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Schools That Change

Schools That Change
Evidence-Based Improvement and Effective Change Leadership

Edited by:
  • Lew Smith - National Principals Leadership Institute, Fordham University, USA

Foreword by Michael Fullan

December 2007 | 320 pages | Corwin

"Schools That Change integrates equal parts passion and intellect. A well-crafted contribution to the literature on successful reform and a sophisticated and nuanced book that should be read with care."
—From the Foreword by Michael Fullan

"Schools have shown themselves to be gifted and talented at resisting and subverting change. Lew Smith hands us the keys to the storehouse of insights about how schools can change—really change."
—Roland Barth, Founder, The Principals' Center, Harvard University
Author, Lessons Learned

Learn from schools that have made meaningful, positive, and lasting changes!

With an in-depth look at eight schools across the nation—winners of the National School Change Awards—this illuminating resource shows how schools can transform themselves from low-performing into exemplary national status.

Qualitative research, specific examples, and portraiture offer an inside view of the day-to-day dynamics of change in schools. This insightful book examines questions such as:

  • Why are some schools able to change while other schools cannot?
  • Why are people challenged by change?
  • What is the best way to measure change?
  • What professional characteristics must principals develop to bring about significant and sustainable change?

Learn how your school can realize substantive change that supports a culture of learning, teacher development, and enhanced student achievement.

List of Figures
Foreword by Michael Fullan
About the Author
Part I. The Dynamics of Change

1. Describing Change
2. Measuring Change
3. Examining Change
Part II. The Elementary Schools
4. "We're Closing This School": Government Hill Elementary: Anchorage, Alaska
5. "This School Must Be a Sanctuary": John Williams School No. 5: Rochester, New York
6. "California Dreaming": Skycrest Elementary: Citrus Heights, California
7. "We Succeed. No Exceptions. No Excuses": South Heights Elementary: Henderson, Kentucky
Part III. The Secondary Schools
8. "If the System Doesn't Work, Go Around It": Gustav Fritsche Middle School: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
9. "Desegregation or Else": George Washington Carver Academy: Waco, Texas
10. "Surrender Was Not an Option": Louis W. Fox Academic and Technical High School: San Antonio, Texas
11. "Why Are We Here?": Niles High School: Niles, Michigan
Part IV. Bringing About Significant School Change: The Essential Elements
12. The Essential Elements: Context
13. The Essential Elements: Capacity
14. The Essential Elements: Conversations
Part V. Bringing About Significant School Change: The Catalytic Variables
15. The Catalytic Variables: Internal Dissonance
16. The Catalytic Variables: External Forces
17. The Catalytic Variables: Leadership
Part VI. Creating Meaning
18. The Lessons We Can Learn
References and Suggested Readings

"The author uses the individual school stories to tie educational research to the actual plan. Anyone interested in change can use it as a very clear road map to success!"

A. Joanne Cockrell, Retired Principal
Fox Tech High School, San Antonio, TX

"Lew Smith has identified eight incredible stories of change. This is a testament to the abilities of incredible people with an uncommon vision."

Rob Carroll, Principal
South Heights Elementary School, Henderson, KY

"In a thorough review of the literature, Smith describes both the beauty and the challenge of change. The messages and the lessons learned are grounded in the stories of real schools and the paths they took to work their way up to become high-performing schools. These stories will resonate with school leaders everywhere, particularly urban educators. The book is a great contribution to the field and is needed now more than ever."

Beverly L. Hall, Superintendent
Atlanta Public Schools, GA

"Provides every school with many valuable strategies to consider.”

W. Norton Grubb, David Gardner Chair in Higher Education
University of California, Berkeley

"An engaging, practitioner-friendly examination of successful school improvement from inside the school. Smith provides eight vivid portraits of schools that were once failing but that have subsequently pulled themselves together and improved dramatically. By blending theories of change with the policies and practices that have facilitated success across a variety of educational contexts, this text provides both instruction and hope to educators, parents, policy makers, and aspiring school leaders. It should be on the short list of required reading for all school stakeholders."

Stephen L. Jacobson, Professor and Associate Dean
University of Buffalo-SUNY

"This book vividly illuminates the incredible power of leadership as the key factor in turning schools around. The stories from the eight featured schools provide us with a bold and unvarnished account of the courage and tenacity of principals and teacher leaders who won’t accept the 'status quo' when that means accepting unsafe schools, failures in student learning, and policies that thwart effective instruction. This book will be incredibly useful for discussions among practicing and future educational leaders."

Kyla L. Wahlstrom, Director
Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota

Schools that Change captures that rare combination of intellectual rigor, challenging vision, and the passion. I have been eagerly awaiting this book to share with our Board and with all of our educators. Beyond the mechanistic change processes that are observed all too often, Lew helps us locate the work squarely where it resides; in the messy, organic world of human organizations where leaders must understand and work though the change essentials of context, capacity and conversations. In addition, by telling the stories of courageous school leaders, who have led schools of all sizes and levels throughout the United States, Lew has written a singular work that not only teaches …. it inspires and informs all of us who dream of sustained excellence in our schools that yes – it can be done!

Duane Brothers, superintendent and CEO
Sunrise School Division, Manitoba, Canada

“A rich guide for educators interested in nuts-and-bolts tools and resources to support the journey from low to high performance. Lew Smith has powerfully captured the lessons learned in his magnificently colorful portraits of eight schools selected for the National School Change Award. Practitioners will find Schools that Change to be wonderfully grounded in evidenced-based research and documented best practice."

Larry Leverett, Executive Director
Panasonic Foundation

“At last, a book that provides practical guidance by focusing on schools that have improved. Schools That Change offers sound insights from experienced educators on what it takes to create the schools we need to educate America's children.”

Pedro Noguera, Director, Metropolitan Center for Urban Education
Professor, New York University

"Smith's book captures real school change where it counts most: in schools and classrooms, and for children, teachers, and communities. A must-read!"

Bruce Cooper, Professor of Educational Leadership
Fordham University
Key features
  • In-depth look at what works in eight award-winning rural, suburban, and urban schools
  • Focus on the leadership characteristics essential to effecting significant school change

Purchasing options

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ISBN: 9781412949521
CAD$ 65.95
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For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

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