The State Role in School Turnaround: Emerging Best Practices

The State Role in School Turnaround: Emerging Best Practices

This Lauren Morando Rhim and Sam Redding Edited Volume examines the role of the state education agency (SEA) in school turnaround efforts with an emphasis placed on practical application of research and best practice related to the SEA’s critical leadership role. Download & More…

Turnaround Journeys

The Journeys Project

Most school improvement efforts are described only after the turnaround process is complete. However, in The Journeys Project, we document schools throughout the turnaround process: What are the early challenges, decisions, and results? How do schools handle roadblocks? Where do they turn for advice and support? What happens when things don’t go according to plan? More…

School Turnaround Learning Community

ALL NEW School Turnaround Learning Community Website

The School Turnaround Learning Community (STLC) has just re-launched their website. The site has a fresh design, improved navigation, and several exciting new features including an upgraded resource library and search functionality, topic specific collections, workspaces around key turnaround topics, and announcements about events. More…

What We Do

The Center on School Turnaround (Center) is part of a federal network of 15 Regional Comprehensive Centers, serving individual states or clusters of states, and seven national Content Centers. The 22 Comprehensive Centers are charged with building the capacity of state educational agencies (SEAs) to assist districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals.

The partners and collaborators in this Center—WestEd, the Academic Development Institute, the University of Virginia’s Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education, the National Implementation Research Network, Public Impact, the National Center on Time and Learning, Education Northwest, and a panel of nationally known education experts—strongly believe that efforts to turn around the nation’s persistently low-achieving schools can move from a system that focuses on islands of excellence to the “way we do business” in the United States.

Our Work

Although there are numerous examples of schools with a history of dismal student performance that have turned themselves into successful learning organizations, previous efforts to systematically turn around our nation’s lowest achieving schools have not been successful. There is reason to believe, however, that we can increase the odds of achieving success. A bright spotlight on these chronically low-performing schools and a sense of urgency to change their trajectory, coupled with additional funding and a strong set of policy-driven interventions, have created a unique opportunity to drive dramatic change that will benefit children.


The goal of the Center on School Turnaround is to provide technical assistance and identify, synthesize, and disseminate research-based practices and emerging promising practices that will lead to SEAs’ increased capacity to support districts in turning around their lowest-performing schools.

To achieve this goal, the Center has identified four objectives that provide the work plan’s overall frame and are key to creating an environment at the state level that encourages school turnaround.

  1. Create a Pro-Turnaround Statutory and Regulatory Environment
  2. Administer and Manage Turnaround Efforts Effectively
  3. Provide Targeted and Timely Technical Assistance to Local Educational Agencies and Schools
  4. Advocate and Lead to Build Support for Local Turnaround Efforts

Meeting these four objectives will realize the goal of increased SEA capacity to support schools and districts in turning around their lowest-performing schools. The Center work plan is organized around focus areas that are derived primarily from identified needs of schools and districts. The activities undertaken in each focus area are designed to help states build capacity to implement state-level initiatives and support district- and school-level initiatives to meet those local needs. The Center’s focus areas are the following: