Southwest School Turnarounds
-The cycle of failure for underperforming schools and districts can be interrupted and reversed; however, achieving this will take courage, fortitude, time and endurance.
-In many turnaround situations, education provides hope, vision and the means to an otherwise dismal future.
- -A turnaround must be viewed as a “lifesaving” endeavor.
- -Underperforming schools are often held hostage by a minority that have been allowed to shape and sustain a climate and culture of failure. This includes students and staff alike.
- -Governing Boards, administration and staff in underperforming districts and schools desire positive change, but at times must be empowered by outside analysis, consultation, goal setting and monitoring.
- -Strong leadership at the district and site level are key to establishing and sustaining successful turnaround.
- -A site administrator’s ability to be visible and “connect” with students is critical to success at the middle school and high school levels.
- -Establishing a safe, orderly environment is the critical first step.
- -Difficult decisions in placement and retention of personnel are a reality to achieve a successful turnaround.
- -Establishing and monitoring the right data points longitudinally at the district, site and instructional level are imperative to success.
- -Factors and circumstances leading to an underperforming school or district are often embedded as habits of mind and behaviors that have evolved into “norms” and tend toward returning to status-quo.
- -Narrowing and sustaining the focus of a school are critical to improvement.
- -Sustained positive results are possible only when systemic changes are made to support success for all stakeholders, including district, site and maintenance.
- -Celebrating success is a critical and often overlooked turnaround component.
- -Principals must be given autonomy within a structured framework that defines the district turnaround initiative; in short, they must be empowered.
Analyze, Plan, Goal-set, Measure, Succeed, Celebrate!