To the Editor:
Marshall Tuck and Colleen Oliver’s recent Commentary (“Turnarounds Require Work, Humility,” Aug. 21, 2013) demonstrates an exemplary picture of the hard work needed to turn around high-need schools. The success of these endeavors is outstanding and requires tenacity, flexibility, and true grit. The lessons learned are also tremendously valuable and pertinent to all who do, or aspire to, engage in this work. The word “turnaround” could easily fall into a generic overused word basket such as concepts like “PLCs” (professional learning communities).
Mr. Tuck and Ms. Oliver’s work with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools demonstrates that there is a difference in approach to really make this work happen. Strong leaders and teachers, student support, and family engagement are all necessary ingredients for improving low-performing schools. It is not only essential to select the highest-quality leaders and pay them more, but also imperative to offer continued relevant, collaborative, and adaptive leadership development and coaching to such principals.
Almost 50 percent of teachers leave in the first five years of their careers, so a strong emphasis on persistence in leadership is imperative for true turnaround to succeed.
Congratulations to the partnership on its high impact and hard work.
Chief Executive Officer
School Leaders Network
A version of this article appeared in the September 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as Approach to Turnaround Earns Congratulations