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Leading Dynamic Schools

Leading Dynamic Schools
How to Create and Implement Ethical Policies

Foreword by Gene V. Glass

June 2007 | 144 pages | Corwin
Leading Dynamic Schools: How to Create and Implement Ethical Policies is a policy book for people who work in and with schools: teachers, building level leaders, central office administrators, board members, and parent boards. In accessible language, the authors deconstruct the conceptions and understandings of educational policy. This volume serves as a companion volume to Principals of Dynamic Schools (Rallis and Goldring, Corwin Press, 2000) and Dynamic Teachers (Rallis and Rossman, Corwin Press, 1995), books that introduced the construct of dynamic schools. This book also draws on work from Becoming a Reflective Educator (Reagan, Case and Brubacher, Corwin Press, 2000).

Policy is an often overused and more often misunderstood concept. The authors bring to life the making and enacting of educational policy in schools, and help readers develop a more sophisticated and complex understanding of the purposes, evaluation, creation, and implementation of school policies at all levels. As in the earlier books, the authors use vignettes and cases, as well as research and relevant theories, to illustrate important concepts.

The theme of power within policy permeates the text. The authors recognize that policy tends to represent dominant voices, and that power can be appropriate and legitimate. Dynamic schools are places where multiple voices contribute to the policy-making and implementing process.

Foreword by Gene V. Glass
1. The Many Ps of Policy
What Are Dynamic Schools?

Policy, Program, Procedure, or Practice?

What Do School Leaders Say About Policy?

Policy as Local Deliberative Process

2. The Choice to Act: Shaping the Dialogue



The Framework in Practice

3. Inclusion: From Dilemma to Imperative



Reviewing the Inquiry Process of This Dynamic School

4. Immigrants and the Schools: Opening or Closing Doors



5. Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners: More Than One Way



6. Asset Building and ‘No Pass, No Play’: Considering the Whole Child
Justice in Learning

The Scenario: Part II

Reasoning: Justice in Policy

Acting and Evaluating

The Scenario: Part III

7. School Climate: Preventing Acts of Bullying

Moral Reasoning



8. Putting the Framework Into Practice
A Dialogue Among Principals

Final Thoughts


"Because the authors are critically aware of even the smallest detail and its ultimate effects on policy and stakeholders, their conclusions are not only logical but very well thought-out and can be applied for maximum benefit."

Michael Fisher, Critical Thinking Specialist
Starpoint Middle School, Lockport, NY

"The authors do an excellent job of recommending practical strategies to help school leaders reason through policy dilemmas. As an academic, a former practitioner, and former member of an educational policy and advocacy organization, I give a ‘hats off’ to the authors for approaching educational policy and school leadership in this way."

Carri A. Schneider, Adjunct Faculty, Urban Educational Leadership Program
University of Cincinnati

"Educators and library collections catering to them receive a survey arranged by key issues that blends vignettes and research with policy reviews and more. A key to designing successful school and community interactions."

The Bookwatch, September 2007

Sample Materials & Chapters


Foreword by Gene V. Glass

Chapter 1

Sharon F. Rallis

Sharon F. Rallis is Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and Reform at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Previously, she was professor of education at the University of Connecticut; lecturer on education at Harvard; and associate professor of educational leadership at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Her doctorate is from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has coauthored numerous books, including several on leadership: Principals of Dynamic Schools: Taking Charge of Change (with Ellen Goldring); Dynamic Teachers: Leaders of Change (with Gretchen Rossman); Leading Dynamic Schools: How to... More About Author

Gretchen B. Rossman

Gretchen B. Rossman is Professor Emerita of International Education and the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her PhD in education from the University of Pennsylvania, with a specialization in higher-education administration. She has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to coming to the University of Massachusetts, she was senior research associate at Research for Better Schools in Philadelphia. With an international reputation as a qualitative methodologist, she has expertise in qualitative research design and methods, mixed... More About Author

Casey D. Cobb

Casey Cobb is Associate Professor of Education Policy and Director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Connecticut. His current research interests include policies on accountability, school choice, and bilingual education, where he examines the implications for equity among historically marginalized populations. He teaches courses in policy studies, research methods and evaluation. Casey has also served as evaluator on several projects, most recently working with the Connecticut Department of Education to study inter-district magnet programs. More About Author

Timothy G. Reagan

Timothy Reagan is currently Visiting Professor of Educational Leadership at Central Connecticut State University. He has previously been a faculty member at Galluadet University, Central Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut, Roger Williams University, and the University of the Witwatersrand. He has also served as the Associate Dean of the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, Dean of the School of Education at Roger Williams University, and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand. His areas of interest include educational policy studies and the education of... More About Author

Aaron Mathias Kuntz

Aaron M. Kuntz is Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research Methodology at the University of Alabama. His research interests include social contexts of education, organizational culture, qualitative inquiry, identity theory, and democracy within the academy. Recently, he cotaught a course introducing inquiry to doctoral students with Rallis and Rossman. More About Author

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