In 2007, civic and philanthropic leaders founded the nonprofit Partnership for Los Angeles Schools to transform some of the city’s highest-need, lowest-performing schools. Eleven years later, schools in the Partnership network have made notable improvements, with much more substantial gains in student performance relative to other schools in the state. This report from Public Impact examines the Partnership’s unique “in-district” model for school turnarounds and the findings from an analysis of student academic data to understand how the Partnership has addressed the significant challenges facing low-resource schools.
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.
In successful turnarounds, staff dismissals are typically small in number, and focused on employees who cannot or will not make the radical change necessary to dramatically improve performance. In this report, written by Julie Kowal, Jacob L. Rosch, Emily Ayscue Hassel, and Bryan C. Hassel, for the Center on Innovation and Improvement, we examine the research base on performance-based dismissals in other sectors to offer strategies for leaders in turnaround schools. A PowerPoint summary of the report is available here.
This 2009 report, written by Dana Brinson and Lauren Morando Rhim for the Center on Innovation and Improvement, provides five brief profiles of schools that dramatically improved student performance and successfully restructured under federal accountability systems. All five schools failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for several consecutive years, and—once in restructuring—had to chart a course to overhaul the way their schools operated. [Read more…]
The School Turnaround section of the Doing What Works website, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, features video interviews with Bryan C. Hassel about the leadership strategies that recur in successful turnarounds and the district’s role in supporting turnaround principals. Julie Kowal offers expert advice about strategies for motivating and redeploying staff, and discusses the district’s role in supporting principals’ staffing changes in turnaround schools.
Prepared for the Center on Innovation and Improvement, this updated and expanded version of Public Impact’s 2005 paper reviews the considerable literature from the business, nonprofit, government, and education sectors on what factors make turnarounds most likely to succeed, including the actions turnaround leaders take and the environment in which they work. Click here for a presentation based on this report.