Turnaround in Action
School- and district-level case studies inform promising practices and serve as a reference point for school leaders engaging in this work and for district and SEA staff looking to support and enable turnaround. Acknowledging that school turnaround is highly contextual, it is valuable to see examples of turnaround, both in individual schools and at a zone or district level.
Bolder District and State Approaches to Turnaround
This progress report examines several leading states and districts that are adopting bolder strategies for school reform. These leaders are moving away from traditional models and instead launching turnaround zones aligned with Mass Insight's framework: A strategy for turning around underperforming public schools that calls for flexible operating conditions, decentralizing local capacity, and organizing schools into high school-led clusters. This framework was first codified in The Turnaround Challenge, our 2007 study that examined failed turnaround strategies and recommended a bolder, multipronged approach to make gains in student achievement.
Examples of Successful School Turnaround
The following publication identifies successful school turnaround models in the field. It details district and partnership initiatives to turn around clusters of underperforming schools. Please reference the school- and zone-level case studies below for a more comprehensive look at specific turnaround examples.
School Turnaround Strategies That Have Failed
This resource is designed to help practitioners avoid past mistakes in addressing the needs of low-performing schools.
School-level Case Studies
School-level case studies provide an in-depth view as to how school turnaround functions on the ground. These case studies supply a wealth of materials that offer implementation strategies and model the principles espoused by the School Turnaround Group.
- Science Academy, Recovery School District, New Orleans
- Duggan Middle School, Springfield, MA, Commonwealth Pilot Initiative
- Pickett Middle School, Philadelphia, Mastery Charter Schools
- McDaniel Elementary School, Philadelphia
- Harvard School of Excellence, Chicago, Academy for Urban School Leadership
- Bronx International High School, New York City
- Amino Locke High School 1, Green Dot
- Newton Street School, Newark, NJ
Zone-level Case Studies
Zone-level case studies serve as a model for the clustered approach. These examples showcase how districts and partners are turning around a cluster of schools and experiencing benefits of scale and sustainability.