Advisory board set up to help Recovery School District schools

The Recovery School District on Friday announced that a 22-member advisory board has been formed to assist with a network of seven RSD-run schools in north Baton Rouge called the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone.

The board, which first met in November, includes politicians, community and religious leaders, educators and parents from Baton Rouge. Two of them are East Baton Rouge Parish School Board members Craig Freeman and Barbara Freiberg.

Other prominent figures are State Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards and Star Hill Baptist Church Pastor Raymond Jetson. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., also has a representative on the advisory board.

RSD spokeswoman Zooey Reed said the advisory board does not meet on a regular schedule, its meetings are private, and it has opted thus far not to elect a chairman or president from its ranks.

In the news release issued Friday, RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard emphasized the diversity and the commitment of the new board.

“I look forward to working with them as they lead the community discussion around the school turnaround and transformation in the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone,” Dobard said.

The board is already visiting schools and participating in roundtable discussions with various education organizations, and spent much of this past week on an RSD-sponsored visit to four charter schools in New Orleans, Reed said.

The board is planning to hold a series of forums to stimulate public discussion about what should be the priorities of schools located in the Achievement Zone. The board will subsequently develop a report filled with findings and recommendations drawn from the forums.

RSD formed the Achievement Zone in April 2012 in hopes of creating a charter school-heavy network of schools, similar to New Orleans, that would improve student achievement in the historically low-performing schools in north Baton Rouge. RSD leaders have been in discussions for months with East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Bernard Taylor about expanding the zone beyond the seven schools it currently contains.

To see all the members go to http://www.rsdla.net/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=266373&id=0.