School Turnaround in 2013

One education management nonprofit in Massachusetts is turning around schools by fixing the high dropout rates and low test scores in inner city Boston.

‘Unlocking Potential’ (or UP) seems like a great name for any promising organization, especially this one. The nonprofit identifies struggling schools and steps in, making changes to personnel, culture and administrative operations; allowing teachers to focus on curriculum and instruction. UP acts as a liaison between the school and the district, and has a pretty rigorous schedule to “restart” a school.

Currently, there are two turnaround schools with plans for expansion in the coming years. UP Academy Charter School of Boston is the first “underperforming” public school in Massachusetts to be “restarted” as an in-district charter school. In Fall 2013, the organization will convert Leonard Middle School in Lawrence to UP Academy Leonard Middle School, a tuition-free college preparatory school for grades 6-8.

Is this the future of at-risk school districts? I am interested to see where else in the country turnaround schools are implemented.

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