Texas turnaround school seeks to remove stigma of failure by sharing experience
- Brook Avenue Elementary School in Waco, TX, has served as the model for poor performance in the area for several years and is seeking to change that label, EdSurge reports.
- One approach the school is taking is to increase the use of social media to allow teachers and administrators to tell their own story about positive activities and successes.
- The school is also working on ways to improve communication and collaboration among teachers and administrators, and to increase professional development through grant funding.
The reason that a school fails is complex and the process of “turning around” that school is often even more complex. States have different solutions for improving failing schools ranging from "turnaround models" to "restart models" to the creation of state-run "achievement school districts." Some of these models involve the firing of a significant percentage of school teachers and administrators, though many argue that a school cannot fire its way to success.
While the need for better-prepared teachers is often a part of the problem with failing schools, the reality is that many of these schools are in impoverished areas that don’t tend to attract experienced and excellent teachers, alongside little in the way of parental or community support. Also, the stigma of failure tends to discourage administrators, teachers and students, casting a pall over attempts at innovation.
However, some schools and districts are experimenting with new approaches that may offer more options for a situation in which one solution does not fit all. For some, new state regulations allow restart schools to have charter-school flexibility in issues like funding, staffing and school calendars. Others are looking at partnering with local institutions of higher learning in order to gain better access to resources while offering college students a chance to interact with students who need help and inspiration. These partnerships can also serve as a pipeline to college for students in failing schools who would not normally consider college as an option.