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Transformation starts with leadership

All over America, public school students are performing higher and graduating in record numbers. But in many districts, some schools seem to consistently languish at the bottom despite the efforts of teachers and school officials. You and your community may feel frustrated in trying to turn those schools around.

Yet your community has the power to transform low-performing schools with the right strategies and expertise. As a school board member, it’s your role to provide leadership and focus community attention on the task ahead in order to make change happen.

5 steps to begin the change

Follow these five steps to begin the transformation of low-performing schools:

  1. Commit to doing what is necessary to transforming the low-performing school or schools.
  2. Create a strategic plan that is tightly focused on raising student achievement.
  3. Along with your superintendent and with input from key stakeholders, identify three to four priority goals for improving school performance.
  4. Make sure these goals are specific and measurable.
  5. Establish one potential “quick win” that can create momentum towards school transformation.

Data-driven, decision-making tools

You may be asking yourself: “My school has many areas of low-performance – where do I begin?”

Data is the key to help you unlock the answers to this question. Data will highlight the performance areas that need the most improvement and help lead you to solutions.

The Center for Public Education developed these data-driven, decision-making tools to help you identify and prioritize the areas that need the most attention and your district is best equipped to tackle. The tools use the data cycle – a decision-making process that CPE developed in partnership with state school board associations in California, Illinois, and Michigan. For Leading the Change, we drew on both research and the expertise of school board members in the field to adapt the data cycle to specifically address school turnaround.

Leading the Change works best with the participation of the full school board working in close partnership with the superintendent. The four step process walks you through areas related to baseline performance data, available resources, programs and policies, and outcomes to help you develop and execute an effective strategic plan. The tools include:

  • Key data questions to ask about your schools’ performance and resources.
  • Detailed worksheets you can share with your superintendent to guide the collection of relevant data.
  • Interactive ratings tools to help you prioritize the areas to focus on.
  • Resources and guides to help you understand more about each performance area and research-based policies, programs and strategies for improving them.

Let’s Begin

Is your district ready to support a turnaround?

First, make sure your your school district is ready to support a school turnaround by completing this self-assessment.

data-cycle-progressNow, take a look at a brief overview of the data cycle and how it can be best used to address turnaround schools.

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