School Turnaround and Transformation

AIR’s research-based School Turnaround and Transformation service builds the systems and expertise the school and school district need to sustain improvements over the long term. Each essential element of the AIR turnaround and transformation framework is supported by specific components that drive the improvement process. These components for change are a part of every improvement plan and generate a wide range of actions, policies, procedures, and activities tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of your school and community.

For more on how this translates to our clients, visit Our Work for a snapshot of how our framework and process turn into actions that make a difference.

Our Framework

Components for Change

Diagnostic Needs Assessment

AIR’s process is driven by data. The turnaround or transformation work begins with an in-depth needs assessment using existing and new data. The assessment leads to a bold, innovative, and aggressive school improvement plan aligned to the specific circumstances and needs of the school and district. District and school staff and teachers are actively involved in interpreting the data and planning next steps. Diagnostic tools are used throughout the multiyear improvement process to determine the appropriate interventions and monitor their progress.  AIR and school and district staff work together to develop an early warning system to identify and track students at risk of falling behind in middle school and high school and dropping out. This early warning system allows staff to target intensive resources to students who need them most.

District Leadership Development

AIR focuses on building the capacity of administrators and teachers, supporting them with high-quality tools and resources, improving working conditions, and building a climate and culture that leads to sustained improvement. AIR staff foster leadership at all levels through coaching and hands-on on-site support.  Each school is assigned an expert AIR coach, who works closely with the principal, advising on decisions and providing guidance on solving thorny issues. AIR staff supervise instructional coaches and oversee the implementation of the professional learning communities. AIR will implement an online coaching database to track the types, duration, and outcomes of coaching interactions.

School Leadership Team

Professional Learning Communities

The AIR model emphasizes professional learning communities as a vehicle for improving educator effectiveness. Teachers engage in daily and weekly sessions, examining student work, using formative assessment, and improving their practice through peer observation. The grade-level or subject-area site-based collaborative inquiry teams set shared student learning goals, assess student learning needs, and plan and implement instruction based on these needs and goals. Each team identifies a facilitator who meets biweekly with the school leadership team to assess the team’s progress in improving student achievement and plans instructional team meetings.

Performance Management System

AIR staff is experienced in transforming teacher evaluation systems, bridging the art and science of teaching. We work with districts to implement a system that places student learning at its core. Like our turnaround and transformation process, our performance management services focus on shifting the culture of the school and district by engaging all parties in the decision making, in order to address the related issues—hiring practices, working conditions, professional development, recruitment, and compensation—that impact the effectiveness of the evaluation system. AIR staff members are skilled at advising districts on choosing measures of student growth, and we engage district teams in creating effective evaluation systems from engagement and design to full implementation.

Instructional Framework and Professional Development

Our approach builds thoughtful and intentional connections between instruction, curriculum, assessment, and professional development for teachers and staff. The training we provide to teachers on instructional techniques is bolstered by a structure that brings teachers together to plan lessons and learn from each other. Our process of regular and frequent peer observations of instructional practice is coupled with ongoing coaching, modeling of proven techniques, and support in the classroom by AIR’s turnaround coordinator. While effective teaching practice is being embedded throughout the school, we work with school and district staff to design formative assessments to capture student learning, and we oversee the implementation and progress of instructional interventions for students who need additional support.

Strategies to Strengthen Student Connections

AIR staff work with school leadership to implement positive behavior support systems to create a respectful climate and improve the relationships between students and teachers and students and their peers. Our needs assessment process includes a thorough review of the school’s policies and procedures to determine where changes need to be made to improve student climate and culture. The process uncovers the needs of the student population. AIR staff then works together with teachers, school and district administrators, and parents to implement the protocols and programs that will best serve the student body. The improvement plan tracks how the changes are being implemented.

Parent and Community Council