This publication provides recommendations to states on the most effective process to allocate the Title 1 School Improvement grants under the new federal guidelines. Due to demand from our states, this publication also has an addendum that answers a set of more targeted questions.

The Lead Partner

Lead Partners are non-profit organizations or units of central offices on contract with the district central office or state to turn around schools. This publication examines the lead partner marketplace, the role of the lead partner, and the relationship between the Lead Partner, the district and the state education agency (SEA).

Designing MOUs for Lead Partners

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a complex document that sets the terms of the relationship between a Lead Partner and its contracting state or district. This publication provides guidance on the components of an effective MOU and the process required to develop one.

An Internal Lead Partner (ILP) is a carve-out unit within a district or state central office that fulfills the same responsibilities as an external Lead Partner (i.e., autonomy from traditional structures and policies, authority over decisions, and accountability for student performance). This report examines the role of Internal Lead Partners in district turnaround strategies.

States and districts can use the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to recruit and procure high-quality Lead Partners. The states and districts can then create a preferred provider list of approved partners, or the State Turnaround Office can directly match up partners with schools and districts. This document explains the process to develop, issue, and review RFPs, including the key success factors and pitfalls.

The Lead Partner, a non-profit organization or unit of the central office on contract with the central office or state for small clusters of schools, is a key innovation in the turnaround space. This tool describes the potential sources of Lead Partners and addresses the conditions required to attract them to districts and states.

This document provides technical information about the various federal funding flexibility options and waivers that are available to local education agencies (LEAs) and state education agencies (SEAs) from the U.S. Department of Education. In relation to Title I programs, fund transferability, flexibility demonstration authorization, consolidation of reporting requirements, block granting, and waiver authorities are specified as possible places for policy changes that could assist in the implementation of Partnership Zones. Examples of notable state practices currently being used are also included.

Who’s Developing Capacity

These profiles feature organizations and programs that are working to build the capacity for turnaround in schools and districts. Turning around chronically low-performing schools requires a new type of skills, not usually taught in traditional education training programs, and a growing group of entrepreneurial organizations is helping meet the increasing demand for turnaround-oriented education leaders, administrators and district staff.

The Lead Partner Playbook

This 70-page guide offers districts a step-by-step approach for creating the flexible operating conditions, specialized capacity, and community-based clusters of schools to turn around their lowest-performing schools.