Sustaining Turnaround: Moving from Last to First

Dear Friends:

The Red Sox are not the only ones who went from last to first. The "Murkland Miracle" is one of the most dramatic school turnarounds in the nation. The Murkland School in the Lowell Public Schools (Massachusetts) is now being recognized for sustaining its significant improvements in student academic growth over a three year period.

CTAC originally worked with the Charlotte M. Murkland Elementary School, identified as one of the lowest performing schools in Massachusetts, three years ago. CTAC helped implement the Standard Bearer Schools improvement model to identify and address the root causes of the school's underperformance. The school met its three-year improvement goals in a single year and achieved the greatest gains in state test scores of all 35 of the state's "Level 4" schools, including significant gains in both English and mathematics.

Now, Murkland is recognized as one of only four schools to go from worst to first, from Level 4 to Level 1 (top 20%). In order to do this, the school had to sustain its academic success for three years. Of the initial group of low-performing schools, the Murkland is the only one to show dramatic gains without replacing more than a quarter of the staff in a single year. The Murkland shows that a blend of school and district leadership, a committed faculty and capacity building makes a real difference for students.

To learn more about school turnaround and the Standard Bearer Schools process, please contact us at 617.423.1444 and visit our website

Best Regards,
William J. Slotnik
Executive Director
Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC)

March 2014

Dramatic school turnaround with Standard Bearer Schools process

Murkland Miracle is sustained

Leadership, commitment and capacity make the difference

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