School turnaround generally takes one to three years. In September, 14 Massachusetts schools that had been identified as Level 4 three years ago demonstrated enough progress move out of Level 4 status. In one case, a school moved from Level 4 to Level 1. So, yes, turnaround is possible. But those 14 schools represent just 40 percent of the schools that were identified as Level 4 three years ago; another 60 percent are still struggling to improve.
Although the Salem public schools did not meet any of the student outcomes in year one of the accelerated improvement plan and is falling short of state expectations across all subjects and groups, the structure is now in place for growth. To meet the three-year goals, rapid achievement must be made this school year. And everyone working with our schools must embrace the goals we have set for ourselves in all categories: student rates, student achievement and college readiness and school culture; this includes embracing progress on the MCAS.
Janine Matho is president and Sarah Morrill former president of the Salem Education Foundation. This column is one in a monthly series from the Community Advisory Board for the Salem schools.