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Handbook of School Improvement


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Table of Contents

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

About the Author

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 consults throughout the United States and abroad, she has pursued her interest in preparation for and entry to educational and instructional leadership as it relates to supervisory discourse. Winner of the W. G. Walker 2000 Award for Excellence for her coauthored article published in the Journal of Educational Administration, the University of Georgia College of Education Teacher Educator Award, the University of Colorado School of Education Researcher/Teacher of the Year, and the American Association of School Administrators Outstanding Research Award, Blase has published in international handbooks and journals such as The Journal of Staff Development, The Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, Educational Administration Quarterly, and The Alberta Journal of Educational Research; her eight book editions include Empowering Teachers (1994, 2000), Democratic Principals in Action (1995), The Fire Is Back (1997), Handbook of Instructional Leadership (1998, 2004), Breaking the Silence (2003), and Teachers Bringing Out the Best in Teachers (2006). Blase has authored chapters on becoming a principal, school renewal, supervision, and organizational development; her recent research examines the problem of teacher mistreatment. She has published over 90 academic articles, chapters, and books, and she also conducts research on supervisory discourse among physicians as medical educators and consults with physicians in US hospitals and medical centers. 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 scholar, one of the 50 Most Productive and Influential Scholars of Educational Administration in the world. Blase's books include The Politics of Life in Schools: Power, Conflict, and Cooperation (winner of the 1994 Critic's Choice Award sponsored by the American Education Studies Association), Bringing Out the Best in Teachers (1994, 2000, 2008); The Micropolitics of Educational Leadership (1995), Empowering Teachers (1994, 2000), Democratic Principals in Action (1995), The Fire Is Back (1997), Handbook of Instructional Leadership (1998, 2004), Breaking the Silence (2003), and Teachers Bringing Out the Best in Teachers (2006). His recent research (coauthored with Jo Blase and Du Fengning, 2008), a national study of principal mistreatment of teachers, appeared in The Journal of Educational Administration. Professor Blase has published over 120 academic articles, chapters, and books. 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 and issues with school leaders. In 2003 she delivered a paper on the topic of "parental involvement" at the National School Reform Conference. Prior to her return to the field of education in 2000, Dr. Phillips owned and operated a nursing home management company for 26 years. Recognized as a service-oriented organizational leader, Dr. Phillips also provided management consulting services and conducted numerous seminars and workshops on topics such as staff development and training, operational policies and procedures, and federal and state long-term health care requirements for trade associations and nursing home and assisted living facilities. She is author of Policies and Procedures for Long-term Health Care Facilities (1993) and Manual of Staff Orientation and Training for Long-Term Health Care Facilities (1994).


"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
"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
"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

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