#1 Record for School Turnaround

Our team members have a 100% career success record for increasing student achievement while addressing the difficult conditions of schools starting to emerge from turnaround.

Conditions drastically changed enabling students to engage in rigorous tasks in Lakewood Elementary.

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We Partner with You to Change Students’ Lives

Lakewood Elementary School was the lowest-performing traditional public school in Florida with an “F” school grade. Lakewood serves a marginalized demographic – 100% of students receive free and reduced meals and 15% are homeless or in foster care.

After three years, Lakewood rose to an “A” grade.

Lakewood closed achievement gaps by as much as 189% in reading between Black students and non-Black students, up to 260% in math between students receiving free and reduced lunch and non-free and reduced lunch, and up to 109% in math between students with disabilities and those without disabilities.

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Your School can Emerge from Turnaround If …

You have …

  • Pressing challenges with negative student behaviors
  • High teacher and principal turnover
  • Persistent underperformance in student achievement

You want to …

Move leaders from fighting fires to systems improvement
Resolve student behavior issues
Motivate educators and builds instructional capacity
Increase educator retention
Engage students in rigorous, standards-based instruction
Lead to accelerated achievement and sustainable results
Build a schoolwide learning culture of rigor and agency
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Our Social Mission Drives Our Results

This work matters to us.

Our social mission is to end generational poverty and eliminate racial achievement gaps through transformed core instruction.

We are so serious about our social mission that we founded our own independent Applied Research Center.

Our research center verifies every project using the most exacting federal research standards. We ensure our methods work in every school and every classroom in all the different communities that our partner schools serve.

We Are Not a Program – We Do Systems Work

Schools emerging from turnaround often have implemented program after program without obtaining the desired student achievement results. High negative student behaviors and other conditions issues typically remain because the behavioral and instructional systems were not addressed first. Programs cannot build the foundational systems necessary for sustainable growth. Systems work is second order change which requires time and the personalized support of dedicated leadership coaches.

Embedded Support for Systems Development

Our onsite school leadership coaching focuses on rapid small wins that lead to sustainable systems improvement and instructional leadership development for principals. Every one of our leadership coaches has served as successful school or district leaders. Every single one.

School principals work side by side with our leadership coaches, learning by doing. This alliance ensures new practices immediately transfer and impact the school’s instructional systems, creating visible wins and building principal confidence.

“They sent the best and the brightest they have from their company to help mentor and develop us as instructional leaders to really move our school forward.”

Dr. Debra Wright Hudson
Principal, McLaughlin Middle School, Lake Wales, FL

“Having someone side-by-side coaching me and giving me feedback and helping me see things from maybe different perspectives, has really helped me grow as a leader. It also holds me accountable for making sure that I’m focused on the right things instead of getting caught up in things that might not have as great of an impact.”

Sarah Garcia
Principal Shaw Elementary School, Tampa, FL

We Don’t Push Rocks Uphill – We Push Them Downhill

We build positive momentum quickly with a series of small wins that cascade into larger wins for the school. This provides a boost of confidence in the improvement process while the effort gains greater momentum.

Hope Becomes Contagious

With each success, the culture begins to change, beliefs begin to change, and hope spreads across the school.

“The consistent feedback and support through our coaching systems have allowed our teachers to really open up and be vulnerable with their growth, which is in turn making a huge impact on their performance and effectiveness in the classroom.”

Sarah Garcia
Principal, Shaw Elementary School, Tampa, FL

Momentum Builds

We focus first on a coalition of the willing – those brave teachers that want to try something different to get a better result.

These teachers build momentum and buy-in among the faculty as they embrace the new approach. They essentially drive adoption of second order change in classroom practices.

Soon their classrooms pop with engagement and positive student behaviors. We celebrate their progress and invite others to visit their classrooms and replicate their success.

Teachers lead teachers into positive change.

“There is not only teacher buy-in, but also a strong desire on the part of teachers to create classrooms where all students can be successful. Teachers feel a lot of pride, students feel pride, and leaders at the front office celebrate student success. When you walk in, you’re hearing all these stories of students. That proves to me that something special is happening at Moseley Elementary School.”

Jonathan Hinke
Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives, Putnam County Schools, Palatka, FL

Teachers Become Leaders

The coalition of the willing quickly become influencers and advocates and help the principal lead the change process. Often, these same teachers become future leaders building a strong bench in the school and district.

“We now have teachers who are providing the PLC Leadership rather than just sitting and getting. The teachers are taking accountability and taking that leadership role.”

Nichole Medich
Director of School Learning, School Turnaround South Bend, IN
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Teacher Retention Skyrockets

Teacher retention skyrockets and school culture transforms in every school we work with starting in schools emerging from Turnaround.

