"Eventually our goal is that we play less and less of a role as that capacity is built," Watkins said.
To that end, the team is working with "professional learning communities" — groups of teachers assembled across the school — that meet together and try to improve each other's teaching abilities and methods.
The school already has some strong teacher leaders who are eager to improve the school's performance, Worley said. Building and improving that infrastructure of leaders within the school will be essential to maintaining improvement, she said.
Getting to know Lincoln County
School and district leaders are meeting with the team every week for workshop-like sessions where status updates are shared and current progress is discussed.
From building a master schedule of classes to learning about classroom strategies for helping students remember their lessons, the meetings' topics can be varied.
At a recent January meeting, attendees discussed broadly how to align their school activities and strategies with a state model. Right after that, they began looking through test scores from individual students, identifying trends where teaching strategies might not be working.
Watkins said he's happy to be working with school leaders who are capable have "a good work ethic and desire to help students."
"They've been very eager to move their district forward," he said. "Not every educational recovery team has those luxuries."
All three team members live elsewhere in the state and commute into Lincoln County every school day. Such a setup is actually beneficial, Worley said.
"You almost need to come in as an outsider because then you come in with a fresh perspective," she said.
As the team members have walked through the school and observed classrooms in action, they've gotten to know teachers and many of the students
Worley said it's hard to put into words the experience of become a part of the high school and getting to know everyone, knowing she'll be gone in three years, potentially on to the next school in need of help.
"We may not know every kid in the building," she said. "But there's not a kid in the school we don't care about."