The State Role in Leading School Turnaround: Symposium Information and Downloads


The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of School Turnaround and the Center on School Turnaround recently held the annual School Improvement Grant (SIG) program symposium. This year’s symposium brought together State turnaround leadership teams to engage in meaningful conversations about how State Education Agencies (SEAs) can better support schools and districts in their turnaround efforts by cultivating a policy environment that promotes turnaround and by strategically managing the SIG program.

Agenda, Edited Volume, & Other Symposium Downloads

  • For a detailed overview of the symposium, download the Agenda.
  • Edited volume The State Role in School Turnaround: Emerging Best Practices. With chapters written by leading researchers and practitioners actively engaged in the work, this edited volume examines the role of the state education agency in school turnaround efforts. An emphasis is placed on practical application of research and best practice related to the State Education Agency’s (SEA’s) critical leadership role in driving and supporting successful school turnaround efforts.
  • Download the symposium Technical Assistance Resources Packet, which highlights a number of technical assistance resources that SEAs can use to make sure schools have access to the technical assistance they need. The highlighted resources include: The Office of School Turnaround, The School Turnaround Learning Community, The Center on School Turnaround, and Doing What Works.
  • To learn more about and follow the Center on School Turnaround’s Journeys demonstration project, please go to the Journeys Webpage where you can download Episode 1. You can also view the Journeys Flyer.
  • Center on School Turnaround Sustainability Webinar Series Flyer.
  • To learn more about symposium speakers, download their Biographies.
  • To see who attended the symposium, download the Participants List.

Plenary Materials

Session Descriptions & Materials

Policy to Practice to Policy Breakout Sessions #1 and #2

1. Recruiting, Selecting, Supporting, and Evaluating Teachers

Drawing on real-life examples, this session discussed the spectrum of guidance and supports that SEAs can consider, as it relates to the recruitment, selection, induction, mentoring, professional development, compensation, working conditions, and evaluation of teachers.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Ellen Behrstock Sherratt, Technical Assistance Support, Center on Great Teachers and Leaders
  • Presenting State: Washington
  • Attendees: AK, AZ, DE, FL, ID, NM, NY, PR, DE, TN, UT

2. The Role of SEAs and State Policies for Recruiting, Selecting, and Supporting Principals in Turnaround Environments

This session discussed the SEA’s role in helping LEAs establish leadership pipelines for turnaround schools and address several key school leadership questions: What innovative approaches are SEAs taking to recruit, select, train, and support principals for turnaround schools? What is the role of the State in establishing a policy environment to build a more robust and sustainable pipeline of school leaders?

3. The SEA Role in Developing High Quality and Sustainable Approaches to Increased Learning Time in School

This session provided an overview of State’s efforts to create policies that help SIG schools support and sustain implementation of Increased Learning Time as a central component of school turnaround.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Jennifer Davis, Co-Founder/President, National Center on Time & Learning; Ben Lummis, Vice President, Program and Policy, National Center on Time & Learning
  • Attendees: BIE, CA, GA, IA, MN, NC, OH, OK, WA, WV

4. Collaborative Labor-Management Relations/h3>

This session discussed the growing interest in labor-management collaboration and the impact this approach has had on State and local efforts to turn around their lowest performing schools. Special attention was given to the challenges created through the implementation of the School Improvement Grant program and specific strategies that SEAs can use to help local districts solve problems through collaboration rather than confrontation.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Adam Urbanski, Director, Teacher Union Reform Network; Ken Futernick, Project Director, School Turnaround Center, WestEd
  • Presenting State: Massachusetts
  • Attendees: CO, CT, IL, MI

5. School Climate to Enhance Achievement and Social and Emotional Learning in Turnaround Schools

This session discussed the SEA’s role in helping, through policy and guidance, LEAs and schools establish strong school climates that address barriers to learning and enhance students’ motivation to learn and bolster personal competencies for success.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Gregory Austin, Health and Human Development Program, WestEd
  • Presenting State: Minnesota
  • Attendees: AL, IN, MT, OR, VA

