Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13

Short-Cycle School Improvement Planning as a Lever to Launch School Turnaround: A Descriptive Analysis of Plans

by Bryan A. VanGronigen & Coby Meyers - 2020

Background: School improvement planning is a common school leadership practice built on assumptions that schools increase organizational performance if rational yearly plans are developed and then enacted with fidelity. A quality school improvement plan (SIP) should position subsequent critical leadership and instructional moves in a more holistic change initiative. Although multiple studies suggest that positive relationships exist between SIP quality and student achievement outcomes, all studies of SIPs have focused on the traditional, yearlong approach to school improvement planning. An alternative approach operates on shorter cycles of approximately one semester, a model that could be beneficial for low-performing schools engaged in turnaround efforts in which altering goals and strategies might need to occur more frequently to be situationally responsive.

Purpose: In this study, we analyze short-cycle SIPs from three cohorts of low-performing schools participating in a university-based program focused on improving systems leadership to rapidly increase school performance and student achievement. We determine overall SIP quality and whether it changes over time. Furthermore, we analyze plan quality by planning domain (e.g., vision, action steps) over time. To our knowledge, this is the first study that analyzes short-cycle SIPs specifically.

Research Design: We employ a conventional content analysis approach to examine 389 short-cycle SIPs submitted by 136 schools across three cohorts of school principals attempting to lead school turnaround. To analyze the short-cycle SIPs, we developed a rubric that includes 12 planning domains and is based on previous analyses of SIPs since 2001. Our descriptive analyses of short-cycle SIPs show easily identifiable patterns.

Conclusions: Overall plan quality is weak. Although most planning domains and overall plan quality scores improve over time, their increases are mostly nominal. Results suggest that principals attempting to lead turnaround efforts do not often set compelling turnaround visions or engage in deep root cause analysis to identify meaningful focus areas. Although we believe there is great potential in short-cycle SIPs, results further suggest that principals must be strategic in what they prioritize, especially in low-performing schools facing myriad challenges. Last, service providers, school districts, and state education agencies would be wise to recognize that principals will typically develop SIPs that are directly responsive to templates and/or policies.

To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
Purchase this Article
Purchase Short-Cycle School Improvement Planning as a Lever to Launch School Turnaround: A Descriptive Analysis of Plans
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 122 Number 5, 2020, p. -
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23189, Date Accessed: 8/6/2020 6:01:06 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles
There are no related articles to display

Related Discussion
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Bryan VanGronigen
    University of Delaware
    E-mail Author
    BRYAN A. VANGRONIGEN is assistant professor of education specializing in educational leadership in the School of Education at the University of Delaware. His overarching research focus is on organizational resilience and change management in K–12 schools, with specific interests in state- and school-level school improvement efforts, external providers of school improvement services, schoolwide leadership teams, and the preparation of educational leaders. His recently coauthored publications include “How State Education Agencies Are Administering School Turnaround Efforts: 15 Years After No Child Left Behind” in Educational Policy and “Small City School Districts’ Capacity for Improvement and the Struggle for Educational Equity” in Urban Education.
  • Coby Meyers
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    COBY V. MEYERS is the chief of research of the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE) and associate professor of education in the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Dr. Meyers’s research focuses on understanding the role of school system leadership, especially in the context of school turnaround. He has recently coauthored several publications, including “So Many Educational Providers, So Little Evidence” in the American Journal of Education and “Beyond Turnaround: A Synthesis of Relevant Frameworks for Leaders of Sustained Improvement in Previously Low-Performing Schools” in School Leadership & Management.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue