As they prepare for initial implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), many state and local education agencies across the country have been taking the opportunity to redefine how best to support improvement in their lowest-performing schools. ESSA requires districts to play a larger role in the improvement process, with SEAs continuing to provide supports and monitor improvements. This report provides an example of how one district has done so — by strengthening leadership, providing better student support, and implementing effective instructional and data practices to decrease achievement gaps among students. It begins with an introduction of the context, followed by a description of the district’s improvement process. The brief concludes with an analysis of the district’s impact and a discussion on how to sustain the results.
Successful school turnarounds—characterized by quick, strategic changes in school culture and systems that result in dramatic improvement in student achievement in persistently low-performing schools—are hard work and difficult to achieve and sustain. This report sets out an approach to measure turnaround success that states, districts, and schools can adopt in their own contexts.