Leading school turnaround is complex work, but research shows that there are specific competencies that school leaders need for successful turnaround efforts. This professional learning module can help regional comprehensive centers and state education agency staff learn how to use these competencies to recruit, select, and provide ongoing support to school principals working in a turnaround context. The material was developed through a partnership among four organizations: the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, The Center on School Turnaround, Public Impact, and University of Virginia (UVA) Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education. The module is divided into three parts:
Part 1: Understanding Turnaround Leader Competencies
- Acknowledge the unique challenges of leading school turnaround.
- Identify leader competencies and actions associated with turnaround success.
- Understand the importance of competencies in turnaround leader selection and development.
- Analyze school leader behaviors to identify evidence of competencies.
Part 2: Recruiting and Selecting Turnaround Leaders
- Understand the importance of competencies in recruiting and selecting turnaround leaders.
- Understand how to recruit leaders with competencies to turn around persistently low-performing schools.
- Design a competency-based interview and selection process for turnaround leaders.
- Assess and improve the recruitment and selection process to more effectively select turnaround leaders.
Part 3: Developing and Retaining Turnaround Leaders
- Determine district structures for principal support.
- Define the role and responsibility of the principal supervisor.
- Examine individual and district professional development structures.
The National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) and the National Center for School Turnaround (2018) published the Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: An Implementation Framework as a companion to the Center for School Turnaround’s (2017) recent publication of The Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework. The aim of this companion paper is to describe how to use the improvement domains in practice.
The purpose of this meeting is to provide states the opportunity to collaborate and discuss key issues as they work to close opportunity and achievement gaps by supporting turnaround in the lowest performing schools and schools with the largest opportunity and achievement gaps. This meeting features panel discussions and leverage peer-to-peer learning with intentional time for state discussions and interaction. The meeting primarily consists of a variety of breakout sessions during which state teams will have an opportunity to determine how the topics apply to their state and what actions they might take next.
Key Meeting Objectives
- Provide an opportunity for within-state collaboration to problem solve and develop strategies to enhance implementation of supports and interventions to assist in closing the opportunity and achievement gaps across schools and districts;
- Engage in peer-to-peer learning within and across states to discuss promising practices and lessons learned from this work, and determine appropriate next steps for actualizing new ideas; and
- Leave the meeting with a deeper knowledge of how other states support efforts to close the opportunity and achievement gaps in the lowest performing schools and with concrete ideas for application within states.
Below you will find a link to download materials from the conference.
The purpose of the School Turnaround Academy is to elevate a state education agency’s (SEA) understanding of research and practice on school turnaround and how a state’s turnaround policies and strategies fit within a coherent system of support and intervention for districts and schools in need of improvement.
Materials for the following events are provided in our archive:
- School Transformation: Apply a Research-Based Definition of School Turnaround to Illinois Data presented by Jeanette P. Cornier
- National Perspective on Transformation & Reflection on SIG Intervention Models presented by Carlas McCauley
- Relentless Focus on Instruction in Transformation: Closing the Opportunity and Achievement Gap presented by Kevin Schaefer and Lauren Rhim
- Dynamics of Change: Innovation and Personalization presented by Sam Redding
- Network of Learners presented by Rachel Trimble
Learning Exchange #3: Closing the Achievement Gap for Poverty Students
- School Transformation Academy: Network of Learners (Thursday, March 10, 2016) presented by Monique M. Chism
Learning Exchange #2: Closing the Achievement Gap for Students with Disabilities
- School Transformation Academy: Network of Learners (Thursday, March 10, 2016) presented by Rorie Fitzpatrick
Learning Exchange #1: Closing the Achievement Gap for English Learning Students
- Closing the Achievement Gap for English Learning Students presented by Aida Walqui
- Learning Exchange Resources
- Resource Lists: English Learners, Students with Disabilities, & Poverty
- Team Leads Monthly Call Archive
In recent years, rapid school improvement — known most commonly as school turnaround — has emerged as the chief focus of dramatic and systemic efforts aimed at giving students better schools. To assist states, districts, and schools in leading or managing these efforts, in 2017 the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd (CST) developed Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework. That framework identifies four areas of focus that research and experience point to as central to rapid and significant improvement: turnaround leadership, talent development, instructional transformation, and culture shift. Within each domain, the framework also identifies three critical practices for taking action. The intent was to organize and frame the field’s learning about rapid school improvement efforts and how improvement decisions made at any one level could have a lasting impact across all levels of a system comprising the state education agency (SEA), the local education agency (LEA), and the individual school.
This subsequent document, which is intended to facilitate educators’ ability to take and track action within each domain, provides the specificity of indicators for each practice identified in the framework. An indicator of effective practice is what Redding (2013) calls a concrete behavioral expression of a particular professional practice that research has shown to contribute to student learning. The indicators presented in this document are expressed in plain language so school, district, and state teams can identify with greater certainty whether a relevant practice from the four domains is standard and routinely operational or whether more work is needed.