School Reform Models

Recurring low-performing public schools have the opportunity to apply for one of the following four Reform Models: Turnaround, Transformation, Restart, or Closure.  Once the application is approved by the State Board of Education, the selected reform model empowers the LEA and schools to make the necessary adjustments to positively impact leadership, effective teaching and learning, school culture, parent and community involvement and ultimately, positive outcomes for students. 

As of February 6, 2016, the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) adopted a policy for recurring low-performing schools (DSTR-040). The policy entitled Reform for Recurring Low-Performing Schools provides structure for the Statutory Reference G.S. 115C-105.37B and serves as a comprehensive effort to strengthen recurring low-performing public schools who have shown difficulties in continuous student achievement outcomes. The policy gives autonomy and flexibility to LEAs in order to raise academic standards, promote accountability, and provide greater competition and choice within the public schools. 

Restart  Transformation  Turnaround  Closure

Application Process & Timeline

NCDPI District and Regional Support invites LEAs to submit a Recurring Low-Performing School Reform Model application at anytime with the understanding that processing applications is contingent upon the timeline and approval of the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE). Applications may be found in the Associated Files section below and emailed to the Reform Model Lead. 

Contact Us

Any questions regarding the Recurring Low-Performing School Reform Model process may be directed to the Reform Model's Lead: Juliane Garber at 919-807-3427.

Annual Report

  1. Annual Report.  An LEA that has been authorized to implement any of the foregoing models shall submit an annual report by December 1 of each year documenting the academic gains realized by the school.
  2. Annual Report may be accessed with NCStar under the Forms tab. If the school is no longer designated as Low Performing and therefore, not required to use NCStar, they may: Complete the report within NCStar (if they still have access) or use the MS Word version of the Annual Report Template. (Insert MS Word Template).

Declining or Removing Authority for Model

The SBE may decline to authorize a requested model if it finds that:

  • The request for implementation does not adequately outline the necessary components and goals necessary for that model.
  • The school has failed to achieve the intended goals outlined by the LEA in its request.
  • The school is operating inconsistently with the request submitted by the LEA.
  • Any other grounds deemed appropriate and necessary by the SBE.

Reform Models

Restart Model

Restart Model

The LEA shall submit a detailed plan outline the goals to be achieved, including how to provide each student with the opportunity for a sound basic education; a statement as to how operating the school with the same exemptions from statutes and rules as a charter school authorized under N.C.G.S. 115C-218 et seq. will facilitate accomplishing these goals; how these exemptions will increase student achievement; whether the LEA will employ an educational management organization and, if so, the name and credentials of that organization; and a budget setting out anticipated revenue and expenditures necessary to achieve the goals.

  • A school operated under this subdivision remains under the control of the local board of education, and employees assigned to the school are employees of the local school administrative unit with the protections provided by Part 3 of Article 22 of Chapter 115C.

The LEA shall submit a detailed plan outlining the goals to be achieved, including how to provide each student with the opportunity for a sound basic education; a statement as to how operating the school with the same exemptions from statutes and rules as a charter school authorized under N.C.G.S. 115C-218 et seq. will facilitate accomplishing these goals; how these exemptions will increase student achievement; whether the LEA will employ an educational management organization and, if so, the name and credentials of that organization and a budget setting out anticipated revenue and expenditures necessary to achieve the goal. A school operated under this subdivision remains under the control of the local board of education, and employees assigned to the school are employees of the local school administrative unit with the protections provided by Part 3 of Article 22 of Chapter 115C-3.

Transformation Model

Transformation Model

In order to qualify for implementation of the transformation model, the LEA must demonstrate that a school has created a plan for developing and improving teacher and school leader effectiveness; for implementing comprehensive instructional reform strategies; for increasing learning time; for creating community-oriented schools; and for providing operational flexibility and sustain support.The LEA shall submit specific goals for academic achievement and shall submit a budget showing the revenues and expenditures needed to reach the goals.

The LEA must demonstrate that a school has created a plan for developing and improving teacher and school leader effectiveness; for implementing comprehensive instructional reform strategies; for increasing learning time; for creating community-oriented schools; and for providing operational flexibility and sustain support. The LEA shall submit specific goals for academic achievement and shall submit a budget showing the revenues and expenditures needed to reach the goals. The following strategies should be implemented:

  1. Develop and increase teacher and school leader effectiveness
    (Consider the following:)

    1. Replace the principal;

    2. Use rigorous, transparent, equitable evaluation systems for teachers and the principal;

    3. Identify and reward school leaders and remove teachers determined to be ineffective after ample opportunity for improvement is provided;

    4. Provide ongoing job-embedded professional development; and

    5. Implement strategies to recruit and retain staff.

  2. Implement comprehensive instructional reform strategies by:

    1. Implement research-based programs; and

    2. Promote continuous use of student data.

  3. Increase learning time and create community-oriented schools

    1. Provide increased learning time; and

    2. Provide family and community engagement.

  4. Provide operational flexibility

    1. Provide sufficient flexibility to implement fully; and

    2. Provide ongoing intensive technical assistance and support.

Turnaround Model

Turnaround Model

The LEA shall submit specific grounds supporting the implementation of this model; shall specify the academic goals expected from implementation of this model; shall specify the procedures to be utilized in removing staff; including procedures consistent with Due Process; shall describe with specificity the new governance structure and the budget to be implemented; and shall set forth specific academic achievement expected to be realized from use of this model.

The LEA shall submit specific grounds supporting the implementation of this model; shall specify the academic goals expected from implementation of this model; shall specify the procedures to be utilized in removing staff, including procedures consistent with Due Process; shall describe with specificity the new governance structure and the budget to be implemented; and shall set forth specific academic achievement expected to be realized from use of this model. The following strategies should be implemented:

  1. Replace the principal;

  2. Rehire no more than 50 percent of the staff;

  3. Implement strategies to recruit and retain staff;

  4. Provide ongoing job-embedded professional development;

  5. Adopt a new governance structure;

  6. Implement a vertically-aligned instructional program;

  7. Promote continuous use of data (including formative, interim, and summative);

  8. Provide increased learning time; and

  9. Provide appropriate community services and supports.

Closure Model

Closure Model

The LEA will submit the specific grounds recommending closure of a particular school; the procedures it intends to follow in closing the school, including opportunities for public hearings; the procedures for ensuring a smooth transition for employees and students affected by the closure; how the resources realized from closure will continue to support student achievement; and the specific academic gains expected to be realized by the closure.

The LEA will submit the specific grounds recommending closure of a particular school; the procedures it intends to follow in closing the school, including opportunities for public hearing; the procedures for ensuring a smooth transition for employee and students affected by the closure; how the resources realized from closure will continue to support student achievement, and the specific academic gains expected to be realized by the closure. The following strategies should be implemented:

  1. Convert the school or close the school and reopen under a charter management organization (CMO) or an education management organization (EMO);

  2. Enroll any former student who wishes to attend the school; and/or

  3. Close the school and enroll the students in other higher achieving schools in the LEA.