Staff Consistency Makes School Feel Like a Safe Place for Students

“When our students connect with their teachers, it breaks them to lose that person. I think it’s because they have so much change in their life outside of school; they might be sleeping on sofas and going from one family to the next. School is the place where they need consistency. Unfortunately, they were used to walking in every August to new faces. To now see the same staff, the same principal, the same student services team and behavior team—that’s really amazing for our students and for us.”

Stephanie Woodford
Principal at Lakewood Elementary 2018- 2021, Current Deputy Superintendent Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, FL

Teacher Morale Restored in a Transformed Learning Culture

“The year before was depressingly one of the darkest periods of my life because I was in a classroom with basically no support… I was considering leaving my career… The partnership is what made the true change in the classroom, which is what actually transformed the culture of the entire school.”

Shelby Bellamy
Instructional Coach and MTSS Coordinator (formerly a 2nd Grade Teacher) William D. Moseley Elementary School, Palatka, FL

Visible Changes in Students

We provide the structures and supports to help students develop agency or the ability to self-direct their learning. Our support and model of instruction transition students from dependent, compliant learners to independent, critical thinkers.

Developing Student Agency Inside a Classroom

Changes in both teacher and student behavior soon become evident as teachers gradually release the responsibility for learning to the students. Listen to a group of students discuss the resources available while working on a given task in the video below.

The most important transformation is always within the students themselves. We don’t just re-label students as “scholars.” We go deeper and support students as they become empowered scholars in their learning environment. A learning culture is formed focused on rigorous critical thinking and reasoning where students engage in deeper learning and scholarship. Students take center stage and positive behaviors become incredibly visible in all our partner schools. Visitors notice the difference in student behavior and ask how to do the same in their schools.

Empowered Learning Environment

We help teachers create classroom learning environments of rigorous engagement through purposeful and meaningful tasks that require student dialog around standards-based content. Classroom instruction transforms from low-rigor activities and worksheets to high-rigor team tasks.

In every case, student behavior and attendance improve because students are meaningfully engaged in satisfying, quality learning.

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The School Turnaround Journey

Our emerge from turnaround solution is tailored to the unique needs of low-performing schools. This phase leads underachieving schools through fundamental systems development that transforms classroom instruction and leads to rapid gains in student learning.

Once systems have been established and conditions in the school are stable, the school can quickly move through the second phase of school improvement toward a destination where instructional systems and educator capacity development converge to create a transformed learning culture of high student agency and academic rigor in every classroom among every student.

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A True Partnership

Mutually Accountable Partnership

We meet you where you are, we learn your current strategies, and we activate your instructional vision, initiatives, and goals for improvement.

We walk your schools with you, we own your data with you, and we work shoulder-to-shoulder with you.

We embed ourselves in the daily work of the team, share your problems and challenges, and are invested in your overall outcome.

“I know that sometimes schools fear an outside consultant coming in and taking over, but my experience with IE has been incredible. It is a true partnership, and they have been such a huge support piece for us which has actually made the work of transformation easier.”

Sarah Garcia
Principal, Shaw Elementary School, Tampa, FL

We Honor Your Work

We complement and build on the work at your school.

We provide the intensity of support and structures needed to rapidly transform leadership practices and enhance classroom instruction while honoring the current work of the school.

We implement systems that are missing or are not well functioning and strengthen systems that are working.

We build capacity in instructional systems as well as leaders, teachers, and students.

“We are not paying for someone to come in and do something to us. This is a lot of coaching work for both the leadership team as well as for professional learning for our teachers with an emphasis on teacher leadership teams. Instructional Empowerment works alongside our teachers to help them develop and expand capacity.”

Brandon White
Assistant Superintendent of Academics, South Bend School Community Corporation, IN

What Principals Can Expect

What Teachers Can Expect

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Our Secret to 100% Success

Our approach is methodical and fast paced. However, we begin only after we have a thorough understanding of your school.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Every school emerging from turnaround receives a Comprehensive Needs Assessment from a team of experts. A full report of findings and recommendations is provided that identifies what is working and any critical issues that need to be addressed.

Leading Scientific Indicators of Instructional Rigor

We bring the most research-validated measures of rigor in the nation. We apply these scientific indicators of instructional rigor to focus the principal and school leadership team on the practices that must change and then coach on how to make those changes.

Tiers of Embedded Support

All our coaches are experts in their field. A leadership coach and team of faculty coaches are provided to every partner school to support principals, the leadership team, instructional coaches, and teachers. Our onsite coaches become embedded in the school community and form strong bonds throughout the partnership.

We simultaneously build the capacity of the principal, school leadership team, teacher leaders, instructional coaches, teachers, and ultimately students with our commitment to systems improvement.

“The reason why I have confidence in Instructional Empowerment is because there is grounded research in coaching. The impact they can have on a novice teacher up to a very seasoned teacher can be tracked and researched. They are very intentional about who they bring. They have a background with schools that serve students with lives like ours. I think that is very important to the work that they do.”

