Rooting School Improvement Specialists in Research and Evidence

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

“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 provides what Deb Page would like to see more of in the education field: researched and evidence-based training aimed at human performance improvement. The end result of LAUNCH! ™ is sustained improvement in student outcomes at perennially low-performing schools. The training gets there, however, by investing in adults — the educational leaders tapped by a State Educational Agency or  Regional Education Service Alliance to lead the transformation process.

For Page, Co-Founder of Georgia-based The Institute for Performance Improvement (TIFPI), the desire for more human capital development in public-school leadership is borne out of personal experience and further research. Page began her career as a high school language arts teacher before moving to the private sector where she spent 20 years as a Human Capital Management executive. In 2010 she conducted a study of low-performing schools in Georgia that had turned around performance and experienced sustained gains. During the Georgia study, Page recognized a common body of practices used by district and school leaders, as well as the state-assigned school improvement specialists, when improving results.

She joined forces with Dr. Judith Hale, an expert in credential development, to conduct a national study to develop and validate the 10 national Certified School Improvement Specialist™ standards and the evidence-based Certified School Improvement Specialist™ designation. Page and Hale codified these standards in their co-authored book, The School Improvement Specialist Field Guide (Corwin Press, 2011), which is the text for the LAUNCH!™ Training. This research and evidence underlie the validity and value of the LAUNCH! ™ Training for school improvement specialists attempting to help low-performing schools. Read more about LAUNCH!™ Training experience (see Filling the Gap for School Transformation), rooted in the Certified School Improvement Specialist™ standards:

  1. Analyze and Apply Critical Judgement
  2. Facilitate Deriving Meaning and Engagement
  3. Focus on Systemic Factors
  4. Plan and Record
  5. Organize and Manage Effort and Resources
  6. Guide and Focus Collaborative Improvement
  7. Build Capacity
  8. Demonstrate Organizational Sensitivity
  9. Monitor Accountability and Adoption
  10. Implement for Sustainability
“I particularly appreciated the organizational tools and resources. As an educator who possesses some characteristics of a Type A personality, I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to charts (i.e. Task Breakdown chart) and graphs that allowed me to ‘chunk’ my work and organize it into more easily manageable and doable parts.”
Daundria Phillips, Ph.D.,
School Effectiveness Specialist for the GaDOE and Cohort IV graduate
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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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