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Handbook of School Improvement
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Handbook of School Improvement
How High-Performing Principals Create High-Performing Schools



August 2012 | 240 pages | Corwin
A complete guide to administrative and instructional leadership, Handbook of School Improvement poses two key questions for discussion: "What is a high-performing school?" and "What does a head teacher do to create a high-performing school?"

This illuminating text provides answers to those and other critical questions via findings from a ground-breaking study of exceptional head teachers who have created high-performing schools. Reflecting in-depth interviews with 20 head teachers of outstanding or significantly improved schools, the authors discuss individual and group activities that can be used by council and school administrators, staff developers, teachers, and parents working together for school improvement.

This resource also presents an array of top resources that include books, articles, Web sites, standards, videos, kits, tools, workbooks, career-planning materials, and interviews with experts.

 
Acknowledgements
 
About the Authors
 
Preface
 
The Book in Brief
 
Foreword by William Greenfield
 
Foreword by Joseph Hunter
 
Foreword by Susan Usry
 
List of Figures
 
Part I. Administrative Leadership for School Improvement: Action Foci of High-Performing Principals
 
Introduction to Part One of the Handbook
What Is a High-Performing School?

 
What Is a High-Performing Principal?

 
The New Challenge of Leadership for School Improvement

 
 
1. Learning: Principals of High-Performing Schools Are Models of Learning
How Did They Learn?

 
What Did They Learn? High-Performing Principals Learned

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
2. Modeling: Principals of High-Performing Schools Are Exemplars of the Field’s Standards of Leadership
Activities for Becoming an Exemplar of Leadership Standards

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
3. Focusing: Principals of High-Performing Schools Focus on School and Teacher Practices Associated With Increased Student Achievement
Jigsaw Activity for School- and Teacher-Level Practices Influencing Student Achievement

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
4. Leading for Achievement: Principals of High-Performing Schools Lead in Ways That Have Maximum Impact on Student Achievement
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
5. Improving Instruction: Principals of High-Performing Schools Work With Teachers on the School Mission: They Engage in On-Going, Collaborative Study of School-Wide Instructional Improvement Efforts
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
6. Developing Systems: Principals of High-Performing Schools Use a “Systems development” Approach to Dispatch With Managerial Responsibilities and to Support Instructional Aspects of Work
Use a Systems Development Approach to Create Self-Sustaining Structures

 
Use Time Wisely

 
Plan Well

 
Manage the Budget Efficiently and Effectively

 
Manage the Physical Plant Efficiently and Effectively

 
Prevent Problems from Begetting Problems

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
7. Empowering: Principals of High-Performing Schools Take an Empowering (Team) Approach to Almost Everything and Create “Learning Communities” in Their School
The Leadership Team

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
8. Hiring: Principals of High-Performing Schools Hire Strong People for Administrative, Faculty, and Staff Positions
Know Who You Need

 
Involve Everyone in Hiring

 
Establish Hiring Protocols

 
Correct Hiring Mistakes

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
9. Using Data: Principals of High-Performing Schools Insist on Using Data to Inform Instructional Decisions
Questions About Data Use in Your School

 
Additional Helpful Materials About Data Use

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
Suggested Reading for Further Learning: Administrative Leadership
 
Part II. Instructional Leadership for School Improvement: Goals of High-Performing Principals
Introduction to Part Two

 
 
10. Teaching and Learning: To Maintain a Focus on Teaching and Learning
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
Culture: To Develop a School-wide Culture That Supports and Sustains Instruction

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
12. Dialogue: To Establish a Context for Dialogue About Instruction
Faculty Meetings: A Sea Change

 
Encouraging Frequent Teacher Dialogue about Collaboration

 
A Note About the Need for Common Planning Time Among Teachers

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
13. Research: To Reference Research-Based Instructional Elements When Observing Instruction and When Talking With Teachers
Element #1: Factors Influencing Achievement

 
Element #2: Planning for Instruction

 
Element #3: Standards-Based Instructional Units

 
Element #4: Components of Instruction

 
Element #5: Student Abilities That Teaching Strategies Should Enhance

 
Element #6: Effective Teaching Practices Across Content Areas

 
Element #7: Ordering and Pacing of Content and Instructional Strategies

 
Element #8: Addressing Diverse Students’ Needs

 
Element #9: Use of Technology in Instruction

 
Element #10: Models of Teaching

 
Element #11: Classroom Management (Discipline)

 
Considering the Value of Walk-Throughs

 
Considering Formal Evaluations

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
14. Development: To Provide Effective, On-Going Professional Learning, a.k.a., Staff Development
A Professional Learning Community

 
The Right Approach

 
Going Further

 
A Multitude of Learning Opportunities

 
A Good Use of Money

 
The National Staff Development Council Standards

 
The Special Case of Empowering and Developing Special Education Teachers

 
Professional Learning for Administrative Teams

 
Summary

 
Tips and Suggestions

 
 
Suggested Reading for Further Learning: Instructional Leadership
 
Part III. Conclusion: Systems Thinking and the Systems Development Approach in Educational Leadership
Introduction to Part Three

 
 
15. The Importance of Systems Thinking and the “Systems Development” Approach for School Improvement
Using the 4C’s Model as a Diagnostic and Prescriptive Tool

 
Summary

 
 
16. Afterword: A Summary and A Note About Preparation for Educational Leadership
 
References
 
Research Method and Procedures
 
Index

"A practical, useful, easy-to-read resource that I will keep on the edge of my desk as a reference. The book is filled with excellent and useful information and serves as both a concise summary of focal points for principals as well as a resource for additional information.”

Kari Dahlquist, Principal
Creek Valley Elementary School, Edina, MN

“All school administrators who want their school to become a high-performing school have to read this book. It is transformational!”

Sean Beggin, Assistant Principal
Andover High School, MN

"An unrelenting study of the factors that contribute to major school improvement. The resources in this book are timeless, and you will find yourself going back to them again and again.”

Roxanne Cardona, Principal
PS 48, Bronx, NY

I have been looking for a new book for this course for awhile. This one is more in line with what I need for this class.

Dr Karen Tankersley
College Of Education, Arizona State University - West Campus
October 14, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Blase_SchoolImprovement_Preface

Blase_SchoolImprovement_Ch1


Rebajo (Jo) R. Blase

Jo Blase is a professor of educational administration at the University of Georgia, and a former public school teacher, high school and middle school principal, and director of staff development. She received a Ph.D. in educational administration, curriculum, and supervision in 1983 from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her research has focused on instructional and transformational leadership, school reform, staff development, and principal-teacher relationships. Through work with the Beginning Principal Study National Research Team, the Georgia League of Professional Schools, and public and private school educators with whom she... More About Author

Joseph Blase

Joseph Blase is a professor of educational administration at the University of Georgia. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1980 from Syracuse University, his research has focused on school reform, transformational leadership, the micropolitics of education, principal-teacher relationships, and the work lives of teachers. His work concentrating on school-level micropolitics received the 1988 Davis Memorial Award given by the University Council for Educational Administration, and his coauthored article published in the Journal of Educational Administration won the W. G. Walker 2000 Award for Excellence. In 1999 he was recognized as an elite... More About Author

Dana Yon Phillips

Dana Yon Phillips, Ed.D. is a middle school administrator and former elementary school administrator in Georgia, part-time Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia, and part-time Instructor for Piedmont College. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Georgia in 2004, where she focused on shared governance, instructional leadership, and teacher leadership. She now teaches organizational leadership, change for school improvement, and ethics at the University of Georgia. During 1999 and 2000, Phillips produced and was host of School Talk, a weekly cable television program exploring educational trends... More About Author

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