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School Turnaround GPS is a collection of resources aimed at helping rural schools and districts accelerate progress toward improved achievement and improved school cultures. A playbook for successful school turnaround.

6 High-Level Learnings

Former Lake County School District Superintendent Dr. Wendy Wyman shares six high-level learnings from her work to turnaround schools in Leadville, Colorado.


  1. A collaborative, growth mindset leadership style is vital to building or rebuilding trust internally.
  2. Gaining the trust of the community is equally important.
  3. External partners are there to serve you, not vice-versa.
  4. Equity is a main driver of our turnaround work.
  5. Sometimes you have to say no, even when money is involved.
  6. Make sure your partners understand the rural context.
Picture of Dr. Wendy Wyman, Superintendent
Dr. Wendy Wyman was the superintendent of schools in Lake County, Colorado. She was recognized for leadership in school turnaround, named a 2019 Leader to Learn From by Education Week.
Lake County School District in Colorado, Town Picture

Who are we?

We're Lake County School District in Colorado. We know from experience that turnaround in a rural setting poses unique challenges, and we want to help you navigate through it. We offer a proof point: Extraordinary schools are possible in every community. Learning about our journey can lead to success in yours.

Read about our success

About School Turnaround GPS

GOAL:

Accelerate rural school progress toward improved achievement.

AUDIENCE:

Leaders engaged in turnaround in the rural western United States.


OUTREACH:

Monthly e-newsletter and online resources.


Learn from our journey.

We hope and believe that LCSD's experiences are transferable, and that by sharing them with you, we can help you avoid some of the pitfalls we encountered, while helping steer you toward success.

September 2019 newsletter excerpt

Gaining the trust of the community.

Our school system had a history of telling the community how amazing our schools were, when evidence to the contrary was staring everyone in the face. It reminded me of the old fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes. I believe that telling hard truths is an effective way to build trust.

Suggested Resource: Trust in Schools: A Core Resource for Improvement by Anthony S. Bryk & Barbara Schneider offers insights into how trust can be built and sustained in school communities, and identifies some features of public school systems that can impede such development.



School Turnaround GPS sample newsletter