Schools That Change: Evidence-Based Improvement and Effective Change Leadership / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 59%)
Est. Return Date: 07/22/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $42.41
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (3) from $42.41   
  • New (1) from $42.41   
  • Used (2) from $49.95   


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

The author presents an in-depth look at eight schools, winners of the National School Change Awards, that have transformed from low-performing into exemplary national status. Smith uses qualitative research, specific examples, and portraiture to offer an inside view of the day-to-day dynamics of school change. 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?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Foreword by Michael Fullan
"Schools That Change integrates equal parts passion and intellect. Awell-crafted contribution to the literature on successful reform—a sophisticated and nuanced book that should be read with care."
Michael Fullan
"Schools That Change integrates equal parts passion and intellect. Awell-crafted contribution to the literature on successful reform—a sophisticated and nuanced book that should be read with care. "
A. Joanne Cockrell
"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!"
Rob Carroll
"Lew Smith has identified eight incredible stories of change. This is a testament to the abilities of incredible people with an uncommon vision."
Beverly L. Hall
"In a thorough review of the literature, Smith describes both the beauty and the challenge of change. The messages andthe 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. "
W. Norton Grubb
"Provides every school with many valuable strategies to consider.”
Stephen L. Jacobson
"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."
Kyla L. Wahlstrom
"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."
Duane Brothers
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!
Larry Leverett
“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."
Pedro Noguera
“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.”
Bruce Cooper
"Smith's book captures real school change where it counts most: in schools and classrooms, and for children, teachers, and communities. A must-read!"
Gerald N. Tirozzi
“Provides an in-depth investigation of schools in different regions of the country that have made dramatic improvement in student achievement. The opportunity to share and learn from these promising practices offers practitioners a valuable repertoire for implementation.”
Roland Barth
“Schools have shown themselves to be gifted and talented at resisting and subverting change. Lew Smith hands to us the keys to the storehouse of insights about how schools changed…really changed.”
Frank J. Macchiarola
“Lew Smith has written about how eight schools have changedfrom schools of mediocrity to schools of excellence. He presents practical suggestions on how to accomplish the same results through the essential elements of context, capacity, and conversation. The book has a scholarly foundation, but has a practical focus reflecting the author’s own experiences as a successful high school principal.”
Thomas W. Payzant
"Makes powerful connections that bridge research, policy, and practice, enabling those in the field to make decisions to effect systemic improvement of teaching and learning in America’s schools. It is refreshing to have a timely book that not only makes the case for change and improvement, but also provides evidence on how to do it effectively."
Ted Sizer
"Schools do change. Some schools, however,take the initiative andlook for a better way to serve their constituencies. Lew Smith has given us a revealing and important glimpse of some of these remarkable schools."
Daniel L. Duke
“Smith’s book offers educators a variety of inspiring examples of schools that beat the odds and improved teaching and learning. Smith thinks like a designer rather than a problem solver. Problem solvers concentrate on eliminating things—problems—while designers focus on creating things—in this case, exciting new learning environments. For my money, the hopes of our neediest young people are better vested in the dynamics of designers than the predicaments of problem solvers.”
Grayson Noley
"Lew Smith makes it clear that schools in the most desperate of situations have been able to find hope and success through change initiated by courageous leaders using strategies based on commitment to improve the status quo, caring, and trust. I hope others will avail themselves of opportunities to gain inspiration from the change stories told in this book."
Benjamin O. Canada
"School principals and aspiring school administrators looking for real-world school change will find this book among their most trusted resources. This book reveals the challenges of successful school change and provides a recipe for how to become an intelligent leader for complex decision making."
Karen Seashore Louis
"Lew Smith's patient attention to developing a framework that captures the dimensions of successful school improvement has paid off handsomely. Both researchers and school administrators will gain insight into the theory and art of change leadership. More importantly, readers will come away with many ideas about how to create the conditions that Smith identifies as critical to substantive change for teachers, students, and families."
Education Canada
“Gives rich, engaging, and often inspiring glimpses into the stories of eight American schools that went from horrendous to excellent. The book could provide an effective scaffold for personal reflection or serve as a source book for a masters program in educational administration.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412949521
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 12/11/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,302,675
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Lew Smith received his BA, MA and School Administration/Supervision Certificate from Brooklyn College and his Ed D from Teachers College, Columbia University. He began his career as a social studies teacher in New York City high schools, where his interdisciplinary course in American History, titled The American Dream, became a textbook published by Scott Foresman and adopted nation-wide. Lew Smith served as the principal of a New York City high school; the executive director of America’s first settlement house, a multi-social service agency; and the principal of a suburban junior-senior high school.

