Filling the Gap for School Transformation

High Leverage Opportunity 1 - Statewide Support to Low-Performing Schools

“The elevator speech is that the Institute trains and certifies people who those assigned to support the state's lowest performing schools. Our LAUNCH!™ program is customarily used with the state’s lowest-performing schools.”
Deb Page, Georgia SEA Principal Liaison
Deb Page
Georgia SEA Principal Liaison

School improvement facilitators play a critical role in helping low-performing schools turn around their practices and results for students. Often these professionals are educational leaders, academic coaches, or State and Local Education Agency staff who know what worked in their own experiences to improve student performance. But what they often don’t have is training and credentialing specific to the school improvement process so they can create sustained success for other schools and districts.

This is where the LAUNCH!™ Training, provided by RC6 partner, The Institute for Performance Improvement (TIFPI), fills a gap.

“The elevator speech is that the Institute trains and certifies those assigned to support the state's lowest performing schools. Our LAUNCH!™ program is customarily used with the state’s lowest-performing schools,” said Deb Page, TIFPI CEO and President. State Education Agencies and districts have long grappled with how to improve outcomes at consistently low-performing schools. This importance is expressed through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that charges State Educational Agencies (SEAs) with specific work for the lowest-performing schools receiving Title I, Part A funds — Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools (CSIs) and Targeted Support and Improvement Schools (TSIs). The districts and schools that saw sustained improvement in these low-performing schools interested Page and spurred her research interest.

Page co-founded TIFPI in 2012 along with Dr. Judith Hale, an expert in credential development and a willing research partner who was also interested in the school turnaround process. Together, Page and Hale identified a common body of practices for successful school improvement facilitators that they distinguished in their co-authored text, The School Improvement Specialist Field Guide (to learn more, see Rooting School Improvement Specialists in Research and Evidence). By developing standards and an evidence-based certification, Page and Hale fashioned a replicable craft out of an unwieldy body of work within school transformation. Before LAUNCH! ™, a resource didn’t exist that organized and defined the best practices for school performance transformation. “Those who were going into the field to support low-performing schools did not have a proven set of processes, practices and tools. They just jumped in and tried to help. They described it as grabbing a part of an elephant and just trying to hang on. We codified what works and how to do it, so they can approach their work effectively, with a sense of efficacy.”

The LAUNCH! ™ Training clarifies this through a year-long, job-embedded development program that incorporates the school performance data and unique challenges from participants’ schools. Participants are trained in cohorts sponsored by school districts, Regional Education Service Alliances (RESAs) and State Educational Agencies. Title funds and ESSA funds can be applied to participant tuition. LAUNCH! ™ Cohort V is underway after Cohort IV persevered through the intense challenges brought on by COVID-19 to reach graduation in June (read Cohort IV Displays Resilience, Marks Program Firsts). Each cohort features at least 25 participants whose supervisors also attend the training to help transfer the LAUNCH! ™ learning to on-the-job practice and results.

Upon graduation participants earn a micro-credential and a verifiable digital badge. They also will have experienced a training tailored to how professionals learn and one that focuses on the systems and contexts that produce perennially under-performing schools. “We help them embrace the understanding that this is a complex system and turnaround doesn’t happen overnight,” Page said.

“The LAUNCH training provided me with a plethora of resources and tools to use to support the schools and school districts I serve.” 
Daundria Phillips, Ph.D.,
School Effectiveness Specialist for the GaDOE and Cohort IV graduate

This website was developed under a grant from the Department of Education through the Office of Program and Grantee Support Services (PGSS) within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), by the Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) at the SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro under Award #S283B190055. This website contains resources that are provided for the reader’s convenience. These materials may contain the views and recommendations of various subject matter experts as well as hypertext links, contact addresses, and websites to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any outside information included in these materials. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, enterprise, curriculum, or program of instruction mentioned in this document is intended or should be inferred.

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