In 2009, Michigan State University’s Office of K–12 Outreach established a partnership with the SSAT—the United Kingdom’s leading organization for advancing school excellence in high-poverty, diverse schools. The SSAT provides training and development for school leaders at all stages, with programs that are practical and solution focused, and with evidence-based practice put into action.
The SSAT has provided ongoing opportunities for MSU faculty and staff, as well as Michigan educators, to study outstanding practices in England, particularly in secondary schools, that have resulted in improved and sustained student achievement.
For each study tour, our team works with SSAT to identify successful school turnaround efforts in London’s most distressed urban neighborhoods—unstable, high-poverty, high-minority, high-immigrant, and high-crime areas in this capital city of 8.2 million people. Pre-turnaround, these schools were troubled places with poor educational outcomes. Post-turnaround, they are healthy learning communities with robust student academic and social growth. We were determined to find out what factors influenced these changes, so we could support similar change in the U.S.