Dr. Smith conceived and directed the NYC Middle School Initiative, which ultimately launched middle school reform in 26 of NYC’s 32 community school districts. He facilitated the creation of 82 school-based leadership teams for the Newark, New Jersey school system.

Lew Smith has served as an Associate Professor in Educational Leadership and Associate Dean, Program Development and Outreach at the Fordham University Graduate School of Education. As a member of the educational leadership faculty, Dr. Smith directed the revision and expansion of the Master’s Program in Educational Administration, which generated more than 200 well-prepared school administrators between 2000-2003. Dr. Smith, working with a Fordham team and external partners conceived and directed a Critical Issues in Education Conference Series, the National School Change Awards, and the National Principals Leadership Institute.

Dr. Smith’s research and teaching focus is on leadership development and school change. He has presented papers and conducted workshops in numerous school districts, at regional conferences, and at national conferences conducted by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and the University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA). Four commentaries authored by Dr. Smith have appeared in Education Week.

Dr. Smith has been involved in extensive school restructuring and school design work, including the creation of three small New York City high schools dedicated to the themes of public service and social justice. Additionally, Dr. Smith helped with the restructuring of four K-8 schools and two high schools in Paterson, NJ; the design of a middle school in Baltimore, MD; and the redesign of four secondary schools in Newburgh, NY. He prepared Milwaukee, WI educators for the redesign of all eighteen high schools in their district and facilitated a new Aspiring Principals program for the San Francisco, CA Unified School District. Dr. Smith is married, with four children and one grandchild, all of who have attended public schools. Lew Smith is an avid reader, cook, and vegetable gardener.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Figures     ix
Foreword   Michael Fullan     xi
Preface     xii
Acknowledgments     xvi
About the Author     xviii
Introduction     1
The Dynamics of Change     11
Describing Change     13
Measuring Change     29
Examining Change     45
The Elementary Schools     53
"We're Closing This School": Government Hill Elementary: Anchorage, Alaska     55
"This School Must Be a Sanctuary": John Williams School No. 5: Rochester, New York     68
"California Dreaming": Skycrest Elementary: Citrus Heights, California     80
"We Succeed. No Exceptions. No Excuses.": South Heights Elementary: Henderson, Kentucky     94
The Secondary Schools     107
"If the System Doesn't Work, Go Around It": Gustav Fritsche Middle School: Milwaukee, Wisconsin     109
"Desegregation or Else": George Washington Carver Academy: Waco, Texas     122
"Surrender Was Not an Option": Louis W. Fox Academic and Technical High School: San Antonio, Texas     135
"Why Are We Here?": Niles High School: Niles, Michigan     148
Bringing About Significant School Change: The Essential Elements     163
The Essential Elements: Context     165
The Essential Elements: Capacity     179
The Essential Elements: Conversations     194
Bringing About Significant School Change: The Catalytic Variables     211
The Catalytic Variables: Internal Dissonance     213
The Catalytic Variables: External Forces     224
The Catalytic Variables: Leadership     241
Creating Meaning     263
The Lessons We Can Learn     265
References and Suggested Readings     277
Credits     287
Index     288
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 23, 2012

    Real life case studies

    Real case studies of schools and administrators who implemented organizational process changes in public schools.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)