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Restructuring: What We Know About the NCLB Options Bryan C. Hassel Public Impact Based on research conducted for the Center for Comprehensive School Reform.

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Presentation on theme: "Restructuring: What We Know About the NCLB Options Bryan C. Hassel Public Impact Based on research conducted for the Center for Comprehensive School Reform."— Presentation transcript:

1 Restructuring: What We Know About the NCLB Options Bryan C. Hassel Public Impact Based on research conducted for the Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement by the Public Impact team including Emily Ayscue Hassel, Matt Arkin, Julie Kowal, and Lucy Steiner

2 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 2 NCLB Restructuring: The Five Options Chartering Closing and reopening as a public charter school Turnarounds Replacing school staff, including the principal, “relevant” to the failure Contracting Contracting with an outside entity to operate the school State Takeovers Turning school operations over to the state educational agency Other Engaging in another form of major restructuring that makes fundamental reforms

3 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 3 NCLB Restructuring by the Numbers Recent AP analysis: 1,750 schools in restructuring nationwide Up 44% from previous year Predicted to increase sharply in coming years 70% of schools are in 7 states: – CA, GA, IL, MI, NJ, NY, PA Source: Ben Feller, “Rising Number of Schools Face Penalties,” Associated Press, May 9, 2006.

4 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 4 NCLB Restructuring: What’s Happening? No official numbers available on options chosen But multiple analyses (Center for Ed Policy, ECS, AP) suggest districts are overwhelmingly choosing Option 5, “Other” Wide range of change strategies appearing under “Other”

5 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 5 Our Project for CCSRI “What We Know” papers on four of the options: Reopening as a Charter School Turnarounds with New Leaders and Staff Contracting with External Providers State Takeovers All available at:

6 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 6 Our Methodology Research about actual experience with the options in schools Research about analogous change approaches across organization types Interviews with educators and researchers More weight to actual empirical studies of change efforts vs. theory/conjecture Focus on true chronic low-performers

7 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 7 Big Lessons about Restructuring Big Lesson 1: Large, fast improvements are different from incremental changes over time. Major types of dramatic change: “Turnarounds” – same organization, new or newly empowered and specially qualified leader “Fresh Starts” – new team building new culture from scratch

8 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 8 Restructuring vs. Incremental Improvement Definition When Appropriate Incremental Improvement Steady changes in curriculum, instruction, and organization Schools with satisfactory performance that want to improve over time Restructuring Dramatic change in governance by altering who makes decisions and how Schools with chronic, very low performance needing rapid, dramatic change

9 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 9 Big Lessons about Restructuring, cont. Big Lesson 2: Eliminating low-performing schools is not a one-time project, it is a commitment that is a core part of district work. Big Lesson 3: District leaders must possess a steely will and a compass set firmly on children’s learning.

10 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 10 How-to Lessons Across the Options Providing governance Good governance by the district (or state) ensures that the rest of the ingredients are included in the mix.  Choosing the best restructuring option for a school  Choosing the right leaders / providers  Creating the right environment for change  Acting again when first attempts don’t work

11 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 11 How-to Lessons Across the Options, continued Managing stakeholders They can enable or break a change effort. Managing stakeholders well is a key differentiator of successful efforts to make radically large learning improvements in schools.

12 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 12 Choosing the right school leaders  Leadership looks different in successful turnarounds and fresh starts  Competencies such as driving for results, problem solving, and influence stand-out  Fresh start leaders more like entrepreneurs  Turnaround leaders combine attributes of entrepreneurs and within-organization leaders How-to-Lessons Across the Options, continued

13 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 13 How-to-Lessons Across the Options, continued Creating the right environment for leaders of restructuring schools Freedom to act on certain key issues Accountability Timeframes Support that helps without hijacking

14 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 14 Ensuring organizational practices How-to-Lessons Across the Options, continued Effective school practices: Schools where students learn more than similar students in other schools follow these very consistently, and this has been well- documented in repeated research. Staffing: Whether culled from existing staff or hired from outside the preexisting school, staff members willing to do what works are critical.

15 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 15 Option-Specific Lessons: Chartering System Level Governance Rigorous selection process Adequate resources Community engagement Environmental Factors Freedom to act Accountability Timetable School Level Governance Clarity of roles on board Board sticking to governance, not day-to-day school management *Continued on next page…

16 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 16 Option-Specific Lessons: Chartering, continued School Leadership Driving for results Solving problems Showing confidence Influencing others Organizational Factors All staff, old and new, must agree with and act on school’s mission Effective school design elements

17 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 17 Option-Specific Lessons: State Takeover System Level Governance Entity that has oversight responsibility Office that supports the oversight body School Level Governance Ensure that restructuring includes selection of a group to oversee each individual school Environmental Factors Accountability Additional support Freedom to act Organizational Factors Effective school design elements

18 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 18 Option-Specific Lessons: Contracting System Level Governance Selection process, rigor, transparency, fairness Community involvement Ongoing oversight and accountability Environmental Factors Timetable Contract terms District support School Level Governance Research has not determined effective EMO school governance models *Continued on next page…

19 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 19 Option-Specific Lessons: Contracting, continued School Leadership Driving for results Solving problems Showing confidence Influencing others Organizational Factors Ensure that union contract waivers are available to allow practices crucial to student success Effective school design elements

20 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 20 Option-Specific Lessons: Turnaround Governance Choosing the right school turnaround leaders Providing timely support and aligned systems Allowing turnaround leaders freedom Establishing accountability Environmental Factors Parent and community support Timeline for change Leadership Actions Leader actions concentrating on a few very important changes with big fast payoffs Acting to implement practices proven to work even when they require deviations from district policies.

