A proactive approach to improvement: The story behind the Indiana State Board of Education’s recent decision

At the end of the 2012-2013 school year, it looked like Glenwood Leadership Academy, a K-8 school in Indiana’s Evansville Vanderburgh Corporation (EVSC), could be in danger of a state takeover.

The school had received its sixth “F” on the state’s accountability system, which triggered a review process by the State Board of Education that could have led to mandated interventions – up to a complete takeover by the state.

However, the district was already a step ahead.

“We recognized that several of EVSC’s schools, including Glenwood Leadership Academy, were not meeting the needs of their students despite a number of initiatives that had been implemented over the years. We realized we needed to try a new approach in order to dramatically improve student outcomes,” Superintendent David Smith told Mass Insight recently.

So, EVSC decided to partner with Mass Insight Education to reinvent the way it serves GLA and other chronically underperforming. Through the partnership, the district created an independent unit, the Office of Transformational Support (OTS) to oversee five of the district’s schools, including GLA.

Historically, the Indiana State Board of Education has not been shy about exercising its authority to intervene in chronically underperforming schools like Glenwood Leadership Academy. Yet in March, the State Board of Education approved the district’s self-imposed intervention – an unprecedented ruling that was an explicit endorsement of the innovative and proactive approach taken by EVSC in implementing bold and swift interventions across a cluster of the district’s chronically underperforming schools.

Our newest publication examines the partnership between EVSC and Mass Insight and the early results it has produced – click here to read more.