The creation, collection, and dissemination of information on research-based and emerging promising practices about school turnaround will serve two purposes: (1) to provide educators with current, research-based, and actionable information on school turnaround; and (2) to provide the Center with research and emerging promising practices on which to develop its technical assistance tools, collaborations, trainings, and implementation supports.
CST Fall Conference: September 23-24, 2014
On September 23 – 34, the Center on School hosted a two-day fall conference, entitled Building Systemic and Sustainable Turnaround Efforts: An SEA Discussion. The conference was designed for SEA turnaround and improvement leaders and their teams. The conference was centered around three topics; 1) leaders in turn around schools; 2) district capacity to support school turnaround; and, 3) State support for school turnaround. The conference offered the opportunity to speak with experts in the turnaround field and allowed states to share practices.
The conference had four breakout sessions where SEA staff from Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, Montana, Georgia, New Hampshire, Virginia, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Indiana, Kentucky , and Washington presented to attendees on a variety of turnaround-related topics including, Planning and Preparing Districts and Schools for Turnaround, Leveraging Change in Districts through a School Turnaround Network, Measuring District Effectiveness, Effective Leadership in Turnaround Schools: Principals Pursuing Excellence, Developing Intentional Statewide Tiered Support Systems, and Ensuring Equity for All Students. Each facilitated session included time after the presentation for table talk among SEA staff around four pointed questions that would elicit productive discussion and encourage connections and collaboration.
All the materials, including the breakout session PowerPoint presentations, are now available for download.
- Explore the Role of School Boards in Creating Successful Schools – August 18, 2014
A Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network (TA&D Network) and CST Webinar
- Community Engagement in School Turnaround: Reaching and Engaging Rural Stakeholders – August 07, 2014
A School Turnaround Learning Community (STLC) and and CST Webinar
- Community Engagement in School Turnaround – June 26, 2014
A School Turnaround Learning Community (STLC) and Reform Support Network (RSN) Webinar Series
- Journeys Project Webinar – Journey to School Improvement: The Personalized Mastery Approach – March 19, 2014
- Fostering Success for English Learners in Turnaround Schools: What State Education Agencies Need to Know and Be Able to Do – September 11, 2013
- Moving Beyond the Killer B’s: The Role of School Boards in School Accountability and Transformation – June 5, 2013
- Successful School Turnarounds through Labor-Management Partnerships – A Webinar for State Education Agencies – May 21, 2013
Publication: District Readiness to Support School Turnaround
This guide, written by Daniel Player, Dallas Hambrick Hitt, and William Robinson from Center on School Turnaround partner, the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education, provides SEAs and districts (LEAs) with guidance about how to assess the district’s readiness to support school turnaround initiatives. Often, school turnaround efforts focus only on the school’s structure and leadership. Rarely do policymakers or practitioners think about school turnaround as a system-level issue requiring fundamental changes in district-level practice to establish the conditions for school turnaround to succeed.
The Edited Volume will provide research and examples of practice on how state educational agencies (SEAs) manage school turnaround. Main chapters will include a literature review, framework, and action principles for the SEA. Brief chapters will focus on a turnaround-related topic, especially as it applies to a subset of schools or student populations. The Edited Volume is organized around the Center’s objectives, the SEA System of Recognition, Accountability, and Support change levers (Opportunity, Incentives, Capacity—Systemic, Capacity—Local), and ED’s turnaround principles.
SIG Turnaround Success Stories
Over 1300 schools completed the first three-year cycle of School Improvement Grants (SIG) in 2013. The CST is working with Regional Comprehensive Centers (RCCs) and associated SEAs to identify and shine a spotlight on some of the successful SIG Cohort I schools across the country. To identify these Success Stories, CST staff contacted RCCs to nominate schools in their region. Several RCCs and SEAs suggested schools and CST staff working through this list by examining data and discussing the nominees with RCC and SEA staff. Leaders from identified schools will be interviewed, as well as district and state staff, to understand the school’s turnaround efforts. This project will produce case studies describing what the school did to achieve its success, a report looking at lessons learned across sites, and webinars and presentations.
Reaching for the Holy Grail: Successful and Sustainable School Turnaround
Sustainability is a component of SIG grants but to date, there is a dearth of research about sustainability. This cross-sector literature review brief will synthesize emerging literature about sustainability. Reflecting the thin literature base, the literature review will include examining research on comprehensive school reform sustainability and relevant research from other sectors (e.g. business, municipal governments, military).
A follow-up brief will synthesize emerging literature to advance SEA personnel’s understanding of factors that contribute to sustainable change.
The research will advance SEA’s understanding of the concept of sustainability beyond basic financial resources and improve their ability to provide technical assistance on this topic.
State Policies that Support Turnaround
The CST is developing a series of 3-5 page overview documents of specific policies, highlighting: 1) why the specific policy/legislation/rule is useful or supportive of turnaround, 2) the process used to pass the policy/law/rule, and 3) notes for other states to consider if thinking about enacting a similar policy. Policies will clearly turnaround-related (i.e. Mississippi’s takeover authority and the amendment that includes removal of board members), or a supporting policy (i.e., Illinois’ new regulations for principal certification).
Building Personal Competencies as Turnaround Strategies
Turnaround strategies typically focus on leadership and instruction. A missing dimension may be the cluster of personal competencies, for both personnel and students that include cognitive competency, metacognitive competency, motivational competency, and social/emotional competency. These personal competencies are intentionally recognized, nurtured, and built through the school culture, professional development, instruction, and student supports. They are enhanced through the relational suasion of teachers and staff and through personalization of instruction.
This project will include a series of four publications, with coordination among authors to achieve coherence. Tentative titles: Arts Infusion as a School Transformation Strategy; Building Intentional Schoolwide Norms Linked to Personal Competencies: A School Transformation Strategy; Schoolwide Effects of “Personal Competency Interventions”; and Building Personal Competency in the School Culture and Effects on School Climate.
Early Childhood Education Turnaround Project
At the request of the U.S. Department of Education, the CST is working with Content Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) to promote the use of PK-3 Best Practices as strategies to help turnaround the nation’s lowest performing schools. The project will identify examples of successful turnaround schools that have used PK-3 Best Practices as strategies in their efforts.