How can states, districts, and schools measure the success of their turnaround efforts? This report by Public Impact, in partnership with the Center on School Turnaround, offers a national model for defining and measuring turnaround success that can be adapted to fit local contexts, with an approach to measuring academic gains using state data, and recommendations for expanding the approach to include leading indicators and targets based on school priorities for “early wins.”
After several unsuccessful turnaround efforts and years of chronic low performance at Cameron Middle School, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) decided to try something different to dramatically improve student outcomes: gradually convert operation of the school from the district to a charter management organization. This 2014 report for MNPS tells the story behind the conversion, evaluates its successes and challenges, and extracts lessons learned for MNPS and other districts working to build their capacity to better support their lowest performing schools.
“Extraordinary authority districts”—turnaround districts in which states gain legal authority to take over and operate chronically underperforming schools and/or districts—can fundamentally transform school structures and practices. In this brief, Public Impact, in partnership with America Achieves, compiles common challenges and lessons learned from early-implementing EAD state leaders who met for a wide-ranging discussion in 2013. Many of the takeaways are relevant no matter where a state stands in the process of pursuing a successful school turnaround strategy.
This report for the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education explores lessons about when and how organizations in other sectors import leaders – including how they tempt people away, train them, and foster their success – to inform efforts by state and local leaders to import talent for failing schools. One of the biggest challenges in education today is identifying talented candidates to successfully lead turnarounds of persistently low-achieving schools. [Read more…]
District-led, dramatic change efforts in failing schools—including turnarounds and school closures—often face strong resistance from families and communities. This 2012 report and related presentation share lessons learned about the barriers districts and communities across the country have faced in building community demand for dramatic change as well as strategies for overcoming those barriers. The report includes three vignettes about efforts to build community demand for dramatic change in Denver, Philadelphia, and Chicago schools.
This paper, produced for the University of Virginia’s School Turnaround Specialist Program, describes how using competencies that predict performance can improve turnaround principal selection, evaluation, and development. Although the term “competency” often describes any work-related skill, in this context competencies are the underlying motives and habits—patterns of thinking, feeling, acting, and speaking—that cause a person to be successful in a specific job or role. [Read more…]
In school turnarounds, leading indicators can provide early evidence about whether a school is on track – and if not, how to intervene to increase the odds of success. In this report, we summarize the research and experience from other settings in which leaders have long relied on leading indicators to enhance the likelihood of success. From these lessons, we identify key principles and processes to guide the design and use of leading indicators in education. We also present a starting list of leading indicators and a proposed monitoring timetable for district, state, and other education leaders to use in turnaround schools. Read more…