According to Laura Pappano (2010), turnaround is a rapid and dramatic improvement in student achievement, as well as in the culture, attitude, and student aspirations beyond traditional, incremental school improvement. Schools that need a turnaround approach have very low student achievement levels and may suffer from a multitude of complex issues around student poverty, poor facilities, teacher abilities and attitudes, school-district relationships, and many others.

Decades of educational research and MSU's extensive experience working with underperforming schools has led us to the realization that turnaround requires deep capacity in organizational and instructional leadership. Indeed, it is the linchpin to all other aspects of rapid turnaround. The articles and videos in this category explore the complexity of school turnaround as well as the steps involved in the process, and how to build school and district capacity to make deep changes that lead to dramatic improvements in culture, instruction and, ultimately, student achievement.

If you ask Alvin Ward, the new principal of Lansing Charter Academy (LCA), how has the Priority status of LCA affected student learning, he will tell "I embraced the designation to rally teachers to change practices and improve educational opportunities for all students." Principal Ward was hired this past summer to turn around LCA and, nine months later, the improvements are very apparent. In conducting MI Excel walk-throughs, students are visibly on task and teachers are teaching rigorous lessons using best practices that are apart of LCA's embedded Professional Development (PD) plan for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) defines Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) as an integrated, multi-tiered system of instruction, assessment, and intervention designed to meet the achievement and behavioral health needs of ALL learners. In short, a MTSS framework is designed to ensure that each and every student that walks into a classroom will have their individual needs met through high-quality instruction. In addition, the integration of a MTSS framework within the Michigan Continuous School Improvement Process is an essential component for improving academic achievement for all learners. The MDE is striving to improve achievement for all learners through the strategic support of Michigan districts and schools.

Traditional plans for school improvement are often written and implemented in silos. While the plans may be well-written and solid in their own right, the lack of collaboration and common planning frequently results in each plan competing for the resources within that system. This approach divides resources, which can negatively impact efforts to improve student achievement. Experience has demonstrated that in order to increase achievement, successful systems plan their improvement efforts collaboratively.

Developing one common plan for improvement streamlines the school and district’s efforts and resources, and maximizes improvement for all learners. The Michigan Continuous School Improvement process serves as a comprehensive process to organize the work through data analysis, goal setting, planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating. By strategically embedding an MTSS framework into the district and school improvement plan, a school system sets itself up for continuity and alignment in the implementation of a research- based system of MTSS. When working together, the Michigan Continuous School Improvement process and the MTSS framework enhance and strengthen each other, for the benefit of all learners.


henry tool thumbnailResponse to Intervention and Multi-Tiered System of Supports tool

The Office of K-12 Outreach of Michigan State University’s College of Education is enjoying the seventh year of the successful Fellowship of Instructional Leaders program. The Fellowship provides educators tools they need to foster systemic improvement in their schools. Through the Fellowship, instructional leaders build their capacity to develop and focus substantive initiatives that improve student achievement.

Grant Chandler, Director of Professional Development for MSU MI Excel, Explains phase 2 of the Collaborative Learning Cycle.

Grant Chandler, Former Director of Professional Development for MSU MI Excel, Explains the Data Dialogue Process.

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