Principal In Action: Success at Lake Shipp Elementary School

Lake Shipp Elementary in Winter Haven, Florida, is a mirror image for many low performing schools across the country. Located in an area where 76% of students came from economically disadvantaged homes, Lake Shipp languished for years, with not only waning test scores, but waning morale and hope as well.

When Vicki Stangle entered Lake Shipp Elementary as a first time principal, 19 of 30 staff positions were vacant. The school’s high turnover rate resulted in a largely inexperienced staff, with staff vacancies increasing as test scores decreased. When School Turnaround was commissioned to aide in Lake Shipp’s renewal, Vicki and her staff were resistant: “To be honest, I went in kicking and screaming saying, I don’t want to do that. It’s too hard.

However, within the first few days, Vicki felt a significant difference—not only in her own focus, but in that of her staff and students as well: “School Turnaround specialists actually came on site. They sat in my office, visited my classrooms, and walked my campus. We looked at the problems my school was facing and were able to sit nose to nose to discuss some of these issues in an effort to come up with solutions. They knew my teachers' names by the end of the first day. They knew exactly who I was talking about, and what was going on in that classroom.”

With the knowledge, tools, and resource alignment provided by School Turnaround, Ms. Stangle and her dedicated staff increased the percentage of students passing the State Reading Test by as much as 41%. 


These numbers can be seen over and over again in over 240 schools throughout 43 districts in the United States. School Turnaround offers the following guarantee: “If the school does not achieve the specified student achievement targets that constitute initial turnaround success, we will refund the full cost to the district.” Over a decade later, not a dime has been refunded.


Everyone Succeeds. No Exceptions. No Excuses.


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In 26 years I have never had any training like this. Never. We have been trained to look at data, but only – these are your kids, these are your kids that are low. We’ve been trained to look at instructional strategy – this is your reading material and this is how you use it. Every once in a while we’ll get some strategies thrown at us. But this is something different.”

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