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New Study: Understanding TN district-led turnaround effort in iZone

By Bridget Goldhahn 

For the past three years a team of researchers, led by Joshua Glazer (George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development), examined Shelby County's iZone district-led effort to dramatically improve, or "turn around," 23 of the lowest performing schools in Tennessee. Shelby County is the 15th largest district in the United States and despite circumstances that have proved insurmountable to many past reform efforts, iZone schools in have made significant gains in performance in both math and English language arts (ELA). The researchers see the iZone as a rare but important example of successful district-led turnaround.

 "While takeovers and reconstitutions generate headlines, the path to large-scale improvement still goes through traditional districts that oversee the vast majority of schools. If the iZone could find a way to reinvent its system of service delivery and build the capacity to enact and maintain such a system, then perhaps other districts could do the same."

This study adds to a decade-long examination of a local effort in Tennessee to improve the lowest performing schools with recommendations for sustaining success.

Click here, to download report

The new report on district-led school turnaround makes recommendations on how the Shelby County iZone program might overcome the challenges of growth and the adoption of more rigorous state assessment standards. The report presents the findings of a multi-year research project that sought to understand the iZone's underlying strategy and the dynamics of implementation as teachers and leaders attempted to maintain growth, expand to more schools, and at the same time move toward more ambitious practices. The research focuses predominantly on math instruction and includes a combination of surveys as well as interviews, observations, and focus groups.

RELATED LINKS

 GSEHD Researcher Studies District-Led School Turnaround Initiative

 

Consortium for Policy Research in Education

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