No greater challenge faces our society than improving the educational opportunities for millions of young people trapped in chronically low-performing schools. Overcoming this challenge requires talented and dedicated school leaders whose knowledge and skills extend far beyond what is covered in conventional principal preparation programs.
This book draws on extensive research by the author and others on the actions needed to turn around low-performing schools. First, however, the book examines the personal qualities needed to undertake the turnaround process. Following chapters provide guidelines on diagnosing the school-based causes of low achievement and developing a school turnaround plan. The author focuses on the importance of continuous planning – a departure from standard practice. A major portion of the book is devoted to examples of first-order and second-order strategies for raising achievement. Specific recommendations for launching the turnaround process and sustaining gains beyond the first years of turnaround are provided. The concluding chapter addresses the role of school districts in supporting school-based turnaround efforts.