Leading With Inquiry and Action: How Principals Improve Teaching and Learning

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Improve instruction in your school with this collaborative, inquiry-based process that helps identify areas for improvement, determine community-supported solutions, define an action plan, and evaluate program results.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert M. Villanova
“Creating the conditions for the continuous improvement of teaching and learning is the holy grail for school and district leaders. In my 15 years as a superintendent, I actively and continuously searched for and worked hard to nurture and support 'inquiry-minded, action-oriented' school leaders. These authors have it spot on. This book provides a leadership learning pathway for both emerging school leaders and for experienced school leaders looking for affirmation and explication for their most successful leadership practices. I recommend this book with enthusiasm.”
Andrew Lachman
“This book is an essential guide for educational leaders in schools, district offices, and higher education. It skillfully blends scholarship with practice, and theory with real world examples. Through case studies, the authors show the reader how to develop, support, and improve a collaborative, inquiry-action process for improving teaching and learning. If we are going to have schools that successfully educate all students to high standards, then we need principals who translate the lessons of this book into practice.”
Patricia M. Richardson
"This book presents an excellent school improvement model that empowers teachers to take control of the teaching and learning process as active participants in innovative professional communities. The multifaceted role of the principal as buffer and bridger, as facilitator and focuser, illustrates the versatility and skill needed by today’s great leaders!"
Margaret Terry Orr
"A highly readable and easy-to-use book for principals to guide their schools through the cycles of inquiry and action in addressing pressing problems. I highly recommend the book as a companion to a research course or a leadership course in school leadership preparation, and for districts to use as a form of professional development for principals and their leadership teams."
Edye Morris-Bryant
"An awesome action blueprint for building true school improvement. The authors masterfully outline the current forces, pressures, and factors that challenge instructional change. At the same time, essential keys are provided to assist school leaders in informing, balancing and inspiring instructional change within school walls. As a current principal, I find myself in the pages experiencing much of the same journey."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412964142
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Learn more about Matthew Militello's PD offerings

Matthew Militello is an assistant professor in the Educational Policy and Leadership Studies Department at North Carolina State University. He held a similar position at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he was also the educational administration program coordinator. Prior to his academic career, Militello was a middle and high school teacher, assistant principal, and principal. His research focuses on developing principals’ knowledge and skills in the areas of school law, school data, and collective leadership. Militello has more than 30 publications including articles in Education Policy, Education and Urban Society, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of School Leadership, Leadership Quarterly, Principal Leadership, and Teachers College Record. Militello also co-authored another Corwin book, “Leading with inquiry and action: How principals improve teaching and learning” (2009). He received his undergraduate degree and teaching certification from the University of Michigan and his MEd and Ph D from Michigan State University.

Sharon F. Rallis is Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and Reform at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she is also director of the Center for Education Policy. Previously, she was professor of education at the University of Connecticut; lecturer on education at Harvard; and associate professor of educational leadership at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Her doctorate is from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has co-authored ten books, including several on leadership: Principals of Dynamic Schools: Taking Charge of Change (with Ellen Goldring); Dynamic Teachers: Leaders of Change (with Gretchen Rossman); Leading Dynamic Schools: How to create and Implement Ethical Policies (with Gretchen Rossman and others); and Leading with Inquiry and Action: How Principals Improve Teaching and Learning (with Matthew Militello and Ellen Goldring). Her numerous articles, book chapters, edited volumes, and technical reports address issues of research and evaluation methodology, ethical practice in research and evaluation, education policy and leadership, and school reform.

A past-president of the American Evaluation Association (2005), Rallis has been involved with education and evaluation for over three decades. She has been a teacher, counselor, principal, researcher, program evaluator, director of a major federal school reform initiative, and an elected school board member. Currently, her teaching includes courses on inquiry, program evaluation, qualitative methodology, and organizational theory. Her research has focused on the local implementation of programs driven by federal, state, or district policies. As external evaluator or principal investigator (PI), she has studied a variety of domestic and international policy and reform efforts, such as: alternative professional development for leaders; collaborations between agencies responsible for educating incarcerated or institutionalized youth; initiatives supporting inclusive education for children and youth with disabilities; local school governance and leadership; labor-management relations in school districts. Rallis’ work with students on evaluation and qualitative methodology has taken her as far as Afghanistan and Palestine.

Ellen B. Goldring is professor of education policy and leadership at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, where she won the Alexander Heard Distinguished Professor award. Her areas of expertise and research focus on improving schools, with particular attention to educational leadership and access and equity in schools of choice. She is the immediate past coeditor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She serves on numerous editorial boards, technical panels, and policy forums, and is the coauthor of three books, including Principals of Dynamic Schools (Corwin Press), as well as hundreds of book chapters and articles. Goldring is currently working on a project funded by the Wallace Foundation to develop and field-test an education leadership assessment system and establish its psychometric properties. She is also conducting experiments to study professional development and performance feedback for school leaders. She is an investigator at the National Center on School Choice and the Learning Sciences Institute at Vanderbilt. Goldring received her Ph D from the University of Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Richard F. Elmore Preface Acknowledgments About the Authors Part I. From Challenges to Possibilities
1. The Myth of the Great Principal
2. The Collaborative Inquiry-Action Cycle Part II. The Collaborative Inquiry-Action Cycle in Action
3. What Are We Teaching? A Case of Curricular Alignment
4. What Do We Know? A Case of Data Informing Practice
5. What Do We Do in the Classroom? A Case of Changing Instructional Practice Part III. Making It Happen
6. Roles the Inquiry-Minded, Action-Oriented Principal Plays
7. You Can Do It! Putting the Collaborative Inquiry-Action Cycle Into Practice References Index

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