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Mass Insight Education (NJ1)

Help Wanted: Innovative, strategic-thinking entrepreneurs to turn around groups of low-performing schools. Competitive benefits, including working in newly formed operating units with charter-like autonomy, access to district's back-office resources and buildings, $3.5 billion federal money, and opportunity to transform schools for hundreds of thousands of urban children. Bonus for success: nearly infinite career opportunities in education leadership. This could be the hardest-to-fill but most important job opening school districts and states have. How do they take advantage of this unique opportunity--unprecedented policy flexibility and billions of new federal funds--to transform the neediest schools? And how do they do this work not just one school at a time, but at scale? The authors' answer, based on their pioneering 2007 research, The Turnaround Challenge, and subsequent intensive work on the ground is to focus on the 3C's: flexible operating conditions, expanded capacity, and clusters of schools to ramp up improvements more quickly. The organizational and operational linchpin of this intervention is what they call a Lead Partner (LP), a nonprofit or decentralized unit of the district, reporting directly to the superintendent, that brings a new kind of expertise needed to turn around chronically failing schools. Lead Partners are defined by four responsibilities: (1) Accountability; (2) Authority; (3) Comprehensive services; and (4) Embedded in schools. This Lead Partner Playbook offers a detailed how-to for doing so. The Playbook includes advice, plus detailed templates and guidance on issues such as budgeting, staffing, auditing the central office and schools, clarifying responsibilities, and evaluating performance. These are the nuts and bolts that bridge the gap between theory and reality. Appended are: (1) Potential Lead Partners and Competencies Mapping; (2) Sample Planning and Startup Budget; (3) Organizational Diagnostic and Audits; (4) Staffing Plan; (5) Division of Responsibilities between Parties; (6) Conditions and MOU Creation; (7) Performance Evaluation; (8) Assessing School Needs; (9) Turnaround Leader Competencies; (10) Teacher Job Posting; and (11) Growth Strategy. (Contains 8 figures, 18 tables and 10 footnotes.) [The Lead Partner Playbook was written with Jennifer Cunningham, Meredith Liu, and Emily Pallin.]

Descriptors: Integrated Services, Educational Change, Employment Opportunities, Expertise, Urban Youth, Partnerships in Education, Leaders, Leadership, School Districts, Educational Improvement, Intervention, Accountability, School Turnaround, Academic Achievement, Readiness, Charter Schools

Mass Insight Education. 18 Tremont Street Suite 1010, Boston, MA 02108. Tel: 617-778-1500; Fax: 617-778-1505; e-mail: insight[at]; Web site:

Autor: Kim, Ji Hea Jay


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