Charter schools in New Orleans formed the LA COOP to promote and support meaningful special education service delivery.
Based on recommendations outlined in The Special Education Project: A Study of 23 Charter Schools in the Recovery School District, a project funded by the Charter School Program of the U.S. Department of Education during 2008, charter schools in New Orleans formed the LA COOP to promote and support meaningful special education service delivery. Funded by New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools (LAPCS) through grants from the Walton Family Foundation and local funders, the LA COOP currently exceeds 40 member schools. During SY 2010/2011, Recovery School Districtâ€™s (RSDâ€™s) Superintendent John White announced his â€śWhat Will It Takeâ€ť Plan detailing a â€śdozen commitmentsâ€ť to streamline a fragmented public and charter school system. Under Whiteâ€™s leadership, the RSD began to prioritize authorizer monitoring and oversight as its main function. As the Recovery School District (RSD) began to downsize and withdraw from its service delivery role, LA COOP leaders initiated discussions with RSD officials to consider the possibility of having the LA COOP assume more responsibility for special education in New Orleans. Transforming the LA COOP into an expanded technical assistance and support organization to complement and coincide with the RSDâ€™s changing focus from service provision to quality assurance has presented an extraordinary opportunity to reform special education for all schools in New Orleans. Supported by a grant from the Booth Bricker Fund, LA COOP Officers and Co Directors, LAPCS representatives, RSD and LDE officials, and consulting attorneys began to develop a vision for the LA COOP Transformation.