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School Turnarounds Sam Redding, EdD Center on Innovation and Improvement.

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Presentation on theme: "School Turnarounds Sam Redding, EdD Center on Innovation and Improvement."— Presentation transcript:

1 School Turnarounds Sam Redding, EdD Center on Innovation and Improvement

2 Why? Why so much interest in the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker? Why so much interest in School Turnarounds?

3 What Prompted the Interest in School Turnarounds? NCLB Restructuring 1.Reopen the school as a public charter school. 2.Replace all or most of the school staff, which may include the principal. 3.Contract with an outside entity to operate the school. 4.Turn the operation of the school over to the state educational agency. 5.Engage in another form of major restructuring that makes fundamental reforms.

4 Questions 1.Have some low-performing schools turned around? 2.Do we understand why they turned around? 3.Can the turnaround variables be reduced to a set of practical steps? 4.Can we apply this set of practical steps to intentionally turn a school around? 5.Which schools, under what conditions?

5 Terminology Effective School Beat-the-Odds School Reconstitution Restructuring New Start Turnaround Continuous Improvement Trajectory Rapid Improvement Trajectory

6 Group Discussion The term “turnaround” is applied to schools that need to go very much in the opposite direction. In other words, these are the extreme cases of schools mired in chronic low performance. 1.Do you know of schools that fit this definition of a school in need of dramatic turnaround? 2.Describe these schools, their contexts, their histories, the way they operate, and the relationships among people connected with them.

7 The IES Turnaround Report Institute of Education Sciences Released in May 2008 Panel and staff worked for almost 1 year prior Goal: Formulate specific and coherent evidence-based recommendations for use by educators aiming to quickly and dramatically improve student achievement in low- performing schools.

8 Definition of Turnaround School began as chronically poor performer—with a high proportion of their students (generally 20% or more) failing to meet state standards of proficiency in mathematics or reading over 2 or more consecutive years. School showed substantial gains in student achievement in a short time (no more than 3 years). Examples: –Reducing by at least 10 percentage points the proportion of students failing to meet state standards for proficiency in mathematics or reading –Showing similarly large improvements in other measures of academic performance (such as lowering the dropout rate by 10 percentage points or more), or improving overall performance on standardized mathematics or reading tests by an average of 10 percentage points (or about 0.25 standard deviations).

9 Problems With the Evidence No random-assignment, controlled studies Some cross-sector studies Mostly case studies Mostly studies done “after the fact” Evidence to support recommendations— from 10 case studies of 35 schools (21 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, and 6 high schools)

10 Why Report Weak Evidence? Formulate concepts about turnarounds. Give some direction to the field. Inform and encourage future research. Draw cautious conclusion that will “do no harm.” Weak evidence does not mean no evidence. Evidence tempered with expert opinion

11 Caveat Using their knowledge of school change, panel members emphasize that school turnaround encompasses a set of actions and practices. A school cannot select only one recommendation from this practice guide and reasonably expect quick results.

12 4 Recommendations 1.Signal the need for dramatic change with strong leadership. 2.Maintain a consistent focus on improving instruction. 3.Make visible improvements early in the school turnaround process (quick wins). 4.Build a committed staff.

13 What the Recommendations Mean Explanation Examples Roadblocks Solutions

14 Turnaround: Evidence and Actions Cross-Sector Evidence –Environmental Context Timetable—Planning, Implementing, Sustaining Freedom To Act Support and Aligned Systems Performance Monitoring Community Engagement –Turnaround Leadership Leader Actions Leader Capabilities

15 Discussion Questions 1.School leader: What would you (as a school leader) want to do to improve your school that you are currently not able to do? 2.Central office administrator: What would you (as a central office administrator) like to see school leaders doing that they are currently not doing? Why is it necessary to have constraints on what school leaders can do?

16 Leader Actions: Initial Analysis and Problem Solving Collect and Analyze Data Make Action Plan Based on Data

17 Leader Actions: Driving for Results Concentrate on Big, Fast Payoffs in Year 1 Implement Practices, Even if Require Deviation Require All Staff To Change Make Necessary Staff Replacements Focus on Successful Tactics; Halt Others Do Not Tout Progress as Ultimate Success

18 Leader Actions: Influencing Inside and Outside the Organization Communicate a Positive Vision Help Staff Personally Feel Problems Gain Support of Key Influencers Silence Critics with Speedy Success

19 Leader Actions: Measuring, Reporting (and Improving) Measure and Report Progress Frequently Require All Decision Makers To Share Data and Problem Solve

20 Turnaround, Terminate, or Reinvent? Closing schools–to reopen, or forever? Toxic communities Reinvent schooling? What would it look like?

21 Questions Do you know of schools that have turned around? Do you know why they turned around? Could you apply these same practices to turn around another school? When is a school a candidate for turnaround? If you doubt a turnaround will succeed, then what? What harm results from failed turnaround attempts?

22 Additional Resources Turning Around Chronically Low- Performing Schools Practice Guide ceguides/Turnaround_pg_04181.pdf ceguides/Turnaround_pg_04181.pdf Doing What Works website

23 Additional Resources Turning Around Chronically Low- Performing Schools: videos, interviews, recommendations, and planning templates rity landing.cfm?PA_ID=11 rity landing.cfm?PA_ID=11 Interview with Sam Redding, EdD A_ID=11&T_ID=21&P_ID=46&rID=5 A_ID=11&T_ID=21&P_ID=46&rID=5


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