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

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

1 Restructuring: What We Know About the NCLB Options Bryan C. Hassel, Ph.D. 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 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 2 NCLB Restructuring: The Five Options Chartering Closing and reopening as a public charter school Staff Replacement 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 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 3 Our Research Review 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

4 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 4 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

5 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 5 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

6 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 6 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: Leaders must possess a steely will and a compass set firmly on children’s learning.

7 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 7 Dramatic Change / NCLB Options TurnaroundsFresh Starts Chartering Issue charter to enable turnaround actions Issue charter to new governance / leadership Replace staff Bring in new turnaround leader; replace some staff Reconstitute school with turnaround leader, new staff Contracting Hire outside provider to lead turnaround Hire outside provider to start fresh with new team State Takeover Take over school and appoint turnaround leader Take over school and start fresh with new team Other Major Changes Pursue turnaround actions in other ways ??

8 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 8 Turnarounds: Research Base Numerous case studies and multi-case analyses Public, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations Wide range of rigor Sources: Summarized in J. Kowal & E. Hassel (2006, Available: / ) and distilled by CII in Hassel, Hassel, and Wong framework (unpublished) /

9 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 9 Consistent pattern of successful turnarounds Phase 1: Initial dramatic improvement Focus on limited, high-priority goals Vigorously implement strategies, even when deviate from standard practices Organization “learns how to win” Phase 2: Extending / Sustaining Tackling additional goals Building systems to sustain

10 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 10 Simple Model of Successful School Turnarounds Learning Results Effective School Practice Leader Actions Leader Capabilities District Governance & Environment

11 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 11 Leader Capabilities More research needed on this topic Turnaround leaders differ from standard organizational leaders Rare combination of: Entrepreneur-style drive for results High influence competency inside and outside Successful principals in non-failing schools may not succeed as turnaround leaders

12 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 12 Leader Actions: The Fast Turnaround Cycle Analysis and Problem- Solving Driving for Results Measuring and Reporting Influencing Inside and Outside

13 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 13 Actions: Analyzing and Problem Solving Collecting and personally analyzing school and student performance data Concentrating in year one on a few very important goals with big, fast payoffs Making an action plan based on data

14 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 14 Actions: Driving for Results Implementing strategies even when they require deviations from current practices / policies Requiring all staff to change; not making it optional Making necessary but limited staff replacements: those who cannot or do not make needed changes Funneling more time and money into successful tactics / halting unsuccessful tactics Acting in relentless pursuit of goals, rather than touting progress as ultimate success

15 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 15 Actions: Influencing Inside and Outside Communicating positive vision of future school results Helping staff personally “see and feel” the problems students face Getting key influencers within district and school to support major changes Silencing change naysayers by showing speedy successes

16 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 16 Actions: Measuring and Reporting Measuring, reporting progress frequently, publicly Gathering staff in frequent open-air meetings, requiring all involved in decision making to disclose results and problem solve

17 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 17 Simple Model of Successful School Turnarounds Learning Results Effective School Practice Leader Actions Leader Capabilities District Governance & Environment

18 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 18 Environment More research needed Themes from existing research: Stakeholder support Time expectation for initial results relatively short Time for planning Freedom to act: general, but especially staffing Support at district level for changes and non- standard practices Performance monitoring

19 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 19 Fresh Starts: Research Base Very limited experience with fresh starts as response to chronically low-performing schools Much of early experience is negative: Chaotic, rushed re-openings Disappointing results Much more experience with general contracting / chartering

20 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 20 Fresh Starts: Key Lessons Rigorous selection process Time to plan / prepare Importance of leadership Board and/or EMO-level School level (principal / CEO) True fresh start Freedom to act Staff aligned with mission / approach

21 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 21 Choosing the Right Option: Key Considerations Willingness to: allow operators freedom to act hold accountable Willingness to: allow turnaround leaders freedom to act hold accountable Governance Capacity (District or State) Availability of fresh start providers Availability of turnaround leaders Supply Fresh StartsTurnarounds

22 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 22 Additional Choices What specific strategies and practices should turnaround or fresh start schools pursue? This takes us into more familiar “effective schools” territory

23 Center on Innovation and Improvement - Public Impact - NCLB Restructuring 23 Discussion What are some challenges with implementing these kinds of approaches in your states? What state actions could pave the way for more successful turnarounds or fresh starts?


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