In Denver Public Schools, I had the opportunity to work with a tremendous set of folks to “break the cycle” on turnaround. DPS has identified previous turnaround efforts as stalled or challenged due to three factors: planning/lead time, community involvement and strong designs.
In three schools, we hired two principals. One was the interim principal, hired to lead the school through the first year of the turnaround process. The other leader, dubbed the “Year 0 Leader”, was to be the new permanent principal of the school. Over the course of the first year the leader was charged with building community design team for a new model, engaging families and community and hiring a new staff.
In each of the cases, formal and informal authorizing was needed. The school board and DPS central administration had to formally approve the process and final plans. The Teacher’s Association had to be notified in advance. External stakeholders with informal authority were informed through multiple meetings to explain the process. A group of concerned community advocacy groups were brought in early and often to appraise them throughout.
How did we manage the external environment to authorize these two turnaround schools? How did we build a bigger group of co-constructors and co-creators? This post is about how to think about these concepts in the broader frame.Read More