21 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 21 Option-Specific Lessons: Turnaround, continued Leader Competencies Driving for results Solving problems Showing confidence Influence Teamwork and cooperation Conceptual thinking Team Leadership Organizational commitment Communicating a compelling vision

22 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 22 Option-Specific Lessons: Turnaround, continued Organizational Factors Staff replacement not necessary for a successful turnaround Initially focus on actions needed for immediate results in target areas, rather than broad cultural change School design

23 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 23 What Works When? A Guide for Education Leaders

24 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 24 Restructuring Roadmap Step 1: Take Charge of Change – Big Change Step 2: Choose the Right Changes o Organizing your district team o Assessing your district’s capacity o Deciding whether to invite state takeover of the restructuring process and failing schools o Planning to manage stakeholders o Fine tuning your district team o Planning the analysis and decision process o Prioritizing among schools o Considering turnarounds, chartering and contracting o Making final restructuring decisions across a district (and reconsidering state takeover)

25 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 25 Restructuring Roadmap Step 3: Implement the Plan Step 4: Evaluate, Improve, and Act on Failures After approval by your school board: o Setting goals for implementation o Removing implementation roadblocks o Using resources for implementation o Implementing your restructuring plan(s) o Evaluating success – improved enough? o Improving schools ready for incremental change; replicating successes in future decisions o Acting on failures: Back to Step 1 for schools not improved enough to be ready for incremental change

26 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 26 Tools Available in Guide Detailed checklists for process organizers Tools to help assemble district restructuring team Tools to help work with stakeholders Analytic checklists to determine district capacity to undertake options

27 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 27 Step 1: Take Charge of Change—Big Change A. Get Started Decide who will be on the initial district restructuring team. Assess your district’s capacity to restructure low- performing schools directly. Invite your state to take over the restructuring process if needed. B. Plan Stakeholder Roles Make a plan to include stakeholders in choosing school restructuring strategies. Invite or notify stakeholders to participate as decided; make additions to district

28 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 28 Step 1: Take Charge of Change—Big Change, continued C. Prepare Your Team to Perform Determine leadership and roles on the district restructuring team. Determine whether and which external experts and facilitators are needed. Determine process for the district restructuring team. Create a standing agenda for district restructuring team meetings.

29 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 29 Step 1: Take Charge of Change—Big Change, continued Tools What Works When Restructuring Decision Tree Restructuring Team Checklist Assessing Your District’s Capacity to Lead Change—a Guided SWOT Analysis District Behavior Shifts to Enable Success in Previously Unsuccessful Schools Restructuring Stakeholder Summary Restructuring Stakeholder Planner Meeting Action Planner

30 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 30 Step 2: Choose the Right Changes A. Plan the Process Decide when and how the district team will decide what restructuring options are feasible within the district. Decide who will analyze each individual school and recommend a restructuring strategy to the superintendent. Decide when and how the district team will review restructuring recommendations across the district before presenting to the school board.

31 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 31 Step 2: Choose the Right Changes, continued B. Analyze Failure and Determine When Focused Changes May Work Determine whether whole school needs restructuring. Determine which if any subgroups need major, focused changes

32 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 32 Step 2: Choose the Right Changes, continued C. Choose Among Turnarounds, Chartering and Contracting Review the Restructuring Checklists on chartering, turnarounds, and contracting. Determine whether turnaround leaders are available for each school. Assess your district’s capacity to support turnarounds. Assess your supply of good external school providers. Assess your district’s capacity to charter and contract. Determine whether your state has a good charter law. Determine whether contracting is appropriate.

33 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 33 Step 2: Choose the Right Changes, continued D. Make Final Restructuring Decisions Across the District (District Team) Review detailed requirements for success for each recommended strategy using the What Works When Education Leaders’ Summaries in the Appendix. Assess your district’s capacity to support the recommended restructuring strategies across the district. Reconsider state takeover for schools you do not have capacity to restructure. Articulate recommendation for each school, major reasons for choosing it, and strategies to influence school board to accept recommendation.

34 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 34 Step 2: Choose the Right Changes, continued Tools School-Level Restructuring Decision Tree Whole-School or Focused Restructuring? Restructuring Checklists Do You Have Turnaround Leaders? District Capacity to Support Turnarounds District Capacity to Support Chartering and Contracting Does Your State Have a Good Charter Law? Should You Charter or Contract? Proposed Restructuring Strategies

35 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 35 Step 3: Implement the Plan Engage outside expertise for restructuring implementation if needed. Set implementation goals, including improvement targets and timelines. Address implementation roadblocks as needed. Utilize existing resources to implement each restructuring strategy well.

36 Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 36 Step 4: Evaluate, Improve, and Act on Failures Engage outside evaluation expertise if needed. Use the goals, including improvement targets and timelines, which you established during implementation; also use the Restructuring Checklists. Clarify who is accountable for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data. Consider restructuring again in schools that have not improved substantially. Use evaluation findings to make better restructuring decisions in the future.


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