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School Turnaround Leadership

The School Turnaround Leadership institute at Harvard University provides your campus leadership team the opportunity to develop or refine your campus’ targeted improvement plan or school turnaround plan to ensure buy-in and improve academic performance.

By the end of the program you will understand how to:

  • Develop a theory of action to achieve rapid, meaningful improvement
  • Use data to set strategy, assess progress, and drive decision-making at the classroom and school levels
  • Learn how to transform school culture and foster high-quality instruction
  • Acquire strategies for communicating your vision to the press and community

Please note that the current public health protocols at Harvard require all participants in on-campus programs to attest that you are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 and that you have received a negative result from an antigen test taken within one day of your program start time. More information about Harvard’s health and safety policies can be found here.

Please note that applicants who apply directly to The Principals’ Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education will not be eligible for funding from the Charles Butt Foundation. Charles Butt Foundation applicants must complete the application below and do not need to complete an additional application to The Principals’ Center on the Harvard website.

School Turnaround Leadership
Application and selection is a five-step process:
  1. Online Application: The first step of the application process is to complete the full online application process by 12:00 p.m. (noon) CST on March 15, 2023.
  2. Application Review and Interview Selection: Applications will be reviewed and interview finalists selected by March 24, 2023.
  3. Interview Process: Interview finalists are required to participate in a virtual/video interview process that begins April 3, 2023.
  4. Final Cohort Selection: All selected finalists will be notified by April 24, 2023.
  5. Attendee Confirmation: Attendees must submit a signed letter of agreement by May 5, 2023.

Who is eligible to apply?

For the 2023 institute, we are giving preference to campus leadership teams who serve in rural school districts and/or school districts with 5,000 students or less. Campus leadership teams who do not serve in these types of districts are eligible to apply and could be selected for the cohort depending on the number of available sponsorships.

Campus leadership teams applying for the School Turnaround Leaders Institute must currently be assigned to a school that received an overall D or F in 2019 and which did not receive a rating of A, B, or C in 2022.

  1. Campus leadership teams must include the head principal, a teacher leader who is currently a classroom teacher, and the district coordinator of school improvement (DCSI) or the principal’s supervisor.
  2. A teacher leader is defined as a classroom teacher who serves in a formal or informal instructional leadership role. A full-time instructional coach does not qualify as a teacher leader.
  3. The fourth member of the campus leadership team may be an assistant principal, a school counselor, an instructional coach, a local Education Service Center turnaround plan team member, or the Effective Schools Framework facilitator for the campus.
  4. Team applications that do not include the required members will not be considered.
  5. Campus leadership teams may include up to four team members (principal and three others).
  6. A change in principal after your team is selected will result in forfeiture of your sponsorship.

Applicants sponsored by Raise Your Hand Texas/Charles Butt Foundation who participated in the Harvard Leadership Program in 2022 are NOT eligible to apply for sponsorship in 2023. Sponsored participants in any previous year (2008-2019) ARE eligible to apply. If you previously attended The Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education through an organization other than Raise Your Hand Texas/Charles Butt Foundation, you may apply.

Expectations of Attendees

If selected for the Charles Butt Foundation Leadership Program, we ask that participants:

Before Harvard
  • Identify a campus-level and individual problem of practice
  • Develop goals for summer learning
  • Communicate with the Charles Butt Foundation on program deadlines, travel, and other logistics
  • Submit a Commissioner-approved school turnaround plan or a targeted improvement plan to the Charles Butt Foundation
  • Sign a letter of agreement certifying that you agree to the terms of the partnership
During Harvard
  • Attend all classes at Harvard during the selected course
  • Participate in all Harvard activities and complete all assignments
  • Participate in all Charles Butt Foundation events
  • Construct and submit a prospectus to the Charles Butt Foundation explaining your plan for applying your summer learning to the implementation of your Commissioner-approved school turnaround plan or targeted implementation plan
  • Submit your implementation plan
  • Make revisions to your plan and keep the Charles Butt Foundation updated on progress throughout the year
  • Present an overview of summer learning to principal colleagues in your district/charter and to your district/charter administration, and invite Charles Butt Foundation staff
  • Participate in monthly check-ins
  • Attend the 2025 Charles Butt Foundation Leadership Symposium
  • Grant the Charles Butt Foundation access to your campus data for internal program evaluation
  • Volunteer to host a Charles Butt Foundation alumni site visit
  • Attend at least one Charles Butt Foundation alumni site visit
  • Principal member of the team serves as a mentor for a Charles Butt Scholar (other members are encouraged to serve as well)

