Academic teaming helped Moseley Elementary School in Florida's Putnam County School District transition from an underperforming school to a turnaround success story, eSchool News reports.
The strategy has teachers shift to a student-centered instructional approach that includes peer collaboration, coaching and teaching. This, combined with a slew of other changes including a new principal and staff, led the rural school to improve its rank from being the state's fifth-lowest performer in 2016.
As a result of the turnaround efforts, the school’s ELA proficiency increased by 20% and its math proficiency by 13%, and teacher turnover is said to have "decreased dramatically," as well.
Turning failing schools around takes a multifaceted approach. It can cost money and often means a change in leadership and a drastic overhaul of the school's approach.
In some cases, school turnarounds require performance-based bonuses for leaders, according to Andrew G. Houlihan, superintendent of the Union County Public Schools in North Carolina. Houlihan uses a “recipe” that has been proven successful elsewhere and includes recruiting and hiring effective teachers.
Teacher retention is also important, according to Sonya Mora, a principal who turned around Samuel Houston Gates Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas. Despite the high poverty levels of many students, Mora was able to improve teacher retention by working alongside educators, demonstrating the change she wanted to see by teaching lessons herself. This past May, the school was set to become an in-district charter school, allowing the school to modify its curriculum.
Facing a state takeover threat, Atlanta Public Schools has and explored its own turnaround strategy, dubbed “Creating a System of Excellent Schools.” The plan would add more partner-operated schools and charter schools by blending autonomous schools and centralized district services. It also establishes partnerships with organizations like Communities in Schools to expand wraparound services.