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Office of School Turnaround

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Office of School Turnaround

East St. Louis School District 189 is implementing a bold strategy to increase student achievement. This will dramatically transform all of our schools through comprehensive and direct services to students, recruit and develop top turnaround leaders and teachers, change school operations and provide more educational partnership opportunities.


Roles & Responsibilities

Chief of Schools

  • Strong leadership with high-functioning teams
  • Implementation of Administrator Development Support System (ADSS)
  • Well established systems to help develop and maintain high-quality schools
  • Create an environment where staff members are valued
  • Provide opportunities for staff to grow and develop by offering learning  opportunities and individualized professional development
  • Strategically recruit top talent throughout the region, state and nation
  • Lead for Cycles of Iteration
  • Co-manage SIG grant
  • Establish systems of accountability

Chief Academic Officer

  • Aggressive, transparent goals for schools, teams, and individuals
  • Performance management systems with cycles of inquiry
  • Standards-based, college prep K-12 curriculum
  • Aligned assessment system that identifies student academic needs

School Turnaround Specialists

  • Safe and orderly schools and classroom environment
  • Attendance and discipline policies
  • Social and emotional learning supports
  • Monitoring of Teacher Development Dialogue(TDD)
  • Implementation of Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF)
  • Support for BAG program
  • Lead in Implementation of Restorative Practices and PBIS
  • Provide direct support for 21st century and after school programming
  • Engaged parents and community partners
  • Proactive social supports that meet student needs

Data Manager

  • Management of DOMO Dashboard system
  • Analyze student data
  • Manage schools website and social media
  • Master Scheduling Support

On-Site Coordinators

  • Focused professional development that ensures teacher effectiveness
  • Deliberate use of Danielson Framework and signature strategies
  • Complete Annual and Quarterly Reports
  • Clear lines of communication with parents and community
  • Co-manage SIG grant

School Improvement Grant:

Over the last several years, East St. Louis School District 189 has received four School Improvement Grants (SIG). These grants, authorized under section 1003(g) of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, are awarded to State Educational Agencies who then make competitive subgrants to Local Educational Agencies. Selected awardees demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to the use of funds to provide adequate resources in order to raise substantially the achievement of students in their lowest-performing schools. The schools that are currently operating by a SIG include:

The schools supported by SIG include: Bush Elementary School, Mason Clark Middle School, Lincoln Middle School and East Saint Louis Senior High School. These schools have been in a unique group titled School Transformation Zones.

School Transformation Zone:

The School Transformation Zone consists of a cohort of schools that have been part of SIG efforts. Currently, all of the Transformation Zone schools have a lead partner. Our lead partner, IARSS, provides multiple resources and serves as a thought partner in the planning and implementation of best practices. All schools who serve within the Transformation Zone cohort will remain in the cohort. Individual schools who have reached a Proficient (four star) rating for two consecutive years on the district’s Academic Excellence Indicator can be removed from the School Transformation Zone.

Flexibility with Clear Accountability

Transformation Zone Schools will operate with greater flexibility than typical schools. To accommodate greater flexibility, the district has given more autonomy and support to building level leadership. For example, turnaround schools will each partner with an outside agency (lead partner) for external support. The OST Lead has direct access to the district’s Superintendent to resolve issues as they arise. Ensuring operator flexibility has also meant that the district has had to provide the OST with political backing to ensure they are able to take dramatic action and be innovative. The Superintendent prepared the Board and FOP for this, and the decision to create the “Office of School Turnaround” was welcomed. Included in this flexibility is a high degree of accountability for a clear vision of success on an ambitious, but achievable timeline. We believe that it will take at least five years to attain sustainable success.  Leading indicators have been defined to measure success in years one through three by using the District’s Academic Excellence Indicator System.

Standardization for Scalability and Shared Decision-Making

Ultimately, the OST team works in collaboration with school leaders to come to consensus on most decisions around people, time, money, and programs. A detailed staffing map lays out positions at a school and clarifies expectations around each role. Student and teacher time is organized according to a common expectation, specific configurations of teacher meetings and define the scheduling and use of teacher planning time. Budgets are ultimately decided by the Office of School Turnaround (OST) and building principal. Many aspects of programming at the school—the assessment system, the behavior management system, advisory, the teaching-effectiveness framework—are defined by OST.

While the OST has worked to clarify a key set of non-negotiables, school-level flexibility has been preserved in two key ways to ensure the overall approach is customized to unique school context. First, because OST has a high degree of flexibility, non-negotiables are easily waived in the context of OST managers’ relationships with school leaders. Thus, many decisions on the customization of approach are worked out directly with school leaders who make a good case for why a particular aspect of turnaround strategy should be adjusted at their school. Secondly, leaders, teachers, and staff are expected to use data to design unique tactics within areas of strategy.

Rigorous Data Analysis and Monitoring

OST manages all support and monitoring for turnaround schools. To effectively support the standardized approach, dedicated staff oversees each area of turnaround strategy (e.g., teaching and learning, climate and culture). A Director of School Improvement supervises the use of data across all areas, while the School Turnaround Specialist directly manages the development of attendance and social-emotional support. OST also has other positions dedicated to supporting the campuses and building leaders.

