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From the Brink of Closure: Key Factors in One Charter School's Successful Turnaround

By Aimee Evan


Perry Street Preparatory Public Charter School (Perry Street) in Washington, DC, is one of the few charter schools to conduct a comprehensive improvement effort and do so independent of another operator. Instead, Perry Street’s board chose to work with a third-party turnaround partner to initiate, support, and build capacity to sustain change.

Recent results indicate the turnaround has been largely successful. Perry Street moved from being one of DC’s lowest performing schools to one of the highest performing in five years. And an independent evaluation conducted by WestEd showed the turnaround efforts resulted in significant, positive impacts to student achievement compared to similar students at other charters and traditional schools.

Written intentionally for school leaders, board members, and authorizers, this report and the video below share Perry Street’s story of comprehensive improvement and describes the necessary conditions for turnaround success.

Key Takeaways

Turnaround takes time with urgent focus on goals. Turnaround is a multi-year undertaking that requires everyone to work with urgency, dedication, and focused effort in order to make continuous progress toward goals.

Turnaround requires a systemic approach. At the heart of the improvement effort at Perry Street was the transformation of processes and systems, which enabled educators to focus on meeting students’ needs. This required a comprehensive overhaul of the core components of Perry Street: leadership/governance, human resources/talent, instruction, culture, and fiscal/operations.

Turnaround requires building capacities to drive and sustain change. Perry Street collaborated with its partner, TenSquare, to build the capacity of the board, leadership, and staff to operate and sustain the new processes and systems in the ways their students needed.

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2019
Format: PDF
Pages: 61
Publisher: WestEd