Building Sustainable Systems


Vangie Altman
Certified School Improvement Specialist
Education Recovery Specialist
Kentucky Department of Education

There is no doubt my work as an Educational Recovery Specialist for the Kentucky Department of Education has been impacted by my recent completion of The Institute LAUNCH!™ Learning Experience. As an ERS, my overall task is to turn around school performance by increasing student achievement. School turnaround can be a daunting task as every turnaround situation varies; therefore, the turnaround processes involved must vary as well. Since every school situation is different, as a turnaround specialist, I need to assess each situation, providing support and guidance while building sustainable systems which will last long after the turnaround team leaves. LAUNCH!™ training has provided the perfect systemic approach to assist with school turnaround.

The LAUNCH!™ process of turnaround is aligned with the ten Certified School Improvement Specialist™ standards with numerous strategies and guidelines to use along the way, providing in-depth examples of how each standard should look in a school. The process chunks the work into “doable” segments fully explaining, guiding, and providing examples of each standard while encouraging time for reflection of my practice after each stage. The practices in LAUNCH!™ are proving to be excellent resources as I continue with my work in building systems for continuous improvement.

Supporting SIG Schools


Sharon Campbell
School Improvement Grant Coordinator
Bibb County School District, Georgia

The School Improvement Grant is designed to provide low-performing schools with funds that may be utilized for resources to improve students’ academic achievement. As a School Improvement Grant (SIG) Coordinator for the Bibb County School District, it is my responsibility to oversee, monitor, and evaluate the implementation of the fiscal and programmatic aspects of SIG. The Institute for Performance Improvement LAUNCH!™ Learning Experience afforded me the opportunity to enhance my expertise and knowledge of school improvement. The Certified School Improvement Specialist™ (CSIS) standards align with the work for SIG, such as, collecting and analyzing data and deriving meaning, identifying systemic factors, planning and recording improvements, organizing and managing efforts and resources, instituting collaborative efforts for improvement, monitoring accountability, and sustaining the work. The tools I gained from LAUNCH!™  will be utilized with SIG schools to strengthen the process of school improvement.

I am grateful our District gave me the opportunity to participate in this training as I strive to hone my skills in school improvement. As a result of participating in the LAUNCH!™  Program, I am pursuing CSIS certification, thereby, continuing to improve my expertise as I support schools that are transforming from low-performing to high-performing.

Transitioning from Administrator to Performance Consultant


Danny Osborne
Certified School Improvement Specialist
Education Recovery Leader
Kentucky Department of Education

My transitioning from an administrator to an Educational Recovery Leader was not without its trials and tribulations. Not only was I expected to facilitate the school improvement process with a school labeled as Priority, but I was to do so while personally making the shift from accountable final decision-maker to supporter of the work through influence… two very distinct roles as I soon learned. Enter LAUNCH!™  and the ten comprehensive School Improvement Specialist Standards. My journey through these standards enabled this transition to occur and supported me to be successful in facilitating the school improvement process. I leaned heavily on Standard 2: Facilitate Deriving Meaning and Engagement. I knew and could lead the school improvement process, but I quickly learned that I was no longer able to use authority to get others to engage in that process. The work of Standard 2 helped me to be able to increase my influence on the school leaders and the faculty and staff. By making meaning through the facilitation of data analysis and focused inquiry, I was able to influence others to engage in the school improvement process.

After working to create of meaning for the school improvement work I applied other CSIS standards to further progress through the school improvement process. Participating in LAUNCH!™  proved to be a step-by-step guide: 1) analyze and apply critical judgement; 2) identify performance factors; 3) plan and record the work; 4) monitor progress: 5) organize and manage improvement efforts; 6) guide collaborative efforts; 7) build capacity within school personnel; 8) demonstrate organizational sensitivity; 9) monitor accountability and adoption of the improvement process within school personnel; and, finally, 10) implement the school improvement process with a focus on sustainability.

LAUNCH!™ was able to guide me through each piece of this work through case studies, guided support and practice using the data from the schools I serve. My learning and practice helped me transition from school administrator to effective school improvement consultant.

Going Fast or Going Far?


David Raleigh
School Superintendent, KY

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~African Proverb

As instructional leaders, we possess a sense of urgency for making positive change for the students we serve. This sense of urgency has us going very fast, but often times going alone. Meaning, we haven’t taken the time to build capacity and sustainability through a shared vision and ownership of the work. Workers will be compliant in carrying out responsibilities, but will not be committed because the vision belongs to someone else. If the vision belongs to someone else, when that person leaves the workplace, they take the vision with them. Had I been exposed to the LAUNCH!™ curriculum and CSIS training prior to being hired as a superintendent, I would have had a blueprint for creating shared leadership, so all the stakeholders in our district would have been committed to the same vision. I knew the work that needed to be done and I had a sense of urgency for making it happen, but I did not have an inclusive plan for gathering input and feedback from everyone. LAUNCH!™ taught me how to build consensus, determine responsibility and accountability, and increase my circle of influence.

LAUNCH!™ and CSIS training have also provided me with skills and tools needed in prior roles as an Education Recovery Specialist and an Associate Superintendent. Today as Superintendent  I’m able to coach the principals I work with to build capacity in their schools through the use of distributed leadership. The principals and I work diligently to help teachers recognize their school’s current performance level, determine where they eventually want the school to be, and identify next steps. It’s been rewarding to watch principals relinquish some of their leadership to others so their school go together…and go far.