No School Left Behind

How can schools in crisis return to focusing on their mission of educating the young? The example of ten schools in Berlin that had reached the limits of their capability to act shows how it can be done: Thanks to the "School Turnaround" project, they have managed to get teaching back on track.

Robert Bosch Stiftung | July 2017
Foto: Tobias Bohm

Faced with high numbers of students with poor language skills and a pessimistic outlook on their future, schools - and especially those in large cities - can easily end up in a stalemate. Families are often unable to provide their children with the support they need, and the effects are clearly felt at school where overworked teachers and cancelled lessons become the norm. At some point, the school may virtually come to a standstill, unable to carry out its principal duty of providing students with the best-possible learning experience and consequently, building and maintaining a level playing field for the entire student body.

Initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Berlin’s Senate Administration for Education, Youth and Family, the "School Turnaround" project demonstrates how failing schools can get back on track and actually strengthen their scope of action. For four years, ten schools in Berlin were given input for changes to create the foundation for a sustainable positive school development. To this end, schools were assisted by school development experts and received custom-fit support.

To conclude the project, the ten participating schools have reviewed their progress: In individual essays, the schools themselves describe their specific goals in terms of the lesson quality, learning results, school management, and school culture they had set out to achieve, as well as how they planned to reach these goals and how their respective approaches worked out in the end. The experiences gained will be applied in Berlin to offer better support to other schools in similarly critical situations. On top of that, findings will also be processed to be applied in schools beyond Berlin and to be shared and discussed with education specialists and the responsible agencies in other states.

Project and Learning Results