According to David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico, turnaround schools are in dire need of excellent leadership and execution.
When a school experiences a dramatic change in student performance across the campus, it is deemed a turnaround school. An experienced educator and administrator, David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico, explains that turnaround schools can usually be identified by patterns of low student achievement, particularly in math and reading. One standard method for putting consistently failing schools on a better path is a change in leadership.
Turnaround principles must be specially trained on proper strategies and skills in order for a leadership change to be successful. Research has shown that 70% of successful turnaround stories begin by change at the top of an educational institution. An increased focus has recently been placed on identifying and training candidates for the role as the U.S. Department of Education struggles to improve failing schools.
David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico, a leader trained in turnaround models, notes that there are not enough qualified candidates available to fill the need in the United States. Schools located in rural areas are especially at a disadvantage for obtaining high-quality turnaround principles. New programs have recently been implemented to recruit new turnaround candidates that must then go through an extensive screening and training program.
There are many ways to get started in the turnaround industry, but most require a traditional college education paired with extensive leadership experience. David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico recommends researching preparation programs before applying to ensure you have completed all the requirements. Candidates should prepare to show past student achievement results from their turnaround programs in coaching, teaching, or mentoring.
David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico believes successful turnaround leaders should have a strong desire to create task-oriented actions that produce quantifiable results. A turnaround principle should motivate teachers daily and influence their classroom behaviors to help them reach their potential. Being a leader is no easy task, but a turnaround principle must be confident in their abilities and stay focused on making a difference. David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico notes that the position also requires strong analytical and planning skills.
A turnaround principal makes a quick and effective change in four primary categories, the first being a change in mission. After a comprehensive needs assessment, an action plan is created to let each employee know what their new expectations are. Employees can see and understand the overall vision, which provides motivation and clarity.
Next, turnaround principles must put a different kind of leadership style into effect. David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico explains that they must be highly visible in the classrooms to monitor new instructional practices. Instead of popping into the classroom, a turnaround principle should be coaching, mentoring, and engaging teachers.
The third category for action is re-culturing staff beliefs. David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico believes that every child can learn with the right environment and instruction. All teachers should believe in their students and work to offer specialized instruction. Teachers should create an environment focused on collaboration and teamwork.
The final category for change is distributed leadership. David Lougee of Silver City New Mexico explains that a turnaround principle should build a team of teachers that can also lead and reinforce the new practices in the classrooms. One person cannot do it all on their own. Giving others the ability to lead does not take away from the turnaround principle’s influence.