Newsletter 34 School Turn-around Strategy

The Seven Guiding Principles to turn schools around

1. The initiative is driven by one mission: student success. Whatever the reason, most students are not succeeding in Priority Schools. This initiative is our chance to show that they can—and how they can—so other schools can follow.

2. The solution we develop is collective. Every stakeholder may not agree with every strategy; aspects of the solution may call for new thinking and new roles for all participants. But this challenge requires proactive involvement from all of us.

3. There is reciprocal accountability among all stakeholders. This challenge needs a comprehensive solution that distributes accountability across the key stakeholders: the state, districts, professional associations, schools, and community leaders.

4. To have meaning, reciprocal accountability is backed by reciprocal consequences. Everyone lives up to their end of the agreement, or consequences ensue.

5. The solution directly addresses the barriers to reform. As identified by Washington State stakeholders, these include inadequate resources; inflexible operating conditions; insufficient capacity; and not enough time.

6. The solution requires a sustained commitment. That includes sufficient time for planning, two years to demonstrate significant improvement (i.e., leaving the Priority Schools list), and two more years to show sustained growth.

7. The solution requires absolute clarity on roles—for the state and all of its branches, districts, schools, and partners.

Source: Serving Every Child Well: Washington State’s Commitment to Help Challenged Schools Succeed. Final Report to the Washington State Board of Education (Boston, MA: Mass Insight Education and Research Institute, December 2008). Available online at Washington State’s Guiding Principles for the Design of Turnaround Strategy

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