Lam D. Pham

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Motivation and Context

Evidence suggests that school turnaround can be effective, but why are some models successful, while others fall short? This paper tests whether changes in particular schoolwide practices help explain the effect of turnaround reforms on student outcomes. I study these mechanisms using the Innovation Zone (iZone) model of reform in Shelby County Schools district (serving Memphis, TN) because previous research suggests that the Memphis iZone reforms increased student achievement. Specifically, I examined four mechanisms that potentially explain the positive iZone effects: (1) the recruitment of effective teachers, (2) increased opportunities for teacher collaboration, (3) a more positive learning environment, and (4) increased opportunities for teacher professional development.