Statewide System of Support (SSoS)

Turnaround Plan Guidance

This content is a work in progress. Check back for updated features and content.

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9/28/18 - A Letter from the Associate Commissioner of the Statewide System of Support on 2018 Accountability Results and Aligned Assistance
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11/16/18 - A Letter from the Associate Commissioner of the Statewide System of Support on Turnaround Planning Requirements for Schools in the Lowest 10 Percentiles and the Targeted Assistance Grant (TAG)
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11/16/18 - A Letter from the Associate Commissioner of the Statewide System of Support on Turnaround Planning Requirements for Schools with Low-Performing Subgroups Only and the Targeted Assistance Grant (TAG)

Turnaround Plans for Schools Requiring Assistance or Intervention

The Statewide System of Support (SSoS) in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) has created a plan template and accompanying guidance for district and schools identified under Massachusetts' Next-Generation District & School Accountability System as requiring assistance or intervention (see Broad/comprehensive support and Focused/targeted support in chart below).

Schools without required assistance or intervention
(approx. 85%)

Schools requiring assistance or intervention
(approx. 15%)

Schools of recognition

Meeting targets

Partially meeting targets

Focused/targeted support

Board/comprehensive support

Schools demonstrating high achievement, significant improvement, or high growth Criterion-referenced target percentage 75–100 Criterion-referenced target percentage 0–74

*Schools with percentiles 1–10

*Schools with low graduation rate

*Schools with low performing subgroups

*Schools with low participation

*Underperforming schools

*Chronically underperforming schools

Just as the new accountability system in Massachusetts was designed to meet federal ESSA Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)[1] requirements, this turnaround plan guidance and template was designed to support schools and districts in meeting federal ESSA planning requirements, as well as state planning requirements under the Massachusetts Act Relative to the Achievement Gap M.G.L. Ch 69, Section 1J [2]. In addition to its alignment with state and federal planning requirements, this template and guidance promotes research-based evidence of best practice in high performing Massachusetts turnaround schools and the turnaround practices.

These materials were developed from the lessons learned across the state and based on some guiding principles:

  • A streamlined plan with succinct narrative that is user-friendly and an authentic guide for all practitioners
  • A systematic and intentional strategic plan to drive rapid school improvement
  • A plan that is built on benchmarks that effectively measure growth throughout the school year to determine if the school is making progress towards meeting their annual goals
  • A living document that can be used as a communication and reflection tool

While the resources below are intended to provide districts and schools the guidance and additional resources they need to effectively engage in the turnaround planning process, ESE's Statewide System of Support (SSoS) regional assistance staff are available to provide support to schools engaged in this important work. You can reach out to leaders of the Coastal, West/Central, or Strategic Transformation regions to access these supports.

A note for schools only designated as requiring assistance or intervention for one or more low-performing subgroups: It is recommended that these schools should use this full set of guidance in developing a plan, focused throughout on analyzing data, selecting strategies, and monitoring progress towards improving academic outcomes for students in those subgroups.

[1] ESSA requires that schools in the lowest 5th percentile must work with local stakeholders to develop and implement a comprehensive support and improvement plan. By law, these plans must be informed by all the indicators in the state's accountability system, include evidence-based interventions, be based on a school-level needs assessment, involve stakeholders in planning and implementation, and identify resource inequities that must be addressed. The plan must be approved by the state and once approved, the state is responsible for monitoring and reviewing implementation of the plan. Schools with consistently underperforming subgroups (targeted support and intervention schools) are subject to the planning requirements for schools in the lowest 5th percentile, but the state is not required to approve or monitor the plans.

[2] All schools named as "underperforming" must meet several requirements in developing a turnaround plan under M.G.L. Ch 69, Section 1J.

Getting Started

This website provides detailed guidance and instructions for each step of the turnaround planning process. A district and school team can access each section on this web page when needed for each step.

Download Word Document
Turnaround Plan Template
Download Word Document
Turnaround Plan at a Glance
A Full Set of Turnaround Plan Guidance and Instructions — coming soon

How long should the turnaround planning process take? We offer this guide for planning timelines for both schools engaging in this process for the first time, and for schools that are renewing on an annual basis.

Download Word Document
Sample Timeline for Turnaround Plan Development

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.