Darden Curry PLE

UVA School Turnaround Components

The University of Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program is a two-year district and school leadership development program that addresses the challenges and needs of education leaders charged with turning around our nation’s lowest performing schools. Before launching the program, the University of Virginia School Turnaround Specialist Program works with districts and community partners to ensure the necessary conditions, capabilities and leaders are in place. The program aims to create the system-wide infrastructure necessary to quickly, dramatically and sustainably improve student performance. The program thus focuses on two components critical for a successful school turnaround:

School Turnaround Program Focus

1. Building District Capacity Necessary to Initiate and Support Transformational Change

  • The UVA School Turnaround Specialist Program provides guidance in selecting and developing school leaders with a high potential for success, using a rigorous, competency-based process. The program also helps provide districts and other entities with the skills necessary to build a pipeline of high-impact turnaround leaders. 
  • The UVA School Turnaround Specialist Program ensures the district capacity to support and sustain effective school turnarounds is in place. The program works with districts to identify a key district leader, or “district shepherd,” who attends all leadership development sessions and ensures the conditions necessary for turnaround success are established. 

2. Training High-Impact School Leaders

  • The UVA School Turnaround Specialist Program builds capacity of leaders in the fundamentals of what successful turnaround requires. 
  • The UVA School Turnaround Specialist Program works with school leadership teams (including select teachers) to identify and implement effective turnaround strategies based on each school’s unique needs and characteristics. 

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