Date of Award



© 2019 Tamara A. Sterling

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Michelle Collay

Third Advisor

Nancy Lee Garza Lewin


School reform in K–12 education has experienced a cycle of changes that requires the implementation of stringent mandates for increased student achievement and sanctions for school divisions not meeting the required benchmarks. The purpose of this study is to identify school-based services that Lead Turnaround Partners (LTPs) provided to priority elementary schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia relative to the improvement, if any, of third through fifth grade students’ Standard of Learning (SOL) reading assessment scores. The study utilized a systematic review approach to data collection that will analyze Lead Turnaround Partners’ Scope of Work, Quarterly Reports, and Standards of Learning Achievement archival data. A program evaluation was used to document services provided by the LTP that improved, stagnated, or resulted in the decline of student achievement on the state reading assessment. The overarching research question that shaped the study is: What services did LTPs provide priority elementary schools selected for this study relative to the improvement, if any, of third through fifth grade students’ SOL reading assessment scores? The contextual influences of the study are priority schools identified by the Virginia Department of Education during the 2013–2014 school year and ending during the 2016–2017 school year.

The four priority elementary schools in the study that collaboratively worked with Lead Turnaround Partners for a period of two years had an increase in student achievement on the SOL reading assessment for students in third through fifth grade. There were common school-based services that emerged across all four schools that can be attributed to laying the foundation for the increase in SOL reading academic achievement scores. The evaluation process revealed that improving student achievement would require targeted content coaching and professional development. The data showed that out of the nine themes, seven focused on providing teachers with targeted instructional support.

Recommendations from the study suggest: A plan should be collaboratively developed between the school leadership and LTP for the first year the LTP transitions out. The needs assessment, scope of work, and plan delivery should be built into the turnaround process; the VDOE and district leadership should develop a three-year sustainable improvement plan that is continuously monitored by state provided Lead Partners, Division Superintendents, and School Administrators; the monitoring process should be extended for an additional two to three years after the services of the LTPs have been concluded.


Ed.D. Dissertation