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Asking the Right Questions

Asking the Right Questions
Tools for Collaboration and School Change

Third Edition

Foreword by Shirley M. Hord

232 pages | Corwin
'This book has something for everyone—the teacher leader heading school improvement committees, the curriculum director working with teacher task forces, the superintendent working with community groups to establish vision and set priorities. A very hands-on book with practical tools for leaders in any setting!' - Mary Devin, Associate Professor

Kansas State University

'Gives a multitude of techniques for collaborative planning and preparing for change. This is an exceptional resource for school leaders to read and reflect on' -Regina S. Birdsell, Assistant Executive Director Connecticut Association of Schools

Use these practical tips and real-world examples to facilitate meaningful school change!

This updated edition of the bestseller on school reform focuses on collaboration at three crucial levels: district, school, and classroom. Recognizing the power of multilevel support, reform expert Edie L. Holcomb provides a structure that helps teams of educators assess a situation, gather information, plan and implement change initiatives, evaluate progress, and sustain change.

In easy-to-understand language, Asking the Right Questions, Third Edition, effectively highlights the issues that need to be addressed when implementing school improvement initiatives. Building on her highly successful framework, the author presents a new discussion on shaping practice, creating effective decision-making structures, and reviewing improvement plans. The new edition also includes:

- Innovative strategies such as symbolic displays, configuration maps, priority grids, and open space technology

- Additional examples of change scenarios from the field

- Review questions and chapter summaries that highlight key points

- A CD-ROM with figures, customizable forms, and a chapter-by-chapter discussion guide to facilitate individual and group study

From simple policy changes to broad reform, this invaluable guide helps teachers, principals, and administrators work together to visualize and enact changes that improve student achievement.

List of Figures
List of CD-ROM Contents
Foreword to the Third Edition by Shirley M. Hord
Preface to the Third Edition
About the Author
1. Asking the Right Questions
Refinement of the Five Critical Questions

The Five Questions as a Road Map

The Wrong Questions

Professional Learning Communities

The Five Questions and Three Models of Change

Tools for Inquiry and Collaboration

Using This Book

Answer Key

2. Answering the "Where Are We Now?" Question
Student Performance

Shareholder Perceptions

Organizational Culture and Context

Answer Key

3. Answering the "Where Do We Want to Go?" Question
Affirming the Mission

Identifying and Prioritizing Concerns

Articulating Goals

Visualizing the Culture of Collaboration

Answer Key

4. Answering the "How Will We Get There?" Question
Dig Into the Data

Study Relevant Research

Explore Best Practices

Consider Local Factors

Analyze Current Practice

Partner With Your District

Select Strategies

Double-Check: Goal or Strategy?

Plan the Journey

Is Our Plan Powerful?

Answer Key

5. Answering the "How Will We Know We Are (Getting) There?" Question
Are We Working Our Plan? Evidence of Implementation

Is Our Plan Working? Evidence of Impact

The Plan and the Proof

Answer Key

6. Answering the "How Will We Sustain the Focus and Momentum?" Question
Understand and Respond to Reactions

Continue Training and Coaching

Cope With Conflict

Strengthen the Culture of Inquiry

Support Leaders and Followers

Shift From Technical to Adaptive

Reaffirm Organizational Values and Commitments

Maintain Organizational Health

Answer Key

7. Powerful Questions That Shape Practice
Entry Questions

Data-Boosting Questions

Walking-Around Questions

Instructional Questions

Student-Work Analysis Questions

Letting-Go Questions

Hiring Questions

Time Management Questions

Involvement Questions

The Commitment Question

Answer Key

References and Further Reading

"A great book with practical advice. It provides all the tools for facilitating change dialogues with clear explanations of what is desired for answering the essential questions."

Linda Vogel, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
University of Northern Colorado

“An effective synthesis of information for implementing, monitoring, and sustaining change in a collaborative way.”

Bess Scott, Principal
McPhee Elementary School, Lincoln, NE

"Gives a multitude of techniques for collaborative planning and preparing for change. This is an exceptional resource for school leaders to read and reflect on."

Regina S. Birdsell, Assistant Executive Director
Connecticut Association of Schools

"Offers a strong set of strategies for working with adults to gain consensus, reach a goal, or gain insight into the thinking of participants."

Rita Corbett, Educational Consultant
RJC Consulting

“An excellent book. This is the manual that I have been needing. It simplified the complex and demonstrated that we can really make a difference in our schools and districts.”

Janet Hurt, Associate Superintendent
Logan County Schools, KY

"This book has something for everyone—the teacher leader heading school improvement committees, the curriculum director working with teacher task forces, or the superintendent working with community groups to establish vision and set priorities. A very hands-on book with practical tools for leaders in any setting!"

Mary Devin, Associate Professor
Kansas State University

"During my four years in the Kentucky Distinguished Educator Program, this book was my constant companion. On many occasions, the materials and insights I gleaned from this book made my work easier and made me appear to others to be smarter and wiser."

Stan Laferty, Curriculum Coordinator
Clermont County ESC, OH

“The book is supported with concrete examples from real-life experience and is presented with an eye to real problems. It allows the reader to find tools that are appropriate for the local situation and to feel empowered to use the tools in flexible ways.”

Steven R. Thompson, Coordinator, School Leadership Program
Miami University, OH

This seemed to be a text that would be most helpful.
I used this text and the students really liked it.

Dr Michele Kelk
School Of Education, Webster University
November 17, 2010

Edie L. Holcomb

Edie L. Holcomb is executive director of curriculum and instructional services for Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She has experienced the challenges of improving student achievement from many perspectives: From classroom teacher to university professorFrom gifted education coordinator to mainstream teacher of children with multiple disabilitiesFrom school- and district-level administration to national and international consultingFrom small rural districts to the challenges of urban educationShe is highly regarded for her ability to link research and practice on issues related to instructional leadership and... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412962759
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