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Massachusetts School Turnaround Research Partnership


The Massachusetts School Turnaround Research Partnership is working with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to examine the turnaround practices and indicators of the lowest performing schools in the state in order to improve them. The Partnership is also exploring how to best share information about effective turnaround practices with a broader audience, including districts and schools.


  • Support state policymakers in using and applying research as they consider adjustments to strategies to support low-performing schools.
  • Identify and develop strategies for low-performing schools and districts to use extant data to improve decision making.


Carrie ParkerDr. Susan Therriault
Managing Researcher
REL Northeast & Islands


Training Project: Using Place-Based Analyses to Understand Barriers to Teacher Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention in Low-Performing Schools and their Districts
To address the acute challenge of ensuring a strong teacher pipeline and stability in the teaching force for low-performing schools, and recognizing that the root causes for teacher shortages may vary by location, REL Northeast & Islands is working closely with DESE staff and two pilot districts with low-performing schools to build GIS (geographic information system) maps that include state, district, and school pipeline data on teachers, including data on recruitment, hiring, quality, retention, and migration.

Research Study: Relationship between State Annual School Monitoring Indicators and Outcomes in Massachusetts Low Performing Schools
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has developed systems of support and monitoring for low-performing schools that include measuring schools on a Turnaround Practices and Indicators (TP&I) rubric. This study analyzed school indicator ratings data for school years 2014/15–2018/19 from all 91 low-performing schools in Massachusetts. The study examined how indicator ratings were related to two schoolwide student outcomes: mean student growth percentiles (in English language arts and math) and chronic absenteeism rates.

Research Study: Relationships between Schoolwide Instructional Observation Scores and Student Academic Achievement and Growth in Low‑Performing Schools in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) recognizes that a key lever to turning around low-performing schools is the quality of instruction. DESE uses Teachstone’s Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) tool to assess the schoolwide quality of teacher and student interactions in three domains: emotional support, classroom organization, and instructional support. DESE and REL Northeast & Islands partnered to examine the relationships between schoolwide instructional observation scores and schoolwide student academic achievement and growth. Learn more.


Name Title Organization
Erica Champagne Director, Office of Effective Practices in Turnaround Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
Kendra Winner Principal Researcher DESE