Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago

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In 1988, the Chicago public school system decentralized, granting parents and communities significant resources and authority to reform their schools in dramatic ways. To track the effects of this bold experiment, the authors of Organizing Schools for Improvement collected a wealth of data on elementary schools in Chicago. Over a seven-year period they identified one hundred elementary schools that had substantially improved—and one hundred that had not. What did the successful schools do to accelerate student learning?

The authors of this illuminating book identify a comprehensive set of practices and conditions that were key factors for improvement, including school leadership, the professional capacity of the faculty and staff, and a student-centered learning climate. In addition, they analyze the impact of social dynamics, including crime, critically examining the inextricable link between schools and their communities. Putting their data onto a more human scale, they also chronicle the stories of two neighboring schools with very different trajectories. The lessons gleaned from this groundbreaking study will be invaluable for anyone involved with urban education.

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About the author

Anthony S. Bryk is president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and was founding senior director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR), University of Chicago. Penny Bender Sebring is founding codirector of CCSR, the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago. Elaine Allensworth is director for statistical analysis at CCSR. Stuart Luppescu is chief psychometrician at CCSR. John Q. Easton is Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Spencer Foundation and former executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) at the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Mar 15, 2010
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Pages
328
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ISBN
9780226078014
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Administration / General
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Grounded in recent research and successful practice, "The New Principal's Fieldbook" prepares new and aspiring principals for the unexpected twists and turns of school leadership. Capitalizing on their experiences and those of other educational leaders, authors Pam Robbins and Harvey Alvy offer practical information, research-based strategies, and provocative stories to help principals develop into visionary leaders skilled in promoting the success of students and teachers.

Surprises, obstacles, and opportunities characterize the leadership path. Within the chapters, the authors use research and specific examples from recognized practitioners to create a road map for navigating the complex challenges of the principalship. Collectively, the book's themes mirror key content areas addressed by the ISLLC Standards for School Leaders as well as other topics essential for success:

* Creating a shared vision that places student learning at the heart of the school
* Transforming toxic cultures into positive cultures
Dealing with challenging experiences unique to new principals
* Promoting quality teaching and learning
* Creating professional learning communities
* Facilitating change within the school culture
* Building productive partnerships with central office staff, parents, and the greater community
* Designing management tasks as leadership tools
* Working with unions, budgets, the law, and the media
* Balancing personal and professional responsibilities
* Leading ethically and with emotional intelligence

Robbins and Alvy guide the reader through important concepts and practices, including instructional leadership, data-driven decision making, differentiated supervision, professional development, crisis intervention, and time management. At the end of each chapter, they invite readers to reflect on how to apply their new knowledge to real situations. Covering everything from everyday management tasks to the larger goal of student success, The New Principal's Fieldbook is an essential guide for new and aspiring principals.

Note: This product listing is for the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) version of the book.

Most Americans agree on the necessity of education reform, but there is little consensus about how this goal might be achieved. The rhetoric of standards and vouchers has occupied center stage, polarizing public opinion and affording little room for reflection on the intangible conditions that make for good schools. Trust in Schools engages this debate with a compelling examination of the importance of social relationships in the successful implementation of school reform. Over the course of three years, Bryk and Schneider, together with a diverse team of other researchers and school practitioners, studied reform in twelve Chicago elementary schools. Each school was undergoing extensive reorganization in response to the Chicago School Reform Act of 1988, which called for greater involvement of parents and local community leaders in their neighborhood schools. Drawing on years longitudinal survey and achievement data, as well as in-depth interviews with principals, teachers, parents, and local community leaders, the authors develop a thorough account of how effective social relationships—which they term relational trust—can serve as a prime resource for school improvement. Using case studies of the network of relationships that make up the school community, Bryk and Schneider examine how the myriad social exchanges that make up daily life in a school community generate, or fail to generate, a successful educational environment. The personal dynamics among teachers, students, and their parents, for example, influence whether students regularly attend school and sustain their efforts in the difficult task of learning. In schools characterized by high relational trust, educators were more likely to experiment with new practices and work together with parents to advance improvements. As a result, these schools were also more likely to demonstrate marked gains in student learning. In contrast, schools with weak trust relations saw virtually no improvement in their reading or mathematics scores. Trust in Schools demonstrates convincingly that the quality of social relationships operating in and around schools is central to their functioning, and strongly predicts positive student outcomes. This book offer insights into how trust can be built and sustained in school communities, and identifies some features of public school systems that can impede such development. Bryk and Schneider show how a broad base of trust across a school community can provide a critical resource as education professional and parents embark on major school reforms. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology
When we think about school principals, most of us imagine a figure of vague, yet intimidating authority—for an elementary school student, being sent to the principal’s office is roughly on par with a trip to Orwell’s Room 101. But with School Principal, Dan C. Lortie aims to change that. Much as he did for teachers with his groundbreaking book Schoolteacher, Lortie offers here an intensive and detailed look at principals, painting a compelling portrait of what they do, how they do it, and why.

