School & District Management Report Roundup

IES Offers ‘Practice Guide’ on School Turnarounds

By Debra Viadero — May 13, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

“Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools”

Schools that struggle with low student performance year after year should undertake dramatic leadership changes, focus consistently on instruction, make visible changes early, and build a committed staff, according to a new federal report.

Changing leadership is important, the new guide says, because a new leader can immediately signal change. But even existing leaders can enact dramatic and effective changes, the guide says, by becoming highly visible and taking a leading role in guiding the instruction that goes on in classrooms.

Schools can keep the focus on instruction, the report adds, by using school-level data to find out where students’ learning gaps lie and having teachers use formative assessments to analyze their own practices.

The report is the fourth in a series of practice guides produced by the Institute of Education Sciences, the U.S. Department of Education’s main research arm.

In the absence of definitive studies on how to turn around failing schools, the guide is meant to highlight some key practical strategies that have a reasonable chance of succeeding, according to the institute.

The practices were chosen by a panel of outside experts who based their recommendations on a review of case studies, surveys, and other research in the field.

The 43-page guide on turnaround strategies also outlines ways schools can enact the recommendations and discusses challenges they may face as they undertake those changes.

Related Tags:


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion 5 Reasons Why Education Leaders Avoid Controversial Topics
Understanding why we shy away from challenging conversations can be a path toward empathy and an opportunity for learning.
4 min read
Let's brainstorm!
Created on Canva
School & District Management Most Superintendents Try to Avoid Politics. This Group Encourages Them to Lean In
Superintendents increasingly face politically tricky situations. A new collaborative hopes to support them.
3 min read
Illustration of person riding a unicycle on a tightrope over shark infested waters.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images
School & District Management Superintendent of the Year Focuses on How to ‘Do More’ in Minnesota
The 2024 winner of the national honor didn't want to spend pandemic relief funds "in the way that we’ve always spent our money."
2 min read
Joe Gothard, superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools stands for a portrait at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., on Aug. 21, 2021, where new federal school funding will help to hire staff, buy books and be used for building renovations.
Joe Gothard, superintendent of St. Paul Public Schools stands for a portrait at Como Park High School in St. Paul, Minn., on Aug. 21, 2021. Gothard was named the 2024 National Superintendent of the Year on Thursday by AASA, The School Superintendents' Association.
Andy Clayton-King/AP
School & District Management The Average U.S. School Building Dates Back to the End of the Vietnam War
New federal data highlight widely varying ages and offerings in school buildings nationwide.
4 min read
School Renovation in Washington Heights, Chicago
E+ / Getty