The District Role in Turnaround

My latest post at “Rick Hess Straight Up” focuses on the district role in school turnaround. From the piece:

The role of the district, then, should be to create a protected space for turnaround principals and Lead Partners to exercise significant school-level authority, while maintaining strong control over the expected leading and lagging indicators of change. In other words: tight on ends, loose on means.** This can be achieved by creating performance contracts with Lead Partners to manage the day-to-day change process in schools. In geographies where we are unlikely to find Lead Partners, districts and civic communities should come together to create entirely new in-district organizational units to manage the change, while vesting external “Advisory Councils” – composed of empowered stakeholders – with the authority to provide both political cover and a sustaining force for the work, in the nearly inevitable case of leadership turnover during the turnaround process. The critical point is this: whether you use an external Lead Partner or an internal unit, change management expertise is a must.

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