Brandon White
Assistant Superintendent of Academics, South Bend School Community Corporation, IN

Practical, Hands-on Professional Development

Everything we do is focused on high-quality instruction with increased student engagement and rigor. Our professional development is relevant, authentic, and immediately transferable with highly engaging student and teacher resources. We believe that our in-person and job-embedded professional development accelerates growth and transforms classrooms into thriving and dynamic learning environments.

Muessel Elementary School faculty professional development in South Bend, IN

Short Cycles to Accelerate Progress

We understand the urgency all educators feel to make progress in a turnaround environment. To accelerate implementation, we use a weekly action board and daily stand-up meetings to ensure all leadership actions are aligned to data and connected to their vision for instructional improvement. This daily and weekly accountability provides focus and follow through which quickly results in early wins and helps the team move from firefighting symptoms to curing root causes in their instructional systems.

Shaw Elementary School Leadership Team in front of action board in Tampa, FL

Executive Action Team Meetings

We believe reciprocal accountability is the foundation to a successful partnership. The principal and school leadership coach present their progress and data to the district executive action team every 30 days. The team transparently collaborates around available data, successes and impediments in the field, next steps, and how the district office can support the improvement process. We hold ourselves accountable to the goals set forth and agreed upon in our proposal.

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“The most powerful attribute of the partnership has been meeting our schools where they are and assessing what tools we can use to help support them based on their needs. Each time I collaborate with Instructional Empowerment, I walk away from the meeting feeling that they’re just as invested in the success of our schools as we are.”

Brandon White
Assistant Superintendent of Academics, South Bend School Community Corporation, IN

Hope is Not a Reform Strategy

Our process helps schools move from “buying a program and hoping it will work” to a scientific approach and implementation with transparent data. We don’t believe in surprises. You will know every 30 days our exact progress, and with our scientific indicators of rigor, you will see the real-time data of instructional systems improvement.

The Longer You Partner with Us,
the Better Your Results

Build Your Capacity

Our goal is for you to experience self-sustaining increases in student learning gains.

How? We establish instructional systems, high-capacity principal leadership, and a strong school leadership team. Strengthening systems and developing leaders’ and teachers’ instructional capacity is critical to our work.

Grow from a Strong Foundation 

Our research shows student learning gains and proficiency continue to increase each year during our multi-year partnerships. Our support level is typically more intense in the beginning to establish the core systems. As the principal and school leadership team increase their capacities to lead the work, we will build the ability to sustain the initiative.

Catch Your Own Fish 

Recall the old saying: Give someone a fish, and the person will be hungry tomorrow. Teach someone to fish, and the person will never be hungry. Quick fixes never lead to sustainable results. The longer we have the opportunity to coach you, the better we can build your capacity to sustain the work.

Learn more about how we partner with schools.

Lakewood Elementary School in St. Petersburg, FL
Source: Research conducted by Executive Director of Research Michael Toth and key staff members in their previous company's Applied Research Center.
According to a districtwide 10,000 student research study meeting What Works Clearinghouse federal standards in Des Moines Public Schools, all students in partner schools that worked with our team had a statistically significant improvement. Students in Year 2 schools had larger learning gains: the equivalent of an additional 21 days of learning in reading and 10 days in math.
Source: Research conducted by Executive Director of Research Michael Toth and key staff members in their previous company's Applied Research Center.
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The More Coaching Days -
the More Student Achievement

Everything we do is research-verified – including the effects of our school leadership coaches.

Research verifies that the more days of our side-by-side leadership coaching we provide to a principal and their leadership team, the greater the student achievement acceleration.

Instructional Empowerment takes great pains in providing the best school leadership coaches to our partner schools. Every one of our leadership coaches has served as successful school or district leaders. Every single one.

Source: Research analysis conducted by Instructional Empowerment Applied Research Center. Data collected by Executive Director of Research Michael Toth and key staff members in their previous company's Applied Research Center.

More Partner Schools Emerging From Turnaround

Exited Turnaround Status

McLaughlin Middle School struggled with “D” and “F” school grades for years. After partnering with our team members, McLaughlin exited state-imposed turnaround requirements with a “C” grade and closed subgroup achievement gaps.

McLaughlin serves a marginalized student population.

  • 72% of students receive free and reduced meals
  • 39% of the students are Hispanic
  • 26% of the students are Black

Their achievement gaps closed by as much as 277% in reading between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic students and up to 90% in math between Black and White students.

100% of the Schools Our Team Members Partnered With Increased Learning Gains During the Pandemic

Our Work Sustains

William D. Moseley Elementary School was a historically low-performing school, wavering between “D” and “F” school grades for nine years in a rural, fully Title I district. Moseley was the 5th lowest-performing school in the state in 2017.

Moseley became a “C” school in 2019. Since our team member’s departure, Moseley continues to sustain their grade and helped launch their district to reform instructional systems districtwide.

Interested in joining the ranks of other schools that emerged from Turnaround?

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