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Leading With Inquiry and Action

Leading With Inquiry and Action
How Principals Improve Teaching and Learning

Foreword by Richard F. Elmore

November 2012 | 168 pages | Corwin
'This essential guide for educational leaders skillfully blends scholarship with practice and integrates theory with real-world examples. Through case studies, the authors show the reader how to develop, support, and improve a collaborative, inquiry-action process for improving teaching and learning. If we are going to have schools that successfully educate all students to high standards, then we need principals who translate the lessons of this book into practice' - Andrew Lachman, Executive Director, Connecticut Center for School Change

Enhance learning with a collaborative, inquiry-based system of leadership!

With sociopolitical forces prompting calls for school improvement, school leaders look for ways to expand their expertise in instructional leadership and strengthen their role in shaping classroom practice.

Leading With Inquiry and Action presents a systematic, ongoing process for collecting information, making decisions, and taking action to improve instruction and raise student achievement. The authors illustrate this collaborative inquiry-action cycle with a running vignette of an experienced principal and offer questions and exercises to guide individual reflection and group discussion. Thoroughly grounded in research, this book helps administrators:

- Identify areas for instructional improvement

- Determine community-supported solutions and build stakeholder commitment

- Articulate an action plan based on multiple data sources

- Take steps that support teacher development

- Systematically evaluate programme results

Educational improvement requires informed leadership. This practical guide provides an efficient and functional framework for transforming current or aspiring principals into inquiry-minded, action-oriented instructional leaders.

Foreword by Richard F. Elmore
About the Authors
Part I. From Challenges to Possibilities
1. The Myth of the Great Principal
2. The Collaborative Inquiry-Action Cycle
Part II. The Collaborative Inquiry-Action Cycle in Action
3. What Are We Teaching? A Case of Curricular Alignment
4. What Do We Know? A Case of Data Informing Practice
5. What Do We Do in the Classroom? A Case of Changing Instructional Practice
Part III. Making It Happen
6. Roles the Inquiry-Minded, Action-Oriented Principal Plays
7. You Can Do It! Putting the Collaborative Inquiry-Action Cycle Into Practice

“Creating the conditions for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning is the holy grail for school and district leaders. In my 15 years as a superintendent, I actively and continuously searched for and worked hard to nurture and support 'inquiry-minded, action-oriented' school leaders. These authors have it spot on. This book provides a leadership learning pathway for both emerging school leaders and for experienced school leaders looking for affirmation and explication for their most successful leadership practices. I recommend this book with enthusiasm.”

Robert M. Villanova, Director, Executive Leadership Program
Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

“This book is an essential guide for educational leaders in schools, district offices, and higher education. It skillfully blends scholarship with practice, and theory with real world examples. Through case studies, the authors show the reader how to develop, support, and improve a collaborative, inquiry-action process for improving teaching and learning. If we are going to have schools that successfully educate all students to high standards, then we need principals who translate the lessons of this book into practice.”

Andrew Lachman, Executive Director
Connecticut Center for School Change

"This book presents an excellent school improvement model that empowers teachers to take control of the teaching and learning process as active participants in innovative professional communities. The multifaceted role of the principal as buffer and bridger, as facilitator and focuser, illustrates the versatility and skill needed by today’s great leaders!"

Patricia M. Richardson, Professor of Practice-Educational Leadership
University of Maryland

"A highly readable and easy-to-use book for principals to guide their schools through the cycles of inquiry and action in addressing pressing problems. I highly recommend the book as a companion to a research course or a leadership course in school leadership preparation, and for districts to use as a form of professional development for principals and their leadership teams."

Margaret Terry Orr, Faculty
Bank Street College

"An awesome action blueprint for building true school improvement. The authors masterfully outline the current forces, pressures, and factors that challenge instructional change. At the same time, essential keys are provided to assist school leaders in informing, balancing and inspiring instructional change within school walls. As a current principal, I find myself in the pages experiencing much of the same journey."

Edye Morris-Bryant, Principal
Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School, Raleigh, NC

well designed text and applicable to course

Ms Rebecca McClure
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Denver Morgridge College of Education
June 22, 2014

It fits perfectly with my course on school improvement.

Dr Gregory Hicks
Leadership, Policy, and Adult and Higher Education, North Carolina State University
August 25, 2012

I was reassigned to teach a budget and finance course and selected texts to reflect that reassignment

thank you

Dr Thomas DiPaola
Graduate School, Johnson & Wales University
June 4, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Matthew C. Militello

Matthew Militello is the Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership at East Carolina University. He is currently the principal investigator for a million dollar National Science Foundation grant (NSF# 1738767) bringing computational thinking to music and art classes in rural NC middle schools. Militello is also currently implementing an innovative Ed.D. degree for ECU in Bangkok, Thailand. Militello received his teaching degree from the University of Michigan (B.Ed., 1992), his administrative certification (MSA, 1994) and doctoral degrees (Ph.D., 2004) from Michigan State University. He has held faculty positions at... More About Author

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

Ellen B. Goldring

Ellen B. Goldring is professor of education policy and leadership at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, where she won the Alexander Heard Distinguished Professor award. Her areas of expertise and research focus on improving schools, with particular attention to educational leadership and access and equity in schools of choice. She is the immediate past coeditor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She serves on numerous editorial boards, technical panels, and policy forums, and is the coauthor of three books, including Principals of Dynamic Schools (Corwin Press), as well as hundreds of book chapters and articles. Goldring... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412964142