The Doing What Works LibraryLibrary
2. Leadership

Signal the need for dramatic change with improved leadership.

Schools should make a clear commitment to dramatic departures from the status quo, and the leader should signal the magnitude and urgency of that needed change. A low-performing school that fails to make adequate yearly progress must improve within a short timeframe; it does not have the luxury of years to implement incremental reforms.

A change in leadership practices, either with a new principal knowledgeable about turnaround strategies or with turnaround training for a continuing principal, shows that the school will be setting a new direction for improvement. Installing a new principal with turnaround experience or training can immediately signal change. If a change in leadership does not take place, the existing principal may signal change by substantially reforming existing leadership practices. The principal sends the message that everyone, including administrators, needs to change the daily school operations and the way instruction is delivered.