This is one in a series of blog posts about the recent Midwest High School SIG Conference, held May 18-19, 2011 in Chicago. Schools and districts involved in turnaround low performing high schools received advice from leaders in the field at the Midwest High School SIG Conference last month. Don Fraynd, Chief Officer of the Office of School Improvement of Chicago Public Schools, gave advice for district turnaround agencies. Here are some highlights:
- Work on obtaining autonomy from the larger district agency. Turnaround offices need to be able to work outside of district bureaucracy in order to make changes quickly.
- Get into the schools before the turnaround process begins to start making relationships and identifying strengths that can be built upon.
- Identify the 30% of students with the most serious behavior problems. Meet with them individually and explain how expectations will be different.
- Help older students find placements at alternative schools.
- Engage with families and the community in aspects of planning, including the hiring process for new staff.
- Create a tight management plan with outcome measures and a plan to insure fidelity of implementation.