Case Study: School Turnaround

Team working together on a plan

In 2014, Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School of Excellence was facing the possibility of closure.  The school ranked in the 9th percentile among Massachusetts schools, with performance that had declined for the previous three years.  To achieve demonstrated academic progress in a 1-year time frame in order to obtain charter renewal, the school’s Board and Executive Director contracted SchoolWorks.

The Challenge
  • Develop a Turnaround Plan with the objective of increasing academic performance and positioning the school for charter renewal within a 1-year time frame
  • Provide support in the implementation of the Turnaround Plan
SchoolWorks Approach
  • Conduct a 1-day site visit to gain insight into the current state of the school
  • Work with school stakeholders to develop a Turnaround Plan informed by the site visit findings
  • Work with the school leadership team to implement the Turnaround Plan by 1) establishing an instructional leadership team, 2) creating a comprehensive Instructors’ Manual that established expectations for school staff, 3) administering a robust professional development program, and 4) monitoring progress via informal walk-throughs, formal observations, and intense analysis of student performance data
The Results
  • In 2018 (four years later) the school rose to the 61st percentile among Massachusetts schools, with 93% of students meeting targets
  • The 2018 State accountability rating for Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School of Excellence is the highest in the district of Springfield, which is comprised of 61 schools  
Dates: 2014 – 2018


"The plan development and support services provided by SchoolWorks were the basis for the successful turnaround of this school. It was a pleasure to work with the SchoolWorks team."
- Alan M. Katz, Lead Founder and Former Executive Director

SchoolWorks and COVID-19

Our thoughts are with all educators as they work to support students and their families during this challenging time. If your school, district, or network is tasked with developing a plan for delivering a distance learning option that may include online learning, SchoolWorks is offering a free rubric to help your team design and implement a sustainable and equitable solution.