School Turnarounds

School Turnarounds The Essential Role of Districts

Heather Zavadsky, foreword by Steven J. Adamowski
Pub. Date: May 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-271-7
paper, 264 Pages
Pub. Date: May 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-134-5
Price: $34.00

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The inspiration for this book was a crucial observation: that if the school turnaround movement is to have widespread and lasting consequences, it will need to incorporate meaningful district involvement in its efforts.


Reform through school turnaround is a controversial and complex topic. Heather Zavadsky addresses an often overlooked but critical component of the process: the district’s role in supporting school change. Her case studies allow readers to evaluate concrete strategies and examples to determine possible uses in their own reform efforts. This book is a great tool for campus and district leaders. — Wanda Bamberg, superintendent of schools, Aldine (Texas) Independent School District

This is an essential book on school turnarounds and the important role that school districts must play in supporting them. It is refreshing to have not only examples of what can be done to improve ineffective schools but also detailed examples of how to implement those reforms. — Thomas W. Payzant, professor of practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education

School Turnarounds provides practical, proven strategies for effective, sustainable reforms. The book is a how-to guide for the use of data, communication, and collaboration to manage change that affects classroom instruction directly. A must-read for every reform-minded administrator and school board member responsible for schools public or private. — Edwin Flores, trustee, Dallas Independent School District

School Turnarounds is a thought provoking, must read for anyone in education reform. The book provides a ray of hope that visionary leaders might be able to fix the broken systems which have played a significant role in creating broken schools. — Jason O'Brien, Journal of School Choice

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About the Author

Heather Zavadsky is director of research and implementation for Educate Texas, a unique public-private alliance dedicated to significantly improving the postsecondary readiness of low-income students in Texas. She has more than twenty years of experience in education research and practice, with a particular emphasis on urban education, district data and accountability systems, teacher quality, systemic district and school reform, and special education.

Before coming to Educate Texas, Dr. Zavadsky was the Director of Policy at The University of Texas System Institute for Public School Initiatives. From 2002 to 2006, she managed The Broad Prize for Urban Education for the National Center for Education Accountability, where she led the national data collection and analysis, designed and led a rigorous site visit review process for the finalists, presented the final data to the jury, and showcased the finalist and winning districts through a national symposium, articles, and presentations. She also conducted research for the Charles A. Dana Center and led the charter renewal process for The University of Texas at Austin’s University Charter School. Additionally, she taught for six years as a special education teacher and worked extensively with students with autism.

Dr. Zavadsky is the author of Building School Reform to Scale: Five Exemplary Urban Districts (Harvard Education Press, 2009), as well as numerous papers and articles in scholarly journals. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in special education, a master’s degree in education administration, and a PhD in educational administration with a specialization in educational policy and planning.


E-book available through online booksellers

Table of Contents

Blog Post: "The Role of Resource Reform in Improvement and Innovation"

Educational Innovations Series

Other books in Educational Innovations Series

The Every Student Succeeds Act

Edited by Frederick M. Hess and Max Eden, Afterword by Mitchell D. Chester

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Policy Patrons

Megan E. Tompkins-Stange, Foreword by Robert B. Schwartz

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The New Education Philanthropy

Edited by Frederick M. Hess and Jeffrey R. Henig

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