Assessing and Improving Special Education: A Program Review Tool for Schools and Districts Engaged in Rapid School Improvement

Anecdotal reports from those who have worked extensively in efforts to turn around persistently low-performing schools, and at least one state study of such schools,* suggest that our lowest-performing schools tend to have above-average enrollment of students with disabilities. For schools in which this is the case, successful turnaround will depend on a focused and data-driven effort to ensure … [Read more...]

A Rubric for Assessing Schools’ Plans for Rapid Improvement

School improvement planning has become more prevalent and important due to increased calls from federal and state governments, state education agencies (SEAs), and the general public for more accountability in education.  In many cases, the school principal is responsible for conceptualizing, drafting, and submitting the plan. However, there are very few publicly available tools that assess the … [Read more...]

Casting a Statewide Strategic Performance Net: Interlaced Data and Responsive Supports

The state education agency (SEA) has been shifting its emphasis for decades, from a compliance-focused authority to a change agent equipped with systems, processes, training, and support to heighten the progress of the local district and its schools. This publication highlights a strategic approach to performance management that fits neatly in the new organizational environment. Ideal for … [Read more...]

New CST Publication – Using Needs Assessments to Drive School and District Improvement

This document is a tactical guide that describes the core components for developing and administering needs assessments for improvement. The guide includes information on ESSA requirements, planning a needs assessment, designing a needs assessment, how a needs assessment is part of the improvement process, and key decision points. Worksheets are included to aid users in designing and developing … [Read more...]

New CST Publication – Promising Leadership Practices for Rapid School Improvement That Lasts

Promising Leadership Practices for Rapid School Improvement That Lasts By Dallas Hambrick Hitt & Coby V. Meyers, University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education Achieving rapid school improvement — most commonly referred to as “school turnaround” — is a complex undertaking. Equally challenging is the work of sustaining and even expanding on a school’s initial … [Read more...]

Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework

The Center on School Turnaround at WestEd (CST) has released the Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement. This framework was to assist states, districts, and schools in leading and managing rapid improvement efforts. The framework shares, in practical language, the critical practices of successful school turnaround in four domains, or areas of focus, that research and experience suggest are … [Read more...]

CST Publication – Special Education in the Turnaround Context: UP Education Network Schools in Massachusetts

Special Education in the Turnaround Context: UP Education Network Schools in Massachusetts By Colleen Eskow, Consultant, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools & Lauren Morando Rhim, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools UP Education Network (UP) is a school management organization that has been leading school turnaround efforts in Massachusetts since … [Read more...]

CST Publication – A First Look at State Responses to ESSA and Low-Performing Schools

A First Look at State Responses to ESSA and Low-Performing Schools Prepared By Caitlin Scott & Nora Ostler, Education Northwest The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of December 2015 identifies important new responsibilities and opportunities for state education agencies (SEAs) as their leaders work to turn around low-performing schools. This report reveals important information about … [Read more...]

New Module: Coaching and Developing Turnaround Leader Actions

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CST Publication – School Quality Indicators Scan

School Quality Indicators Scan By Deb Sigman & Lenay Dunn, WestEd The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to reconsider their accountability systems for schools and districts. Many of the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act are continued under ESSA, including judging schools by such academic measures as students’ proficiency on annual assessments, … [Read more...]