Great MN Schools (GMS) will make investments in select struggling schools that are taking on the transformative work of a Turnaround or Restart, in partnership with their communities. These have been effective methods for transforming schools in other cities, but has only recently begun to emerge as part of the local K-12 education landscape.

If your school is interested in exploring transformation or restart, please contact Sheilah Kavaney at to learn more about how GMS can support you in this process.

GMS will fund exploratory activities related to helping boards and the school community determine the best intervention for a struggling school – Turnaround, Restart, or Closure. This funding may include paying for a team of people to visit schools that have completed a turnaround or restart, or supporting a RFP process to find a new school operator.

GMS will fund implementation of a compelling Turnaround or Restart plan. Once a school creates a Turnaround or Restart plan, a request for funding may be submitted to GMS. There are seven critical success factors with strong collation to improving student outcomes as described below. Specific evidence for each of these factors is further explained in the attached documents outlining Turnaround and Restart.

  • Capacity of the Team: If a school is going to make rapid gains on behalf of students, it is essential that the incoming team of educators has strong capacity, both in terms of their credentials and of the proven outcomes from the school program or educational approach. GMS will also seek to understand the overall due diligence process that was used to select this particular team or organization, including the review criteria used by the charter authorizer.
  • Community Support: Parents and community members provide a vital role in our schools and it is critically important that they support the incoming team of educators and the selection of this team. There is expectation that community engagement occurs and that a majority of families are supportive of the intended change.
  • Need for Program: There needs to be a clear and demonstrated need for a continued school program in the specific location and serving the current students at the school. Without a clear and ongoing need for the school, parents and families are likely to leave the school and enroll elsewhere in the midst of the transition which in turn jeopardizes the viability of the transformed school.
  • Governance: The school’s board need to be able to manage this process and embrace the need for significant change. There must be a commitment to establish a high-functioning board, including functioning with a role as governance, rather than engaging in day-to-day management.
  • Financial Viability: The school must be financially viable and have a history of stable student enrollment. It is expected that there is an alignment between the existing enrollment and future projections for enrollment with the new operator.
  • Adequate Timeline: Experience both locally and nationally supports the observation that schools need an adequate amount of time to plan for a proposed transformation, while also thoughtfully engaging families and students in the planning process. Per national research, the planning process should start a year prior to the proposed opening date under the new operator.
  • Implementation: For the incoming team or operator to function well, they must have the full autonomy to implement a proven program.


Grant applications are by invitation only. Implementation plans will be evaluated using seven critical success factors as described on the documents Turnaround and Restart

For more information, please contact Sheilah Kavaney at