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Unlocking Group Potential to Improve Schools

Unlocking Group Potential to Improve Schools

Foreword by Michael Fullan

December 2012 | 280 pages | Corwin
How great groups make great schools

Training leaders how to conduct effective meetings is important, but it's not enough to ensure that the professional development process is valuable. This field book shows educators how to develop group culture, enhance facilitators' skills, and optimize the group's most precious resource—its members. The authors describe how to form working committees, task forces, grade-level, and department teams, and faculties that are more effective and better equipped to resolve complex issues around student learning. Specific topics include

Understanding eight principles that underlie effective groups

Learning the five standards for effective meetings

Setting clear goals and roles

Practicing new ways of talking for improved collaboration

Examining perceptions and mental models

Enhancing energy sources

Working with conflict

Developing basic facilitation skills

This practical guide's special features include the newly updated seven norms of collaboration, a sample team assessment survey, instruments for assessing meeting effectiveness, an extensive bibliography, and practical examples embedded throughout the text. Practitioners will find a valuable road map for leading effective, student-focused school improvement efforts.

About the Authors
I. Getting Work Done
1. Building Effective Groups
2. Understanding Group Roles
3. Examining Decision Making
4. Creating Focused Agendas
II. Developing Collaborative Communities
5. Forming Smarter Groups
6. Learning the Way Groups Talk
7. Challenging Mental Models
8. Working With Conflict
III. Developing a Sense of Community
9. Becoming a Self-Directed Group
10. Enhancing Energy Sources
IV. Developing Facilitation Skills
11. Developing Facilitation Skills
12. Learning the Language of Facilitation
13. Intervening Successfully
14. Setting up the Room
Appendix A: Large Group Room Configurations
Appendix B: Sample Inventory
Appendix C: Seven Norms of Collaboration: A Supporting Toolkit

"This is an easy to read book that includes research-supported strategies and tips to help educators use precious collaborative time to their best advantage."

Dr. Kathy Grover, Assistant Superintendent
Clever R-V Public Schools, MO

"An informative read for school administrators. I recommend this book for anyone who organizes or facilitates a group of people in decision making."

Pamela Maxwell, Principal
Kennedy Elementary, Peace River, AB

"The authors provide teachers and leaders with the tools they need to make teacher group work effective and productive."

Dr. Scott Hollinger, Executive Coach
Communities Foundation of Texas/Texas High School Project, Dallas, TX

"The authors synthesize all the best research as well as extensive experience into a practical, easily understood and comprehensive guide for working effectively with groups. This book helps administrators to achieve maximum group participation and cohesion while maintaining the integrity of all involved."

Dr. Roberta E. Glaser, (Ret.) Assistant Superintendent
St. Johns Public Schools, MI

"This book provides the insights, conceptual foundation, precise language, and explicit processes about how groups work. The authors have an elegant and expanding understanding of the gestalt of the power, purpose, and energy of group work."

Dr. Douglas Gordon Hesbol, School District Administrator
Laraway Community Consolidated School District 70C, Joliet, IL

"Those familiar with the theory of adaptive school should read this book. It provides a practical and effective approach to the development of group culture and collaborative groups."

Dr. Roberto Pamas, Principal
O.W. Holmes Middle School, Alexandria, VA

"Dr. Garmston’s work provides potent tools that leaders in our local district use every day to propel student achievement forward. This book is theoretically sound and reality-based regarding the needs of schools and their leaders. This kind of work makes systems adaptive and ready to move students, parents, and leaders into the next era of learning and achievement."

Roberto Antonio Martinez, Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District, Local District 5

Robert J. Garmston

Robert J. Garmston is Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration at California State University, Sacramento. He is co-developer of Cognitive Coaching with Art Costa and co-developer of Adaptive Schools with Bruce Wellman. He has worked as an educational consultant and made presentations and conducted workshops for teachers, administrators, and staff developers on leadership, learning, and personal and organizational development in twenty-four countries on five continents. Formerly an administrator and teacher in Saudi Arabia and the United States, his work has been translated into Arabic, Dutch, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish. Bob... More About Author

Valerie von Frank

Valerie von Frank has written extensively about education over several decades as a daily newspaper reporter in multiple states covering public schools and, over the last decade, for NSDC publications, including JSD, Tools for Schools, The Learning System, The Learning Principal, and T3. She is a former editor of JSD, worked as a daily newspaper editor, served as communications director in an urban public school district, and was communications director for a Michigan nonprofit school reform organization. She is co-author with Ann Delehant of Making Meetings Work: How to Get Started, Get Going, and Get It Done (Corwin Press, 2007). She is... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412998895

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