The odds seem stacked against school turn- around efforts. In fact, a recent study funded by the U.S. Department of Education1 found that overall the investment of $3.5 billion in School Improvement Grants (SIGs) to struggling
schools had no impact on math or reading test scores, high
school graduation, or college enrollment.
But some schools that received School Improvement
A High School Transformed
Grants did achieve positive results. One school that
succeeded was Sunnyside High School in Sunnyside, Wash-
ington, where one of us (Chuck) was the principal from
2010 to 2012 and central office transformation facilitator
from 2012 to 2013.
In 2009, Sunnyside was in the bottom 5 percent of the
state in terms of graduation rate. Attendance was spotty,
and the dropout rate was high. Sunnyside served a student
One key to this
Chuck Salina, Suzann Girtz, and Joanie Eppinga