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External Support to Schools on Probation: Getting a Leg Up?


This report is based on a two-year study of a school probation policy implemented in Chicago Public Schools designed to improve student performance by providing a combination of consequences and support to low-performing schools. When placed on probation, schools not only face the threat of severe sanctions, but they also receive direct assistance from several different sources through the policy's external support system designed to assist schools in strengthening their internal operations, raising expectations for students, and improving instruction to foster increased student achievement. Several characteristics of this external assistance are noteworthy and the lessons learned from this study may be of interest to districts instituting similar policies.