Lortie begins with a brief history of the job before turning to the daily work of a principal. These men and women, he finds, stand at the center of a constellation of competing interests around and within the school. School district officials, teachers, parents, and students all have needs and demands that frequently clash, and it is the principal’s job to manage these conflicting expectations to best serve the public. Unsurprisingly then, Lortie records his subjects’ professional dissatisfactions, but he also vividly depicts the pleasures of their work and the pride they take in their accomplishments. Finally, School Principal offers a glimpse of the future with an analysis of current issues and trends in education, including the increasing presence of women in the role and the effects of widespread testing mandated by the government.

Lortie’s scope is both broad and deep, offering an eminently useful range of perspectives on his subject. From the day-to-day toil to the long-term course of an entire career, from finding out just what goes on inside that office to mapping out the larger social and organizational context of the job, School Principal is a truly comprehensive account of a little-understood profession.

 Being different from the masses is one of the greatest gifts that you possess! Let s face it: Who wants to be just like everyone else? Talk about boring! People come in all shapes and sizes and are born with natural and unnatural gifts and talents like no other, and your greatest challenge is to discover your gifts and then apply them to the world to create a better place, a better planet, a better universe! That is my challenge to you so that all of us can get along peacefully and become truly a population of one. I would like to ask you some questions to help you discover what makes you unique, different, and awesome. Are you different? Are you unique? Do you look different than others? Talk differently than others? Do you walk differently than others? Have you been born with talents that very few others have? Have you been brainwashed to look at your talents as a disability? Do you stay up nights dwelling on all the things in life you don t have, rather than focus on all the blessings you do have? Have you ever been bullied at school, at home, and in many areas in your life? Have you ever been called a retard, dumb, disabled ? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, perhaps you have yet to understand, accept, and apply your unique gifts to make the world a better place. If you have answered Yes to any of these questions, I feel your pain, I have walked in your shoes, and I can empathize with your situation. I have been bullied, called a retard, told that I am disabled, put in special classes, advised that I should not expect to reach my goals. My name is Tyler McNamer and I have been called ALL of the above many, many times in my life. I am nineteen years old and have been blessed with autism my entire life. I have chosen to accept my label of autism not as a disability but as an extraordinary ability and I want to help you overcome the label that you may have suffered from for many years of your life. So what is autism? The dictionary defines autism as a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with others. Also, it is defined as a mental condition in which fantasy dominates over reality. So just how many people today are affected by this condition? According to a recent WebMD study, 1 in 88 kids today has autism and for boys the numbers is 1 in 54. Also you might be surprised to learn that since 2002, autism has increased by 78 percent. Let s put those numbers in perspective. A high school with 1,000 students enrolled is going to have 11 students with this condition, and a bigger high school with 2,500 students is going to have 28 students with autism. So, now that you know more about autism, let me highlight some of the things you will learn by reading this book since I want to assure you that this book is not just a book about autism it is a book about how we can all live together in harmony regardless of our differences. In this book, you are going to learn that, despite our differences and diversities, we can get along and become a population of one to serve others. In this book, you will learn the importance of becoming the leader in your own life, following your dreams. You will learn to focus on your blessings instead of being discouraged by your challenges. In this book, you will learn to embrace change and continue to learn for a lifetime. In this book, you will learn what it is like to be blessed with the unique ability of having autism. You will learn how not only to cope with your gifts, but to thrive in life and pursue your goals despite your challenges. In this book, you will learn how to turn your ability into a blessing to serve others
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