District Administration reports on three struggling Baltimore City Schools that are seeking guidance from Commodore John Rodgers, another school in the district that has achieved a dramatic turnaround.
Commodore John Rodgers once ranked near the bottom of schools in Maryland, but proficiency scores have surged and enrollment has more than tripled since its turnaround initiative began in 2010.
The three struggling schools are under new leadership and are meeting on a weekly basis with Rodgers’ principal, Marc Martin, to receive mentorship and training in an effort to turn themselves around by 2021.
Martin told District Administration that communication about expectations is the key to turning around schools.
"You have to start with families and get to know the communities to set the expectations for the schools," Martin said. "What was missing at these schools was knowing what the expectations were and how we were going to deliver on them."
The same can be said for expectations of schools themselves. In this case, the school district took the success story of one school and is using it as a model for success in others within the district. Once schools clearly understand the expectations and understand how to achieve those, success should be easier to achieve.
The fact that this success model is within the same district should help with the endeavor. Though School Turn Around Field Guides do exist, the reality is that it is hard to sometimes transfer universal theories to unique circumstances. Even within a district, these strategies may need to be tweaked, for no two schools are exactly the same. However, collaboration with others in the district who understand the struggles should help establish best practices and help schools succeed.