A failing school is one that consistently underperforms academically and fails to meet state or national education standards. These schools often have low test scores, high rates of absenteeism, high dropout rates, and low graduation rates.
Improving a failing school requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both academic and non-academic factors that contribute to poor performance. Here are six strategies that have been proven effective:
- Providing strong instructional leadership: A strong principal can make a big difference in a failing school. Effective leadership can motivate and guide teachers, set high expectations for students, and create a positive school culture. (Source: The Education Trust, “School Leadership Counts”)
- Implementing evidence-based instructional practices: Using evidence-based practices, such as differentiated instruction and formative assessment, can help teachers meet the diverse needs of students and improve academic outcomes. (Source: Education Week, “Evidence-Based Instruction”)
- Increasing parental and community involvement: Involving parents and community members in the school can help create a supportive environment for students and improve academic outcomes. This can include holding parent-teacher conferences, creating community partnerships, and providing opportunities for parents to volunteer. (Source: U.S. Department of Education, “Parent and Community Engagement”)
- Providing targeted interventions for struggling students: Students who are struggling academically may benefit from targeted interventions, such as tutoring or small-group instruction. These interventions should be evidence-based and tailored to meet the individual needs of students. (Source: National Center on Intensive Intervention, “Data-Based Individualization”)
- Offering professional development for teachers: Professional development can help teachers stay current with best practices and improve their instructional skills. Effective professional development should be ongoing, job-embedded, and focused on specific areas of need. (Source: Learning Forward, “Standards for Professional Learning”)
- Establishing a positive school climate: A positive school climate can improve student behavior, engagement, and academic outcomes. This can include promoting positive relationships among students and staff, implementing restorative practices, and creating a safe and welcoming physical environment. (Source: U.S. Department of Education, “Creating a Positive School Climate”)
Overall, improving a failing school requires a comprehensive and sustained effort that addresses multiple factors that contribute to poor academic performance.
- The Education Trust. (2018). School Leadership Counts. https://edtrust.org/resource/school-leadership-counts/
- Education Week. (2020). Evidence-Based Instruction. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-evidence-based-instruction/2020/09
- U.S. Department of Education. (2014). Parent and Community Engagement. https://www2.ed.gov/documents/family-community/partners-empower-students.pdf
- National Center on Intensive Intervention. (2017). Data-Based Individualization. https://intensiveintervention.org/sites/default/files/DBI%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
- Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. https://learningforward.org/standards-for-professional-learning/
- U.S. Department of Education. (2016). Creating a Positive School Climate. https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-climate/index.html