Leading Through Learning

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Insights on designing education systems to get ever better

How to use school-level autonomy to improve schools? Design it with the people most affected by it.     

Since 2020, CPRL has worked with Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) in Massachusetts to create a framework to guide its school improvement work. As one of the lowest performing districts in the state, LPS was put into receivership in 2011. The district set out to transform from a highly centralized management structure to a new model that creates and maintains operational and performance ground rules and standards and grants school leaders with school-level autonomy to meet those standards. LPS engaged CPRL to lead a process for developing a School Autonomy Framework to help the district better understand what success looks like in its schools and how it can best support schools to meet the needs of all students. Several years later, they are seeing results. LPS Assistant Superintendent Melissa Spash shares her reflections on the process for developing the framework and what it has meant for the district and for her own work as a leader. 

High schools are where futures are made, where teens build skills and develop mindsets to prepare them for young adulthood, college, jobs, and community life. Over the next month, about 3 million young people across the U.S. will take their next steps toward their future as they get their high school diplomas. As we send them off, we wonder, have we set them up for success? How can we ensure that the young people coming up behind them get what they need from their high school experiences?

Since 2020, CPRL has worked with Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) in Massachusetts to create a framework to guide its school improvement work. As one of the lowest performing districts in the state, LPS was put into receivership in 2011. The district set out to transform from a highly centralized management structure to a new model that creates and maintains operational and performance ground rules and standards and grants school leaders with school-level autonomy to meet those standards. LPS engaged CPRL to lead a process for developing a School Autonomy Framework to help the district better understand what success looks like in its schools and how it can best support schools to meet the needs of all students. Several years later, they are seeing results. LPS Assistant Superintendent Melissa Spash shares her reflections on the process for developing the framework and what it has meant for the district and for her own work as a leader. 

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