The Answer Is in the Room: How Effective Schools Scale Up Student Success [NOOK Book]


Best-selling author Alan M. Blankstein shares the results of his research with top educational experts and describes a five-step process of finding and scaling excellent practices within learning communities.
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The Answer Is in the Room: How Effective Schools Scale Up Student Success

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Best-selling author Alan M. Blankstein shares the results of his research with top educational experts and describes a five-step process of finding and scaling excellent practices within learning communities.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

John Wilson
"With a new explosion of bad ideas for education reform, we need Alan Blankstein’s positive defiance! The Answer is in the Room is rich with tools for improving schools from the inside out. Blankstein reminds educators that we have more answers than we think—we can be the change we wish to see."
Pedro Noguera
"A common-sense approach to addressing the obstacles and barriers that often stymie school success. By drawing on examplesfrom schools that have a track record of beating the odds, Blankstein and his collaborators have created a resource that will be invaluable for educators who are searching for answers to the challenges they face. Insightful, enlightening and accessible."
Tony Wagner
“Blankstein’s new book brilliantly summarizes a wealth of information about what works in closing the achievement gap. A must-read for practitioners.”
Louise Stoll
"Another passionate and stirring book from Alan Blankstein! Weaving together evidence, inspiring stories and resources, he leads the reader to an exciting place where it’s just the norm for everyone to learn with and from others within and across their schools. And it all starts with questions. So what are you waiting for?"
Paul Houston
"In The Answer is in the Room, Alan Blankstein applies the lessons he has learned from working with schools around his 'Failure is Not an Option' program. As usual, Alan offers practical and timely lessons for schools and districts. But in this new book, he goes further to talk about what it really takes to get the answers and he posits that we already know because the answer is in the room, and it must come from all of us. This is a timely and helpful book.”
Robert C. Hughes
"This book has it right—the secret is that there is no secret. With Alan, we need to shout it out. We do know how to scale up student success; we do have excellent instruction to surge into classrooms; and we do have communities of practice that bring stakeholders together who reject failure. This new system is aborning, and we need to celebrate its beginnings and tend to its growth. Readers: unite with purpose! "


Maurice J. Elias
"Every principle in this book is grounded in experience and illustrated with case examples from which any educator can learn. I believe the most essential elements for scaling up involve respecting and nurturing local examples of success, and having the courage to commit to positive change. The Answer Is In The Room has captured it brilliantly - now it's time for education policy to allow educators to bring the answer into the schoolhouse. "
John Wilson
"With a new explosion of bad ideas for education reform, we need Alan Blankstein’s positive defiance! The Answer is in the Room is rich with tools for improving schools from the inside out. Blankstein reminds educators that we have more answers than we think—we can be the change we wish to see."
Deborah L. Wortham
"This book is phenomenal! It embodies everything I believe concerning excellence in education. Alan has documented the road to excellence. I will definitely use this book when working with districts on school improvement or moving from good to great!"
Edward Fiske
"Alan Blankstein spells out a workable approach to school improvement rooted in experience and common sense. His book is a breath of fresh air and a welcome relief from the ideological banter that passes for school reform in the current climate."
Ken O'Connor
“The Answer in the Room really does provide the answer to school improvement. What makes it great is that it is an economical and effective answer– we know what to do and can collaboratively apply the knowledge and skills that educators in theeach districtalready have to achieve great gains in student learning."
Dennis Sparks
"Blankstein makes it clear that communities can create schools in which all students thrive by tapping the capacities that already exist within them. The implications of that idea are truly profound! "
Joel Klein
“Public education is filled with numerous success stories that, for some reason, aren’t being taken to scale. Alan Blankstein addresses this conundrum with practical advice that will benefit educators and students. He shows how to create a culture for success that will move the ball forward at every school and in every classroom.”
Jon Schnur
“In The Answer is in the Room, Alan Blankstein captures evidence of the school-level success which too many have until now thought simply not possible: when we as adults get it right, students can achieve at the highest of levels regardless of background.”
Hayes Mizell
"In this practical new book, Alan Blankstein demonstrates that greater student achievement is within the reach of every school. It doesn't require vast sums of new money or an array of new programs. It does take a small group of educators committed to inquiry, planning, and action.They will find Blankstein's book to be a useful and inspirational guide."
Deborah Childs-Bowen
“With the tools and techniques provided in Alan Blankstein’s new book, educators have the potential to uncover the answers to complex issues in education that are readily at hand."
Andy Hargreaves
"The answer is not always in the room. Sometimes it's in the room next door. But help is often much closer than you think. Drawing on inspirational yet practical examples of health reform in Vietnam, courageous change in South Africa, and authentic improvements that get results in a range of American schools, Alan Blankstein demonstrates that throwing random reforms into the room through the door, or shouting at people in the room from up on the roof, are not ways that make positive change happen. Blankstein knows his people, knows his schools, and knows what brings about positive, professionally driven change. This brilliant little book not only shows what works, it dignifies the overly-criticized professionals who make it all happen."
Marion Wilson
“Alan Blankstein’s latest book is another must-read for educators who are passionate about bringing about change in education. The stories in the book illustrate resonant leaders who enacted the TEAM approach to school transformation. With a TEAM attitude, each leader was able to build TRUST, encourage EMPOWERMENT, establish ACCOUNTABILITY and provide MOTIVATION to bring about he needed change.”
William Mingo
“The goal of every leader should be to inspire excellence without exception. Alan Blankstein’s new bookillustrates this through diverse case studies and vignettes. All school leaders should have this book in their library.”
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
“When the well-being of children is at stake, people of all stripes are called upon to put aside personal agendas, find the humility and courage to do what is right, and let go of what has not worked. This book provides compelling reasons for doing this in education, as well as a powerful new methodology for success, and pathway to a brighter future.”
Linda Lambert
"Alan Blankenship once again addresses head-on the compelling dilemmas of our time. Yes, The Answer is in the Room and it demands that leaders bundle best practice and proceed with courage."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452238937
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 6/2/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,199,104
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Award-winning author and visionary educational leader Alan M. Blankstein is founder and president of the HOPE Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose honorary chair is Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A former “high-risk” youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher. He has worked in youth-serving organizations since 1983, including the March of Dimes, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National Educational Service (now Solution Tree), which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years. He has created award-winning publications and video staff development programs. He is the author of the best-selling book Failure Is Not an Option®: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools, which received the 2005 Book of the Year award from Learning Forward (formerly NSDC), and has been nominated for three other national and international awards.

