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Miles from Home: Transforming the Poorest, Most Expansive School Districts in New Mexico
West, June A.; Gibbs, Shea Case BC-0266 / Published November 8, 2018 / 13 pages.
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What specific actions can a school district take to spur dramatic improvement? This case details a partnership between the school board of one of the poorest-performing educational districts in New Mexico and the University of Virginia's Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (Darden/Curry PLE). The Darden/Curry PLE turnaround approach helps transform low-performing schools into high-performing schools and allows administrators to identify and contextualize their most pressing issues and focus on cultivating sustainable change. In the Gallup-McKinley school district, the turnaround process faced challenges and resistance, even from stakeholders within the district. But administrators were motivated to identify the root cause of the district's struggles through data-driven instruction and committed to making the turnaround initiative work. Four years after the start of the Darden/Curry PLE intervention, Gallup-McKinley was number one among the largest New Mexico districts in English language arts two-year proficiency growth and number three in math two-year proficiency growth. What could school administrators around the country learn about the leadership and instruction changes necessary to overcome the challenges and barriers confronting low-performing school districts?


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  • Overview

    What specific actions can a school district take to spur dramatic improvement? This case details a partnership between the school board of one of the poorest-performing educational districts in New Mexico and the University of Virginia's Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education (Darden/Curry PLE). The Darden/Curry PLE turnaround approach helps transform low-performing schools into high-performing schools and allows administrators to identify and contextualize their most pressing issues and focus on cultivating sustainable change. In the Gallup-McKinley school district, the turnaround process faced challenges and resistance, even from stakeholders within the district. But administrators were motivated to identify the root cause of the district's struggles through data-driven instruction and committed to making the turnaround initiative work. Four years after the start of the Darden/Curry PLE intervention, Gallup-McKinley was number one among the largest New Mexico districts in English language arts two-year proficiency growth and number three in math two-year proficiency growth. What could school administrators around the country learn about the leadership and instruction changes necessary to overcome the challenges and barriers confronting low-performing school districts?

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