Apply to Attend

The Charles Butt Foundation is sponsoring individual principals serving Texas public schools to attend the School Turnaround Leaders Institute. Sponsoring includes tuition, airfare, hotel accommodations, and a stipend. The 2023 session will be held from June 5, 2023 to June 9, 2023 with travel to Harvard on June 4 and return from Harvard on June 9.

Application Instructions

    • The team leader is responsible for submitting the team application documents and serving as the primary point of contact for the team.
    • After selecting the “APPLY NOW” button, there are three tasks that the team leader must complete to submit your team selection form.
    • Fill out all the necessary fields, and select the “NEXT” button to move on to the team selection form.
    • Create a login and password to begin the application.
    • After logging into your account, select the first task in the application labeled, “School Turnaround Leadership Application”.
    • A team selection form must be submitted by the team leader (campus principal). The team selection form includes basic information about the campus and the names and email addresses of the individual team members.
    • When completing the team selection form, the team leader should be prepared to include the full campus name, the district-campus ID, and the full name and email address for each team member.
    • Teams are required to complete a campus overview essay that describes their current approach to improving academic performance on their campus. This activity must be completed as a team. Maximum 500 words.
      • Questions to consider:
        • What is your current vision and mission for your campus, and how do you use your vision and mission to inform decisions?
        • What are your current strategies and interventions for school turnaround or school improvement?
        • What is included in your campus professional development plan?
        • What role does the district play in supporting your campus, and how is the district’s support for your campus different from other campuses in your district?
        • How does your campus leadership team work together to continuously improve teaching and learning?
      • Once you have submitted your essays, you must select the “MARK AS COMPLETE” button, and move to the next stage of the application.
    • Complete the “Invite Team Members to Submit Individual Essays” section
      • For each team member, select the “REQUEST A RECOMMENDATION” button and provide their first name, last name, and email address. You may also want to include your own message before selecting the “SEND REQUEST” button.
    • Complete the “Upload Principal Cover Letter, Resume, and 2021-22 Campus TAPR” section.
      • Upload a cover letter and resume for the principal member of the team
      • Upload your 2021-2022 campus TAPR and your 2022-2023 targeted improvement plan or Commissioner-approved school turnaround plan.
      • When all documents have been uploaded, select the “MARK AS COMPLETE” button.
    • Submit your application
      • After you have received notice that all three of your team members have submitted their essays, you will be able to select the “MARK AS COMPLETE” button.
      • Select the “REVIEW” button to review your application. If everything looks correct, select the “SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION” button.
    • After the team selection forms are submitted, each team member will receive an email with a link to an individual Team Member Essay that must be completed by the application deadline, 12:00 p.m. (noon) CST on March 15, 2023.
    • After each team member receives their email, each member will select the “GIVE RECOMMENDATION” button.
    • Create a username and password to access the essay prompt.
      • Questions to consider:
        • What is the persistent problem?
        • What data do you have to support that this is a problem?
        • What is the root cause of this problem?
        • Is this problem affecting teaching and learning across the campus/district?
        • What systems and processes must change to address this problem?
        • What barriers will you face when addressing this problem?
    • After completing the essay, the team member will select the “SUBMIT” button.

If selected, you must agree to the terms in the letter of agreement. Please review the terms closely before applying.

Preview the letter of agreement here: 2023 Letter of Agreement.

Program contact information:

Tim Miller - contact card

Tim Miller

Director of Leadership Development

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