Theses Doctoral

Turnaround as an Experience: Using School Culture and Climate as the Driver for School Turnaround

Whyte, Paul Andrew

The number of schools failing to prepare students for post-secondary life continues to increase; thus, school reform continues to be a pressing concern. Millions of dollars have been spent on school reform initiatives, particularly comprehensive reform such as complete school turnaround. Turnaround efforts include full closure, restarts, and transformation of schools that are currently failing. School turnaround requires the immediate disruption of past practices to establish new practices. These changes require the development of new habits of mind, a refocus on expectations and a re-examination of adult-adult, adult-student, and student-student relationships. For stakeholders, school turnaround is viewed as what happens to them rather than what happens for their benefit. The stakeholders who are the students and teachers within the school are affected in numerous ways by the disruption.
This study reviewed literature on turnaround endeavors and pinpointed the important organizational design, traits of leadership, culture and climate, and adult actions that can be leveraged to create comprehensive school turnaround that is sustainable. The findings of this study resulted in the development of a handbook that provides school turnaround leaders with the tools to design a comprehensive turnaround program. This Turnaround Handbook is built on the premise of stabilizing culture and climate within the school to drive change practices that lead to school success. This handbook takes into account the needs of students to have a voice, adults to be supported and developed, and practices to be sustained beyond a finite period of classification as a turnaround school. The significance of this research is that school turnaround leaders can design programs that are sustainable and can significantly improve the lives and educational experiences of those affected by the reform process.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Perkins, Brian K.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
November 9, 2018