6. Family and Community Engagement for School Turnaround

This session discussed the SEA’s role in helping, through policy and guidance, to promote and ensure family and community engagement within LEAs and schools. It will include strategies to engage families and community leaders in supporting and participating in turnaround initiatives.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Susan Shaffer, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Equity Center
  • Presenting State: Maryland
  • Attendees: AR, KY, LA, MS, NJ, RI, SC

Managing the Change Breakout Session

1. Organizing for Change

This session discussed changes in SEA structure, policies, personnel, and programs to facilitate turnaround.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Justin Cohen, President, School Turnaround Group, Mass Insight Education; Alison Segal, Project Coordinator, School Turnaround Group, Mass Insight Education
  • Attendees: AL, CT, GA, IN, KS, MI, NH, PA, PRDE, TX

2. Sustaining the Change

This session discussed the importance of planned and well-executed implementation of turnaround structures and strategies to ensure their sustainability.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Dean Fixsen, National Implementation Research Network
  • Attendees: CA, DC, DE, FL, LA, NC, NJ, NM, NV, SC, WA

3. Managing Change through a Multi-State Consortium for Turnaround

This session discussed how five state Departments of Education, supported by RCCs and the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education at the University of Virginia, formed a consortium aimed at building SEA capacity and credibility, addressing school and district issues in school leadership development, and assessing district readiness.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Paul Koehler, Director, West Comprehensive Center, WestEd; William Robinson, Interim Executive Director, Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education
  • Presenting State: New Mexico
  • Attendees: IL, MN, OR, TN, UT, VA

4. Evaluation of SEA Turnaround Work

This session discussed emerging lessons learned in how States evaluate their efforts to support school and district turnaround efforts.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Daniel Aladjem, Managing Director, Policy Studies Associates
  • Attendees: AR, AZ, BIE, CO, HI, IA, ID, OH, RI, WI

5. The Role of School Boards in Turnaround

This session discussed the role of local school boards in school turnaround and discuss ways the SEA can build school board capacity for this work.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Related Material: Moving Beyond the Killer B’s
  • Presenter(s): Lauren Morando Rhim, Strategic Partner, Center on School Turnaround
  • Attendees: AK, KY, MD, MS, MT, NY, OK, WV, WY

Quality Technical Assistance Breakout Session

1. Innovation to Accelerate Turnaround

This session discussed the use of technology, to personalize learning and improve instruction, increase motivation, improve the collection and analysis of information and data, and streamline systems and processes.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Janet S. Twyman, Director of Innovation & Technology, Center on Innovations in Learning
  • Presenting State: Idaho
  • Attendees: DC, DE, GA, HI, ID, IL, KY, LA, MI, OR, WA, WV

2. The Role of Lead Partners and Other External Providers

This session reviewed SEA efforts to recruit, select, and monitor Lead Turnaround Partners and other external providers for turnaround schools.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Julie Corbett, President & Founder, Corbett Education Consulting LLC
  • Presenting State: Virginia
  • Attendees: AR, BIE, CA, FL, IN, MD, MN, NH, NJ, PRDE, RI, TN

3. Building Rural District Capacity

This session explored the role of the SEA in addressing the perceived disadvantages of rural LEAs, leveraging their strengths in order to address the recruitment, development, evaluation and retention of staff. It will also cover the use of distance technologies.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Sam Redding, Associate Director, Center on School Turnaround
  • Presenting State: Montana
  • Attendees: AK, AZ, MS, MT, NC, OK, PA, SC, TX, VA, WY

4. State Technical Assistance to Build LEA-School Infrastructure for Rigorous Instruction

Having a well-researched framework for quality instruction is necessary, but not sufficient to ensure that instruction improves in all classrooms in a turnaround school. This session examined how SEAs can support schools and districts in implementing good instruction.

  • PowerPoint Presentation: Download
  • Presenter(s): Barbara Sims, Associate Director, National Implementation Research Network
  • Attendees: AL, CO, CT, IA, KS, NM, NV, NY, OH, UT, WI