School improvement planning has become more prevalent and important due to increased calls from federal and state governments, state education agencies (SEAs), and the general public for more accountability in education. In many cases, the school principal is responsible for conceptualizing, drafting, and submitting the plan. However, there are very few publicly available tools that assess the content and quality of school improvement plans (SIPs). This new publication is designed for use by schools, districts, and state education agencies (SEAs). Schools can use the rubric to help create, organize, and assess their improvement plans and efforts; districts can use it to facilitate and coach co-creation of effective SIPs; and SEAs can use it to better conceptualize how they support districts — especially those with low-performing schools — in analyzing their SIPs. Although this rubric is useful for all types of schools, we feel it is especially valuable for low-performing schools because it can help them better jump start the process of planning for success, building momentum, and, ultimately, turning themselves around.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of December 2015 identifies important new responsibilities and opportunities for state education agencies (SEAs) as their leaders work to turn around low-performing schools. This report reveals important information about these SEA leaders’ early reactions to ESSA as it applies to school improvement.
The report is part of an evaluation of the federal Center on School Turnaround (CST), conducted by Education Northwest, a nonprofit research, evaluation, and technical assistance organization. Education Northwest administered a survey between February 25 and March 18, 2016, to all of the CST’s SEA contacts. Ultimately, the sample included responses from at least one contact in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. Almost two thirds of respondents worked in offices of school turnaround or improvement, about a fifth worked in Title I offices, almost a tenth worked in accountability, and the rest had roles in such offices as outreach or grants.
We limited the analysis to a single average response from each SEA, to provide a national view with each state represented equally, regardless of the number of participants from that state.
The state education agency (SEA) has been shifting its emphasis for decades, from a compliance-focused authority to a change agent equipped with systems, processes, training, and support to heighten the progress of the local district and its schools. This publication highlights a strategic approach to performance management that fits neatly in the new organizational environment. Ideal for organizing people and their work in one entity (SEA, LEA, or school), strategic performance management is equally suited to a multi-organization system where interlaced data and responsive supports are critical.
The publication is presented in four parts:
- Part I: Casting a Responsive Net
- Part II: Synopsis of the Modules and Steps for an SEA, LEA, or School to Implement SPM
- Part III: Interlaced Data and Responsive Supports
- Part IV: Best Practice, Productivity, and Innovation
The professional learning module (PLM) on coaching turnaround leader actions was developed collaboratively by the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center), the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd, Public Impact, and the University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leader in Education. This module contains the materials designed to implement a work session that builds the knowledge and capacity of leaders and staff members from regional comprehensive centers (RCCs), state education agencies (SEAs), and within-state regional centers. The goals of the module are to develop understanding of the connection between turnaround leader competencies and the actions of successful turnaround leaders and to learn strategies for coaching and developing turnaround leaders.
Staff members from these agencies may wish to modify and turnkey the work session based on this module for use with district leadership teams, principals, teacher leaders, or other roles. The duration, scope, and sequence of the work session may be customized to accommodate local needs and conditions. The entire work session is designed to take place during a 3-hour period but can easily be broken into smaller portions and accomplished during multiple sessions to accommodate participant time and availability.
The facilitator’s guide provides suggestions for structuring the work session, notes on how to implement the suggested activities, and talking points to be used with the slide presentation. It also includes additional, in-depth content information for facilitators to use within their presentations or to offer to participants who are interested in deeper learning.
All materials are available on the GTL Center’s Professional Learning Modules website. These materials may be used and adapted to fit the needs of the state context. To cite the content, please use the following statement: These materials have been adapted in whole or in part with permission from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd, Public Impact, and the University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education.
This guide, written by Daniel Player, Dallas Hambrick Hitt, and William Robinson from Center on School Turnaround partner, the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education, provides state education agencies (SEAs) and districts (LEAs) with guidance about how to assess the district’s readiness to support school turnaround initiatives. Often, school turnaround efforts focus only on the school’s structure and leadership. Rarely do policymakers or practitioners think about school turnaround as a system-level issue requiring fundamental changes in district-level practice to establish the conditions for school turnaround to succeed. This guide will also provide an introduction to turnaround readiness conditions that will help districts to best position resources to enable turnaround schools to succeed.
This report describes examples of actions that school principals have taken in trying to lead turnaround. Most principals have either not worked in a turnaround situation or have fallen short in a turnaround attempt, despite their best efforts. Not all of the principals highlighted in this report have successfully turned around their schools, but we intend for these examples to be helpful to other principals, teacher-leader teams, and principal supervisors who are looking to approach turnaround work with strategic, but less common actions in an effort to get new, better results. The authors draw on prior research to frame the examples. The report also draws on the observations of two organizations with deep experience in the turnaround field: Public Impact and the University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education. The examples of actions that are described in this report are organized into categories familiar to many principals in both typical schools and in turnaround schools, namely: vision, goals, data, change leadership, teachers and leaders, instruction, and strategic partnerships. These categories are also tied to domains and practices described in the Center on School Turnaround’s Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework.