Sunday, April 19, 2015

What Works?

Educational Leadership  IMPROVING SCHOOLS WHAT WORKS, —February 2015
It's the one magazine I take with me on vacation. It is light, portable, and packed with innovative ideas for educators. There are topics in Educational Leadership that have become my favorite and this is one of them. This months highlights 'what works' for school improvement.

February's publication is a must read for every principal and school leader. I would recommend reading one or two or the above featured articles, giving yourself some time to consider the author's message and possibly even finding a few colleagues to "marinate" the ideas with. It is still on my desk. When I do take a break, I continue to go back to my favorite to ponder and make the ideas applicable to our school improvement efforts to try and "make it stick".

I attempted to narrow down the most essential posts from a school improvement perspective, but there was just too many gems I wouldn't want you to miss.

Research Alert: Barriers to School Improvement: What are the "real" barriers for principals? Answer--less than you think.

ScreenGrabs: Ted Talks on School Improvement featuring Geoffrey Canada & Andreas Schleicher  Who doesn't love TED?

Karin Chenoweth: HOW DO WE GET THERE FROM HERE? We know what works to improve schools. Now, let's focus on using the most effective practices.
One of them being, "The principal should not be the focus of all decisions........ However, at least in the initial stages of school improvement, it appears schools may need the focused efforts of a leader who believes in the capacity of all students. Such a leader can establish systems that allow teachers to focus on the things that work---and model how to evaluate every decisions through a 'what works' filter" (pg. 20).

Greg Anrig: HOW WE KNOW COLLABORATION WORKS A growing body of research shows that collaboration between teachers and administrators---not confrontation---improves student outcomes.
Developing a more inclusive trusting culture between teachers and principals "is an essential ingredient in making successful schools tick: (pg. 33).

John Hattie: HIGH IMPACT LEADERSHIP Effective instructional leaders don't just focus on student learning. They relentlessly search out and interrogate evidence of that learning. Love that word--RELENTLESSLY.
"High-impact instructional leaders believe that success and failure in student learning is about what they, as teachers or leaders, did or didn't do" (pg. 40).

Amanda Datnow & Vicki Park: DATA USE FOR EQUITY Meaningful use of data in school means giving all students the opportunity to achieve at high levels.
"Data use provides a lever for school improvement, but if the process isn't implemented effectively, it won't deliver" (pg.50).

Bryan Goodwin: To Go Fast, Direct. To Go Far, Empower.
Directive Leadership versus Collaborative Leadership.

Doug Fisher & Nancy Frey: Focus Drives School Improvement
Essential Question: What do we want to be known for? Personally they continue to remind me of the importance of the power of "Gradual Release of Responsibility."

Thomas R. Hoerr: When Teachers Feel Beaten Down
What can we as principals do to recognize the work off teachers who are enthusiastic about confronting challenges and eager to find solutions?" (pg. 85). The shortest article--but most impactful for principals who want to recognize those leading the change.

Carol Ann Tomlinson: Pondering Good vs. Great--"Good schools are good places. Extraordinary schools, however, lift the prospect of all of us" (g. 88).


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