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                            TURNAROUND TOOLKIT
                       Materials to Inform School Turnaround Partnerships

Across the country, turning around chronically failing schools is a tremendous and persistent
challenge. To build school turnaround capacity and increase the number of partnerships between
school management organizations and states and districts, NewSchools Venture Fund is committed
to providing practical guidance that will support effective alliances between the public sector and
education entrepreneurs. As such, NewSchools has compiled this toolkit of materials to support
school turnaround efforts nationwide. Included here are documents from effective school
turnaround partnerships as well as research and policy recommendations from organizations in the
field. These materials are intended to provide readers with practical guidance that can be used to
inform current efforts and save valuable time. The materials described below are intended as
guidance only, and not as an explicit endorsement of findings or practices they describe.


 The Turnaround Context
• Calkins, A., Guenther, W., Belfiore, B., and Lash, D. (2007). The Turnaround Challenge: Why
   American’s best opportunity to dramatically improve student achievement lies in our worst-performing schools.
   Boston, MA: Mass Insight Education & Research Institute.
           This report from Mass Insight outlines the magnitude of the turnaround challenge, introduces conditions
           for turnaround success, and provides a conceptual framework for turnaround work, focusing on three
           “readiness” areas: readiness to learn, readiness to teach, and readiness to act.
• Rhim, L. M., Kowal, J.M., Hassel, B.C. and Hassel, E.A. (2007). School Turnarounds:
   A Review of the cross-sector evidence on dramatic organizational improvement. Public Impact. Lincoln, IL:
   Center on Innovation and Improvement.
           Drawing upon research into business, education, government, and non-profit turnarounds, this report
           identifies environmental context and leadership actions and characteristics as two factors highly correlated
           with turnaround success.
• United States Department of Education. “Race to the Top Fund.” Federal Register. 29 July 2009.
           Under these draft regulations, school turnaround represents one of four selection criteria for the $4.35
           billion Race to the Top competitive grant process.
District/Operator Partnerships
• Mass Insight with Apollo Philanthropy Partners. (2009). “Partnership Zones: Supporting and
   Attracting Lead Partners to Support Turnaround Schools.”
           This report offers an overview of Partnership Zones and lays out ten key characteristics of optimal Lead
• Mass Insight. (2009). “Using RFPs to attract high-capacity Lead Partners.”
           This document provides an outline for states and districts looking to attract optimal Lead Partners
           through the RFP process.
•  Chicago Public Schools Office of New Schools. (2008). “Request for Proposals: Questions for
   Turnaround Applicants.”
            This document, part of Chicago’s Renaissance 2010 RFP process, includes questions concerned with
            both the strategies for individual, school-level turnaround, as well as the five- to ten-year organizational
            plans of applicants.
• Baltimore City Schools Office of New Initiatives. (2009). “Request for Proposals for Secondary
   Transformation Schools to Open in Fall 2010 or Fall 2011.”
            This Baltimore City Schools RFP for new schools provides an example that could be applicable to a
            turnaround context.
Human Capital
• Steiner, L., Hassel, E.A., and Hassel, B. (2008). School Turnaround Leaders: Competencies for Success.
   Chapel Hill, NC: Public Impact.
            Drawing upon available research on school turnaround, this guide seeks to provide district and state
            officials with an understanding of the characteristics of school leaders likely to succeed in a turnaround
• “Policy Recommendations: Turnaround Schools.” From New Leaders for New Schools. (2009).
   Principal Effectiveness: A New Principalship to Drive Student Achievement, Teacher Effectiveness, and School
   Turnarounds with Key Insights from the Urban Excellence Framework.
            These recommendations for states, districts, school management organizations, and funders underscore the
            importance of autonomy, accountability, and support for turnaround principals and leadership teams.
• The New Teacher Project. (2009). “Teacher Effectiveness Framework.”
            This framework provides turnaround leaders with an outline and a set of core metrics for building
            exceptional instructional teams.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
• Agreement between Green Dot Public Schools and the Asociacion de Maestros Unidos
   (AMU)/CTA/NEA. July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2010.
            This agreement defines the relationship between Green Dot, a charter management organization and
            school turnaround operator, and its union, the AMU.
• Agreement between Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.
   September 1, 2008 – August 31, 2011.
            This agreement includes Denver’s Professional Compensation System for Teachers (ProComp), which
            rewards teachers for their professional accomplishments while linking pay to student achievement.
• Appendices to Agreement between the New Haven Board of Education and the New Haven
   Federation of Teachers. July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2014.
            Appendix A of this recently signed contract between the NHBOE and the NHFT lays out the rights
            and requirements of teachers who will work in turnaround schools.

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