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A School Board Guide to Leading Successful Schools

Focusing on Learning
By: Stephanie Hirsh, Anne Foster

Foreword by Anne Bryant

This invaluable guide addresses the 12 challenges experienced by nearly every school board, and shows how professional learning for school boards and educators can support success.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452290423
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 248
  • Publication date: September 18, 2013

Price: $40.95

Price: $40.95
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The go-to resource for school board members’ greatest challenges!

For districts striving to improve student academic performance, professional learning at all levels can make a crucial difference. This invaluable guide addresses the top challenges experienced by nearly every school board, and shows how professional learning can assist in overcoming these challenges and support positive changes.

Two influential education leaders—and experienced board trustees—present an approach that helps school board members form their own professional learning community and become a stronger, more productive team. Aligned with Learning Forward’s current Standards for Professional Learning (developed in collaboration with, and supported by, more than 18 national organizations, including the National School Boards Association), this resource enables board members to

  • Learn from case studies focused on 12 critical board-level decisions, including hiring a new superintendent, resource allocation, compensation planning, and more
  • Deepen your understanding of leadership and actions that advance school success and benefit the wider community
  • Know when, where, and how to use professional learning to improve individual and systemic performance
  • Benefit from best practices and tools developed to support effective decisions and successful implementation of major initiatives

Turn to this resource to assist with your continuous improvement journey and achieve greater success for all schools!

"School boards play a pivotal role in creating a climate of learning in a school system. This book offers practical advice to enable school boards to fulfill this critical aspect of their public leadership role. It is a road map for action and continuous improvement for every school board."
—Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director
National School Boards Association

"This book is an excellent tool for the collaborative work of school boards and school personnel. The activities encourage the collaboration and conversation that support continuous improvement in education.”
—Lisa Casto, Director of Curriculum and Staff Development
Allen ISD, TX

Key features

(1) Designed to deepen school board members' understanding of high quality professional learning, its impact on student achievement, and its relation to key responsibilities and decisions of school boards.

(2) Engages school board members in their own professional learning through case analyses and activities for individuals and groups.

(3) Organized around 12 critical decisions that school boards frequently make.

(4) Aligned with Learning Forward's current Standards for Professional Learning.

(5) Assignments, suitable for collaborative teams and individual analysis, expand board members' understanding and capacity to address topics.


Stephanie Hirsh photo

Stephanie Hirsh

Stephanie Hirsh is the former executive director of Learning Forward, a position she held for over a decade. Before her appointment as executive director, she served the association as deputy executive director for 18 years. During her tenure she co-authored more than a dozen books; published more than 100 articles; lectured internationally; and consulted with policy and decision makers broadly. She led the publication of the first three editions of Standards for Professional Learning as well as federal and state policies that leveraged them for more than three decades. Her advocacy, writing, and consulting efforts focused on building systems of professional learning that ensured high levels of learning and performance for all educators and students. Prior to her work with Learning Forward she served as a teacher, central office administrator, and three-term school board member, in the Richardson ISD (TX) school system. Today she consults with foundations, organizations, education start-ups, and universities focused on issues of capacity building, equity, curriculum, and professional learning. Recent clients include Carnegie Corporation of New York, Chicago Public Schools, Learning Forward, National Center for Teacher Residencies, Univ of Maryland College of Education, University of Texas College of Education.

Selected recent books and reports include: Preparing Day-One Ready Teachers (2021) co-authored with Tabitha Grossman, Becoming a Learning Principal (2020), co-authored with Frederick Brown and Kay Psencik; The Elements: Transforming Teaching through Curriculum-based Professional Learning (2020) coauthored with James B. Short, Becoming a Learning Team (2017), co-authored with Tracy Crow; A School Board Guide to Leading Successful Schools (2013), coauthored with Anne Foster.

Stephanie Hirsh serves on advisory boards for Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia Law School, Divon Academy, EdCuration, edsUp, Learning Forward, University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning’s (KUCRL’s) IES funded research grant, University of Texas College of Education, and Dallas-area nonprofits. Stephanie Hirsh has been recognized by the University of North Texas, Texas Association of School Boards, Texas Staff Development Council, Richardson Independent School District, Junior Achievement, and Kappa Delta Pi for her scholarship, volunteerism, and leadership. She earned her Ph.D. and M.Ed. from the University of North Texas and BS from University of Texas at Austin.

Anne Foster photo

Anne Foster

Anne Foster is the Executive Director of Parents for Public Schools (PPS), a national organization of community-based chapters working to strengthen public schools by engaging, educating and mobilizing parents.

Foster had a longtime career in real estate in the Dallas area and served as a three-term elected school board member for Richardson (Texas) ISD. She served as board president for seven years and founded Realtors Supporting Richardson Schools (RSRS) as a way to bring Realtors into support of public schools. She graduated from Leadership Texas and became the first ED of the business/public school advocacy group Raise Your Hand Texas.  

In her current position with PPS, Foster speaks, presents and writes on behalf of parent and community engagement in public schools, as well as school board advocacy. Her commentaries have appeared in Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Horizons, The Dallas Morning News, USA Today, and others. She is a regular commentator on public education issues on KERA Dallas public radio, and she consults with community and municipal groups on parent engagement in schools.  

Foster received the Outstanding Communicator Award by the National School Public Relations Association. She has been recognized as a Master Trustee and member of an Honor Board from the Texas Association of School Boards. She serves on The National Family, School, and Community Engagement Working Group, which advises the White House and Department of Education on federal policy.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Anne Bryant



About the Authors

Introduction: Using This Book as a Guide to Your Learning

1. Hiring the Superintendent: Making the Right Choice

2. Planning Strategically: Setting and Supporting Priorities

3. Advancing Professional Learning: Adopting Standards for Professional Learning

4. Allocating Resources: Prioritizing Dollars and Time for Learning

5. Improving School Performance: Reviewing School Improvement Plans

6. Approving Programs: Supporting Professional Learning for Success

7. Setting School Calendars: Providing Time for Educator Learning

8. Building Schools: Putting Learning at the Center

9. Evaluating Performance: Aligning Expectations

10. Compensating Educators: Supporting Learning and Action

11. Engaging Parents: Making Parent Learning a Priority

12. Improving Continuously: Walking the Talk of Professional Learning

Appendix A: Standards for Professional Learning

Appendix B: Standards for Professional Learning: School Board Innovation Configuration Maps

Appendix C: Standards for Professional Learning: Superintendent Innovation Configuration Map (Leadership Standard)

Additional Resources




Price: $40.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.