Revisiting The Turnaround Challenge: Lessons From the Field to Advance Pandemic Recovery in Low-Performing Schools
It has long been the case that the nation’s lowest performing schools serve our highest needs students — students who are systemically marginalized by virtue of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, and/or ability. But the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need to provide dramatically different supports to these schools. Between 2019 and 2022, too many students lost ground academically, and researchers estimate that it will take the average student three to five years to catch up to where they would have been pre-pandemic. To download the Executive Summary highlighting key takeaways, click here.
- The extent to which a district has established the conditions (time, people, money, and program) for school transformation seems to matter more than the strategies by which conditions change occurs.
- Those working to transform low-performing schools should focus on strategies for improving conditions that have the greatest likelihood of success in their local context.
- In addition to time, people, money, and program, district and zone climate should be added to the list of critical conditions to be leveraged or improved.
- The benefits of clustering appear related to the use of a spiderweb network model and the establishment of a zone office with the structure and authority to offer streamlined central office support/buffer zone schools.
- While resources may significantly improve student outcomes in the short-term, additional resources must be combined with other capacity-building strategies if they are to affect long-term student outcomes in low-performing schools.
- School and district leaders and SEA staff would do well to establish a clear focus and align their capacity building efforts to that focus.