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Improve Learning by Building Community: A Principal's Guide to Action

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Create visionary learning communities that improve student outcomes by shaping the internal school community and partnering with families and organizations in the external community.
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Editorial Reviews

Bruce Barnett
"At last, we have a book that provides practical, day-to-day advice for what school administrators need to attend to when establishing a learning community. Daresh helps school leaders understand the importance of their personal values about shared leadership as well as the individuals within the school, district, and community who are essentialto building a shared learning community. The wealth of examples and school-based scenarios illustrate how these ideas translate into practice. A wonderful resource for a book study for teachers and principals."
Mary Beth Cunat
"Daresh continues his legacy of bridging scholarship and practice, within a context of strengthening school cultures by supporting positive interactions between all the people who interact within and around them. As usual, his tone is friendly and approachable, and his points to ponder are both practical and compelling. Aspiring, new, and experienced principals will benefit from the structured opportunity afforded by this book to reflect on their own values and how these values shape their leadership."
Debra Livingston
"An invaluable guide for fostering learning communities, Daresh’s work provides a ten-thousand foot view of schools. Of particular interest to educational leaders are strategies to engage parents, business leaders and the often 'forgotten stakeholders'—staff members such as secretaries and custodians. Each chapter immediately engages the reader through humor, reflection, and analysis. Vivid, authentic scenarios capture the realities and complexities of today’s schools. We are invited into the minds of school leaders as they work through the change process and are reminded of the importance of continually reassessing our values. This book is not only a must-read, but a must-do for every principal whose goal is to enhance learning communities."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412969611
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 835,158
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John C. Daresh is professor of educational leadership at the University of Texas at El Paso. Over the years, he has held faculty or administrative appointments at the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Illinois State University. He has also worked as a consultant on high school reform and administrator professional development for universities, state departments of education, national and state professional associations, and individual schools and districts across the United States, and also in Barbados, Canada, France, Holland, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, and Taiwan. By far, the bulk of Daresh’s international service has been in the United Kingdom where he served an advisor and trainer for the School Management Task Force that developed and promoted support programs for beginning headteachers, the National College for School Leadership, the Welsh Office of Education, the North West Network for Diploma Development in Cheshire, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Lincoln, the University of Hull, CREATE Consultancies, and literally dozens of Local Education Authorities and individual schools across England and Wales.

Daresh recently completed three years of service as the lead consultant on principal mentoring programs for the Chicago Public Schools as that megadistrict was faced with the challenge of bringing in mostly inexperienced principals to serve in nearly of the school system’s elementary and high schools.

Jane Lynch currently serves as the faculty leader of the Department of Business, Information Technology, and Enterprise at All Hallows Catholic College in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. Prior to this appointment, she served as a teacher at Sandbach High School in Cheshire. Her route to the field of education did not follow a traditional path. Her undergraduate degree at Keele University was in law and economics, resulting in a career as a solicitor supported by postgraduate study at Christleton Law College in Chester.

Her interest in working more directly with young people led to a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education in Business Studies (Secondary) at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she later pursued advanced graduate work in educational management. She left the world of law and business to follow her strong interest in education, and the last 21 years of her professional life have been devoted to that focus. Lynch’s work in program development in business and enterprise has become increasingly recognized across England, where she has been invited to serve on a number of panels and committees seeking to forge stronger links among schools and the world of business. She was recently provided with a leave from her work at Macclesfield to support educational program planning with the Cheshire County Educational Office.

She has also continued her national role of participating in numerous projects dedicated to developing young people’s employment skills. She serves as a consultant in enterprise education in Cheshire; as the leader of the Northwest England Business, Administration, and Finance (BAF) Diploma Network; as the Enterprise Learning Partnership coordinator for Cheshire and Warrington; and as the chair of the BAF Diploma County Forum.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

About the Authors xv

1 It All Begins With You 1

General Information About Educational Platforms 3

A Normative Use of a Platform 7

Returning to Motley Elementary School 11

Points for Practice 12

References 12

2 Creating a Shared Vision 13

Developing a Vision 16

Articulating the Vision 17

Implementing the Vision 19

Monitoring the Vision 21

Creating a Vision: Returning to Carpenter Middle School 23

Chapter Summary 23

Points for Practice 24

References 24

3 Foundations for Community Building 25

Definitions 26

Operationalizing Community Beyond Structure 33

Returning to the Administrative Team at Ridgmoor Middle School 37

Chapter Summary 38

Points for Practice 39

References 39

4 Focusing on Culture Is More Than Good Manners 41

On Climate and Culture 43

Development of Culture and Climate Research 45

Putting the Theory Into Practice 49

Returning, to Manchester 55

Chapter Summary 57

Points for Practice 58

References 58

5 Studying Your External Environment 59

Analytic Framework 62

Historical Thumbnail for the Riverport Community and Hilley High School 62

Structural Dimension of Riverport 64

Human Resource Dimension of Riverport 66

Political Dimension of Riverport 68

Symbolic Dimension of Riverport 70

Back to Pete 72

Chapter Summary 72

Points for Practice 73

References 73

6 Working With Community Groups and Parents 75

Parent Concerns 78

Community Concerns 85

Returning to Cheshire School 87

Chapter Summary 88

Points for Practice 88

Reference 89

Additional Suggested Resources 89

7 Seeing Your Invisible Heroes 91

Security Staff 94

Office Workers 97

Custodial Staff 101

Food Service Workers 104

Chapter Summary 107

Points for Practice 107

References 107

8 Services in the Community 109

Students in Physical Danger 111

Drug or Substance Abuse 113

Student Mental or Physical Health 115

Family Turmoil 116

Returning to La Casa Blanca Schools and Bustamente Elementary 118

Chapter Summary 118

Points for Practice 118

9 Support From Central Administration 121

What Makes It Hard to Change Schools? 124

Key People to Keep Informed 126

Chapter Summary 130

Points for Practice 130

References 131

Index 133

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