In addition to authorship of this award-winning book, Blankstein is Publisher of three Failure Is Not an Option® video series and Senior Editor along with Paul Houston of the thirteen-volume The Soul of Educational Leadership series. Blankstein also co-authored the Reaching Today’s Youth curriculum and has published articles in Educational Leadership, The School Administrator, Executive Educator, High School Magazine, Reaching Today’s Youth, and Inside the Workshop. He has also provided keynote presentations and workshops for virtually every major educational organization.

Blankstein is on the Harvard International Principals Centers advisory board, served as Board member for Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, is former Co-Chair of Indiana University’s Neal Marshall Black Culture Center’s Community Network and advisor to the Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence (FASE) mentoring program. He also served as advisory board member for the Forum on Race, Equity, and Human Understanding with the Monroe County Schools in Indiana, and on the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Child Care Agency (JCCA), in which he was once a youth in residence.

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Table of Contents

About the Author
Figures and Tools to Help Answer the Questions in the Room
1. Why We Can't Wait to Scale Student Success!
The Power of Positive Deviance Saves Millions of Children in Vietnam
Applying Positive Deviance to Education
Good News for Scaling Student Success
About This Book and Chapter
Some Common Core Principles of Networking and PD
Challenges to Scaling Success in US Education
The Moral and Economic Imperative for Change is Now
What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Next?
The Big Question
2. A Process to CREATE Sustained Student Success
A Movement is Born in U.S. Education – and Exported to Other Nations
The Catalyst to Change
The CREATE Process
The Advantages of the CREATE Process
The Big Question
3. The Courage to Commit to the Work
Defining Courage
Commitment: A Pillar of Courage
Building a Collective Commitment to Scale Up Student Success
7 Tools for Constructing a Large-Scale Community Commitment
Cultivating the Community: Qualities of the Courageous Leader
The Big Question
4. Resources are in the Room
The Most Valuable Resource: Focused Commitment Over Time
The Second Major Resource: Patience and Urgency
Third Major Resource: Steering Committee
How to Get TIME to Collaborate
Getting Down to the Details
The Big Question
5. Taking Stock of Excellence in the Room
Is there Excellence or Positive Deviance to be Found?
Defining Excellence is Done Twice by the Lead Teams
Developing a Community to Question the Answer: Language, Purpose and Norms
Improving Instructional Practice: Change the Methods and You Will Change the Outcomes
Change the Methods and You Will Change the Outcomes
The Big Question
6. An Action Plan for Engaging the Entire Learning Community
Developing a Common Language for the Action Plan
Key Challenges to Address in the Action Plan
Reentry Plans to Engage the Larger School Community, Build Trust and Transparency
Developing SMART Goals That the School Community Wants to Achieve
Successful Implementation of SMART Goals
Identifying and Assessing Excellence
Next Steps
The Big Question
7. Transference of Knowledge and Skills Throughout the Learning Community
Transferring Knowledge and Skills within the School
Transferring Knowledge and Skills Through-out the District
What Are Tuning Protocols?
The Big Question
8. Embedding the New Learning in the Culture for Sustainability
Three Pillars of Embedding the Process in the School Culture
The Big Question
Tools to Help Answer the Questions in the Room
Tool A: Writing an Instructional SMART Goal Worksheet
Tool B: Strategies for Making Time
Tool C: Agreement of PURPOSE Worksheet
Tool D: Creating Group Norms: Facilitator Guide Example
Tool E: An Example Participant Handout for Creating Group Norms
Tool F: Steps of "Instructional Learning Walks"
Tool G: Indicators of Quality Instructional Learning Walks Observation Sheet
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