School Turnaround

Turning around chronically low-performing schools requires fast action and strong direction from leaders. SEDL’s turnaround specialists are former school, district, and state leaders who have direct experience leading successful school turnarounds. Our specialists support school and district turnaround leaders by assisting them in developing turnaround plans, establishing expectations and goals, and measuring progress toward those goals.

Strategic Support

“I think we probably all have similar challenges around identifying [low-performing] schools, making sure that we have really meaningful levels of change occur in those schools, and we’re not just being superficial about the type of interventions that we’re doing and that people actually understand the work that they’re taking on.” — Rayne Martin, Chief of Innovation, Louisiana Department of Education

Turning Around Low-Achieving Schools: A Blueprint for Reform

In July 2010, SEDL hosted the regional forum “Turning Around Low-Achieving Schools: A Blueprint for Reform.” Some 100 education leaders from Texas and states in the Southeast attended to learn more about school turnarounds and the priority areas for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Learn more

Significant Work

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): The SECC provides professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support low-performing districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals. Work varies by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): The TXCC provides professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support low-performing districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals.

Center for High-Performing Schools: Through this Center, SEDL builds the capacity of district and school leaders to plan, implement, evaluate, and sustain school turnarounds.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover Transforming Low-Performing Rural Schools: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 10
This brief examines how rural districts and schools can integrate the unique attributes and resources found in rural communities into improvement efforts to promote the transformation of low-performing schools.
Image of publication cover SEDL Insights, Vol. 1, No. 1: Leadership Actions for Transforming Schools
Effective leadership is a crucial part of school improvement. Yet leaders at schools in the process of transformation often struggle with how to best guide their staff and students to better outcomes. Our experiences serving as turnaround principals in Texas and South Carolina and then working with underperforming schools while at SEDL have revealed insights on the core actions that leaders take in successfully leading school transformations. These actions can create the conditions needed to shape a school culture where teaching and learning can improve.
Image of publication cover Identifying Competencies and Actions of Effective Turnaround Principals: Southeast Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, January 2013
Research over the past 30 years has found that effective principals can significantly improve various components of student achievement and learning. In addition, there are few examples of improving student achievement that were not led by an effective principal. Research has also identified the need for the change to be systemic or comprehensive in the school turnaround process to ensure sustainability. Along with a systemic improvement process, Duke (2006), identifies 10 “essential” school components for the turnaround principal’s focus and action as keys to sustained success for the benefit of all students. This briefing paper addresses the essential competencies and actions of the turnaround principal.
Image of publication cover SEDL Letter Volume XXI, Number 1: Improving School Performance
School improvement isn’t just about schools. It’s also about students and teachers, and how education leaders at all levels—state, district, school, and classroom—work together to help students succeed. This issue of SEDL Letter explores school improvement in a variety of areas.
Image of publication cover Supporting Sustainability Efforts in School Turnaround
Staff members from states in the Southeast Region met with their counterparts in the area of school turnaround and learned from experts in the field from the U.S. Department of Education and other organizations.
Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 4, Number 3: Turning Around Low-Performing Schools
This issue of the Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin summarizes some of the best practices in turning around schools and provide readers with references and resources to gain a deeper knowledge of the literature on turning around low-performing schools and strategies to help state departments and districts in their attempt to reform challenging schools.
Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 3, Number 1: School Turnarounds-Recommendations, Actions, and Results
This issue of the Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin provides information from the Center on Improvement & Innovation and the Institute for Education Sciences regarding evidence-based practices for turning around chronically low-performing schools.

Click here to view all free resources or products for sale in the area School Turnaround.