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Sustaining Extraordinary Student Achievement

Sustaining Extraordinary Student Achievement

March 2014 | 152 pages | Corwin
Leadership practices that can make a transformative, lasting difference in student achievement!

This book for district leaders and principals examines five Title I primary schools that have sustained outstanding achievement gains over time and shows how other schools can duplicate their success. The author presents lessons learned based on visits and interviews at each school; emphasizes creating a high-achieving culture that consistently supports improvement; and addresses key questions that include:

- with so many students below grade level, how can student achievement be improved?

- what key elements promote continuous and lasting student achievement?

How can we meet the challenging mandates of NCLB?

About the Author
1. Introduction
Selection of Five Title 1 Schools

Focus Areas for Structured Interviews

The Five Sustaining Schools

2. Sylvan Elementary School, Modesto, California: A Culture of Effective Instruction
Building a High-Achieving Culture

Sylvan's Non-Negotiable Core Values

Empowering Staff to Do Their Best Work

Using Student Data to Guide Curriculum and Instruction

Ongoing Improvement of Instruction

Strategic Intervention With Students

Sylvan’s Sustaining Elements

Lessons Learned From Sylvan Elementary School

3. Camellia Elementary School, Sacramento, California: A Culture of Order and Discipline
Developing a Culture of Order and Discipline

The Right Staff Stays at the School

Using Student Data to Guide Curriculum and Instruction

The Role of the Leadership Team and Governance

Camellia’s Non-Negotiable Core Values and Sustaining Elements

Lessons Learned From Camellia Elementary School

4. Jefferson Elementary School, Carlsbad, California: A Culture of Collaboration
Developing a Culture of Collaboration

Jefferson’s Non-Negotiable Core Values

Using Benchmark Data to Target Instruction

Using Data to Intervene With Students

Jefferson’s Sustaining Elements

Lessons Learned From Jefferson Elementary School

5. Rosita Elementary School, Garden Grove, California: A Culture of Clarity
Building a High-Achieving Culture

Empowering Staff to Do Their Best Work

Rosita's Non-Negotiable Core Values

Advice to Principals

Sustaining Processes at Rosita

Lessons Learned From Rosita Elementary School

6. Baldwin Elementary School, Alhambra, California: A Culture of High Expectations
Building a High-Achieving Culture

Baldwin’s Non-Negotiable Core Values

Empowering the Right People

Mastery of Standards

Using Student Achievement Data

Baldwin’s Sustaining Elements

Lessons Learned From Baldwin Elementary School

7. Five Schools That Got the Job Done
A Crisis Point Forces Change

Developing a High-Achieving Culture

Non-Negotiable Core Values

The Essential Sustaining Elements

A Final Word


"The patterns described in these successful schools both validated and challenged my thinking. I can see opportunities for renewed emphasis in our district and much hope for continuing our progress with students."

Nancy Skerritt, Assistant Superintendent
Tahoma School District, Maple Valley, WA

"Reksten has utilized research by education gurus and data from the studied school sites to provide the foundation for educators to begin the challenging, but achievable path of collaboration and high expectations for successful sustainability. Kudos to the author and the school communities!"

Lori Grossman, Manager of Mentoring Services
Houston Independent School District, TX

"This book led me to think and reflect on my leadership as a principal. It also led to introspection and reflection of practices in my school, which is sustaining high achievement."

Steve Knobl, Principal
Gulf High School, New Port Richey, FL

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Linda E. Reksten

Linda E. Reksten has been an educator for 25 years: 23 years in the public school system and two years as a college professor at Point Loma Nazarene University. Reksten began her public teaching career in the Burbank Unified School District in 1982 as a middle school science teacher and high school chemistry teacher. During the summers, she taught elementary science for gifted students in Grades 4 and 5. In 1986, she became principal of Disney Elementary School. During Reksten’s 17 years as principal, Disney Elementary became a Title 1 school and the most ethnically diverse school in the Burbank Unified School District, with 12 languages... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412917537