District and School Transformation

Connell, J.P., Institute for Research and Reform in Education

An ongoing challenge for education leaders – at school, district, and state levels – is discerning how best to transform chronically low-performing schools. Today, a tentative line can be drawn between two competing, though not wholly divergent, approaches. The first, replacement, includes the creation of charter schools, magnet schools, and new schools to replace existing low-performing...

Connell, J. P., Institute for Research and Reform in Education

“Getting Off the Dime” presents IRRE’s evolving thinking about creating the initial conditions and building the capacity to get meaningful reform off the ground.  This paper explores how districts and schools decide whether to choose First Things First (FTF) strategies as their approach to reform; and how FTF’s planning and early steps have continued to sharpen over time.   “Getting Off the...

Connell, J.P., & Klem, A.M., Journal of Educational and Psychological Consulting

“You Can Get There from Here” presents a theory of change approach to planning educational reform initiatives with a focus on district level efforts.

Using examples from ongoing work with urban school districts, the authors begin from the idea that a theory of change approach “helps make plans for urban education more sensible—more grounded in current research, in...

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