In the summer of 2016, I decided to take on a fresh new challenge and, to be honest, I was a little intimidated at the start. The opportunity had come up to serve as principal at Lake Park Elementary, a Title 1 school where just one quarter of students were proficient in literacy and the school was on the state’s list of the 300 lowest-performing schools—the need for an elementary school turnaround was clear. I wondered, “Do I have what it takes to effect meaningful change at this school?”
My hiring supervisor was quick to point out that I was already doing the same type of work over the past 19 years, primarily at the secondary level. Being principal at Lake Park would give me a chance to make a difference for students much earlier on. The fact that my own children were in elementary school at the time helped me realize that perhaps I was meant to do this job.
Driving an elementary school turnaround
All students need to be able to access a high-quality education delivered by well-trained teachers, and it would be my mission to make that happen. Together with my administration team and teachers, here are four actions we took to enable an elementary school turnaround.
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