Reframing Context to Support Turnaround in a High Need Urban K8 School


The purpose of this study was to reveal how school contexts (internal and external) impact individual and organizational performance in an urban high need K-8 charter school, located in a large Midwestern city, serving a high percentage of impoverished African American students. Due to the unique leadership structure and focus on creating a learning culture, the school has made a remarkable turnaround in a very short amount of time. The researchers are members of the International School Leadership Development Network (ISLDN), a collaborative project that includes over 40 researchers from over 20 countries world-wide. This qualitative case study was completed using the ISLDN interview protocol to delve into how internal and external contexts impact individual and organizational performance in the school. The authors conducted individual and small group interviews with the School CEO, the principal, the Academic Dean, three teachers, and three parents, one of which was the president of the Parent Leadership Council for the four MCP schools. The specific research question was: How do internal and external school contexts impact individual and organizational performance at Lloyd Street Campus? The findings reveal that several themes repeatedly emerged in response to the research question: Mission-Driven Culture, Character Building and Celebrating Students, Daily Testing and Detailed Lesson Plans, Resources and Support. Establishing Expectations and Relationships with External Partners, and a Strong Commitment to Celebrating the Culture and the Community Surrounding the School.


African American Students, Charter Schools, High Need Schools


Educational Organization and Leadership


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Dr. Mette Baran
    • Associate Professor, Doctoral Leadership Department, Cardinal Stritch University, United States United States
    • Dr. Baran completed her Ed. D. in Administrative Leadership and Supervision from DePaul University. She obtained an M.B.A. in International Business and a baccalaureate degree in Marketing from DePaul University. Dr. Baran teaches leadership and research in the doctoral department. Her background includes being a faculty member and senior executive at Robert Morris College including the positions as Campus Director, Director of Education, and Director of Development. Her research interests and expertise includes looping, student attitudes, charter schools, and middle school education.
  • Glady Van Harpen
    • Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, United States United States