I recently read an article where the, “I’m going to take a broom to this school” principal left mid-year for a higher paying, lateral move job, in another district. This is after firing several teachers and support staff and bringing in people that he had worked with before. The premise of the article is that when the hero principal leaves – the positive change dies. First of all, the principal in question, isn’t a hero, he’s a braying ass. And obviously, the changes he attempted to implement will die. But for a different reason than what most people seem to believe. His improvement efforts, as are those in most districts, are based on a “talent-driven” model. The talent driven model assumes that success and failure is based on the talent of the individual. An unsuccessful school means that the individual actors in the system lack talent, so the answer is to replace them with actors of greater talent. What the braying ass found out (but still doesn’t recognize), is that if the majority of actors in the system are not successful, the problem is the system. LYS works to introduce and implement a capacity building system. A capacity building system, purposefully adds what works into the collective practice base while purposefully subtracting what does not work from the collective practice base. As you do this, the machine adds value to the individual and individual, at the very least, maintains the effectiveness of the machine. Now for those of you concerned about the machine stifling the creativity of the individual, I’ll share a sports analogy. Michael Jordan was recognized as the best athlete in the NBA long before the Chicago Bulls started winning championships. But for the Bulls to compete at the highest level, they had to function as a team with a singular understanding. Individual talent was not enough; it was capacity building (in the form of the triangle offense) that created a dynasty. So to answer the question, can turn-around survive a change in leadership – sometimes. If the turn-around has installed infrastructure and processes that support true capacity building, and there has been enough time for staff to enjoy some success though the use of the infrastructure and processes, the change can survive. If a braying ass does nothing but slash, burn and force survivors into a bunker mentality, the odds of any changes surviving a transition in leadership are slim indeed. One final note, as you read about the slim odds of school improvement initiatives surviving long-term, I share this one fact. Of the 30+ academically unacceptable high schools that have adopted some variation of the LYS model since 2005, only one was AU in 2010. And that campus rejected everything LYS worked with them on. That would almost be humorous if it didn’t mean that a whole high school of students would actually be better off if they transferred to any other district in their vicinity and the adults still don’t care. Think. Work. Achieve.Your turn…Follow Sean Cain at www.Twitter.com/LYSNationComing Soon! “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction” www.TheFundamentalFive.comPlan to attend the LYS presentations at TASSP and TASB in June