Cycles of Iteration: TDD-ADSS-Performance Management-AEIS

The OST will be responsible for the overall improvement of student achievement. The OST will monitor and implement a structure and process to create a pathway for rapid improvement in student learning, teacher development, quality of leaders and overall efficiency of school operations. Students will have access to interventions and supports through various school and district-led initiatives. The most impactful element that each student will have access to is a quality teacher.

Performance Management Tasks & Academic Excellence Indicator System:

School District 189 has taken an aggressive approach to improve the overall quality of education for the students in East St.Louis. Once a week, the OST data team will come together to review data trends through all systems using DOMO and Skyward as primary data sources. Up to two times a year, each individual school will go through a Performance Management session. School teams will discuss plans around all areas of the Academic Excellence Indicators (AEI).

The District’s OST will probe and review evidence that is provided by each campus. Feedback will be provided to each school, and plans will be developed and implemented by school level teams to either sustain or improve all outcomes. In preparation for each session, each school will receive a two-week notice along with guidelines of what is needed for the session. The first Performance Management session will always be done in correlation of the release of the AEIS performance rubric. OST will require school teams to complete School Improvement Plans and set SMART goals that align with the data from the AEI.

The District Performance Management Team will involve all members of the OST and two additional staff members who will be selected by the Assistant Superintendents of Curriculum. Each campus will select up to four team members including the building administrator. The most important pieces of the individual Performance Management sessions are the reflective practices and the feedback that lead to positive change for school transformation.

Each campus will be audited at least annually through our Performance Management system. Performance Management is the systematic process by which the school district involves its staff, as individuals and members of a group, in improving staff effectiveness in meeting district and school goals that impact student success. Performance Management includes:

  • planning work and setting expectations
  • continually monitoring performance
  • developing the capacity to troubleshoot and implement new plans
  • periodically rating performance while closing the achievement gap
  • prepare all students for a successful post secondary life

 ADSS Tasks:

The Administrator Development Support System (ADSS) was created in order to provide building and district-level administrators a systemic approach to enhancing and developing the skills required to be highly effective leaders. Often times, administrators do not receive timely or adequate feedback on their day-to-day practices. School leaders will be supported to better lead campuses from multiple lenses through the Administrator Development Support System:

Using the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards, building principals and administrators will be taken through three ten-week cycles of support. Each administrator will receive a three-hour-long skill audit by their direct supervisor each cycle. The supervisor will engage in the day-to-day interactions of the administrator (does not matter what the administrator is doing on that day). Evidence will be collected by the supervisor on the school leader’s development document that is grounded in the School Leaders standards. Over the three hour cycle, the supervisor will gather as much data as possible on the respective administrator. Using the school’s responsibility assignment matrix RACI (Responsible-Accountable-Consulted-Informed)  roles and responsibility document, the supervisor will be able to interview other staff members, students, and/or parents. While evidence will be collected, no names will be documented.

Once a cycle is completed, the supervisor will invite the Curriculum Team and other key members to take part in a feedback session. The feedback session will be facilitated by the supervisor. Depending on the administrator, members from curriculum, pupil services, Special Education and/or data and assessment will have an opportunity to provide feedback about the respective administrator’s contributions to their (RACI) responsibilities.

Every building level administrator will receive a report at the end of each cycle that will provide feedback. Included in the feedback will be areas of strengths for growth, action steps for support, and a professional development plan. Each Administrator must complete the Teacher Development Dialogue (TDD) implementation with at least 80% accuracy in order to successfully be rated as High Functioning.

The purpose of the TDD is to help administrators support their teachers by providing them with timely constructive feedback essential to their growth and development as a teacher (not merely an annual evaluation). The TDD prescribes that administrators will complete 5 critical tasks throughout the school year:  

  1. Administrators are scheduled to complete three observations (lasting 10-minutes at elementary and 15-minutes at secondary level) per day across their building. Administrators are expected to spend at least 150 school days completing this process (450 mini observations a year).
  2. Each teacher must have a minimum of 10 observations (a combination of formal, informal and walkthroughs) completed by an administrator by the end of each quarter.  
  3. The documentation of the teacher observations will be compiled in a binder by the administrator. Administrators at each school will meet with the District Performance Management Team to review their TDD binders and complete their Master TDD file.
  4. At the end of each cycle the leadership team from each campus will sit down and complete the the TDD Teacher Excel Document. This process will allow the team to develop a professional development plan to support individual teachers.
  5. Administrators will complete a Teacher Progress Report for each of their teachers and meet with each teacher to review their report with an explanation of its contents and recommendations.

School leaders will be supported to better lead campuses from multiple lenses through the two Administrator Development Support System sessions with the supervisor.


Department Initiatives: 

SIG Grants

Continuous Improvement Processes:

  • Performance Management Sessions
  • Academic Excellence Indicators System
  • Teacher Development Dialogue Walkthroughs
  • District and School Improvement Plans

Evaluation and Data of Program and Student Performance:

  • DOMO
  • NWEA MAP Testing
  • PARCC and DLM-AA
  • SAT
  • Illinois Science Assessment

Contact Us:

Keisa Garrett, Chief of Schools


Phone:  618-646-3014


Carlynda Coleman, School Turnaround Specialist 


Phone:  618-646-3042


Maria White-Burton, School Turnaround Specialist 


Phone:  618-646-3028


Teresa Lewis, Secretary


Phone:  618-646-3089