country due to its unique system of governance, which supports autonomy and encourages innovation while ensuring accountability. The percentage of RSD students in New Orleans performing at grade level has doubled in the past five years, increasing from 28% in 2008 to 57% in 2013.
Created by legislation passed in 2003, the RSD is designed to intervene in the lowest performing schools in Louisiana and transform them by identifying top school leaders and teachers to operate the schools, giving those staff members the freedom to educate children as they know best, and giving parents the power to choose the schools that are best for their children. The majority of schools in the RSD are located in New Orleans due to legislation enacted after Hurricane Katrina, but low-performing schools throughout the state can be placed in the RSD by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). In the 2013-14 school year, the RSD will directly operate 15 schools and oversee 59 charter schools.