This is a share from the Public Education Network weekly news blast:
In a commentary in Education Week, [National Equity Project Advisory Board member] Pedro Noguera and Alan Blankstein lament the approach to school turnarounds prescribed by the DOE, which they call well intentioned but misguided.
Knowledge about how to transform struggling schools already exists, they write, drawn from the small but significant number of failing schools that have become successes. Firing staff members or rewarding them based on performance assumes schools fail because the staff is lazy or uninterested in improving. The reality is more complicated. It makes more sense to carefully assess staff strengths and weaknesses, identifying who should be removed versus who can be improved through professional development.
Additionally, schools with a record of failure typically exhibit signs of dysfunction. Eliminating these requires a transformation of school culture. This is accomplished through development of internal accountability, shared vision, buy-in around clear goals and procedures, and the development of community. \
The authors list several key actions: the idea that things will change for the better is conveyed in clear terms; internal dynamics of a school are assessed; credibility and the climate for success are built through early achievements; a new vision of what’s possible is created; students are listened to and engaged with; a deliberate strategy for improving instruction is mapped; problem-solving becomes the norm; measurable goals are established; partnerships are built with stakeholders; and communication and collaboration with other schools is sustained.