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Beyond School Improvement
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Beyond School Improvement
The Journey to Innovative Leadership

Edited by:


November 2009 | 248 pages | Corwin
'The authors are grounded educational leaders who have lived the approach to improvement and innovation that they write about. Filled with anecdotal examples, reflection exercises, and practical strategies, this is a very useful and timely resource for educators seeking to understand and influence educational innovation and transformation in the 21st century' - Michael H. Dickmann, Professor

Cardinal Stritch University

'The authors contrast improvement of existing practices with a more rigorous and creative push for innovation that introduces new and different practices and structures. In many situations, district and school improvement plans have evolved into the technical work of interpreting data about the past and present, studying research, and creating documents. This book stimulates leaders as they stretch their organization's culture to reveal mental models, consider external trends, and seek creative and energizing strategies that will prepare students for a future we cannot yet define' - Edie Holcomb, Consultant, Marzano Research Laboratory

Preparing students to be successful in an unpredictable world requires school leaders who can nurture a culture of both improvement and innovation. Beyond School Improvement: The Journey to Innovative Leadership assists leaders in understanding when and how to improve and when and how to innovate.

The book helps leaders connect with the new science on change and provides skills, practices, and tools for creating and leading educational systems that will help to prepare students for the world that will be theirs. Based on complexity theory, new science, systems thinking, change, and innovation, the book presents a look at trends that encourage readers to look beyond the comfort zone of accepted practice and consider the merits of improvement and innovation. The authors discuss four change elements—dissonance, identity, information, and order—and define five essential practices for leaders:

- Hold courageous conversations

- Embrace dissonance

- Change the field of vision

- Be a gardener and a mechanic

- Reframe, reflect, relate

Stories, quotes, reflections, and a call to action help to support leaders as they seek balance within themselves, their classrooms, and their organizations.


 
Foreword by Rick Stiggins
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Part I. Leading Beyond Improvement
 
1. Schools in a Changing World
In This Chapter

 
The Need for Improvement

 
Are Our Schools Broken?

 
Trends in the External Environment

 
Two Trends: Getting Better and Becoming Different

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Schools in a Changing World

 
 
2. Improvement Is Not Enough
In This Chapter

 
Awakening to the Difference Between Improvement and Innovation

 
Improvement Is Not Enough

 
Lorie's Story

 
Schools Working Toward Innovation

 
Vignette 1: Michelle's Story

 
Vignette 2: A Midwestern School District

 
Vignette 3: The Story of SBK High School

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Improvement is not Enough

 
 
3. Attributes of Innovation
In This Chapter

 
Starting the Journey to Improvement and Innovation

 
Randy’s Story: Looking Beyond Current Practice

 
Key Attributes for Innovation

 
Unwelcome in Command and Control

 
Envisioning Leading Adaptive Systems

 
Self-Organizing Systems

 
Starting the Journey

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Attributes of Innovation

 
 
4. Develop the Courage to Leap
In This Chapter

 
Innovation Life Cycles

 
The Hero’s Journey

 
Developing the Courage to Innovate

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Develop the Courage to Leap

 
 
5. Hold Courageous Conversations
In This Chapter

 
Personal Orientation to Change

 
Sue's Story

 
John's Story

 
The Power of Paradoxes

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Hold Courageous Conversations

 
 
Part II. Essential Leadership Practices
 
6. Embrace Dissonance
In This Chapter

 
Dissonance in the Natural World

 
Essential Leadership Practice – Embrace Dissonance

 
What Embracing Dissonance Looks Like in Practice

 
Action Tips – Embrace Dissonance

 
Paradoxical Leaders

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Embrace Dissonance

 
 
7. Create Context
In This Chapter

 
The Importance of Identity

 
Essential Leadership Practice – Create Context

 
What Creating Context Looks Like in Practice

 
Action Tips – Create Context

 
Paradoxical Leaders

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Create Context

 
 
8. Change Your Field of Perception
In This Chapter

 
The Importance of Information

 
Essential Leadership Practice – Change Your Field of Perception

 
What Changing Your Field of Perception Looks Like in Practice

 
Action Tips – Change Your Field of Perception

 
Paradoxical Leaders

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Change Your Field of Perception

 
 
9. Let Ideas Collide
In This Chapter

 
The Importance of Order

 
Essential Leadership Practice – Let Ideas Collide

 
What Letting Ideas Collide Looks Like in Practice

 
Action Tips – Let Ideas Collide

 
Paradoxical Leaders

 
Summary

 
Team Conversation Starters

 
Self-Assessment: Let Ideas Collide

 
 
10. Innovate the Way You Lead
In This Chapter

 
The Journey Starts With Unlearning

 
The Inner Journey

 
Action Plan for Innovating the Way You Lead

 
Summary

 
 
Resource A: Glossary
 
Resource B: Essential Leadership Actions
 
Resource C: Continuum of Leadership Behavior
 
References
 
Index

"The authors are grounded educational leaders who have lived the approach to improvement and innovation that they write about. Filled with anecdotal examples, reflection exercises, and practical strategies, this is a very useful and timely resource for educators seeking to understand and influence educational innovation and transformation in the 21st century."

Michael H. Dickmann, Professor
Cardinal Stritch University

"The authors contrast improvement of existing practices with a more rigorous and creative push for innovation that introduces new and different practices and structures. In many situations, district and school improvement plans have evolved into the technical work of interpreting data about the past and present, studying research, and creating documents. This book stimulates leaders as they stretch their organization's culture to reveal mental models, consider external trends, and seek creative and energizing strategies that will prepare students for a future we cannot yet define."

Edie Holcomb, Consultant
Marzano Research Laboratory

"This book is aimed at school based leaders who what to move beyond micro-level tinkering. The authors arm adventurous school leaders to venture boldly into the challenging role of innovative paradigm shifts that have the potential to improve the school’s effectiveness exponentially.”

Neil MacNeill, Principal
Ellenbrook Primary School, Australia

“This is one of the most important works I have read in a number of years. The author describes the challenges educators face and gives a means to create the best schools ever. It holds the promise of unlocking the future of great schooling in our country."

Sister Camille Anne Campbell, Principal
Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans, LA

“This book should be read by all teacher leaders and administrators! It will cause you to rethink the way we are instructing our students today, in preparation for their tomorrow.”

Gayle Wahlin, Director of Leadership Services
DuPage County Regional Office of Education, Downers Grove, IL

"This book should be sent to leadership programs, organizational programs, boards of education after guidance from the superintendent, superintendents, district office personnel, principals, and all individuals in key leadership positions. Perhaps even to political leaders, especially in local communities.”

Douglas Gordon Hesbol, Superintendent
Laraway CCSD 70C, Joliet, IL

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