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Handbook of School Improvement

How High-Performing Principals Create High-Performing Schools
By: Jo Blase, Joseph Blase, Dana Yon Phillips

Forewords by William D. Greenfield, Jr., Joseph Hunter, and Susan M. Usry

Capturing insights from 20 successful principals, this illuminating book presents real-world strategies that help school leaders refine their administrative skills and generate dramatic improvements in schoolwide achievement.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412979979
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2010
  • Page Count: 240
  • Publication date: December 26, 2013

Price: $45.95

Price: $45.95
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"A practical, useful, easy-to-read resource that I will keep on the edge of my desk as a reference. The book is filled with excellent and useful information and serves as both a concise summary of focal points for principals as well as a resource for additional information."
—Kari Dahlquist, Principal
Creek Valley Elementary School, Edina, MN

"All school administrators who want their school to become a high-performing school have to read this book. It is transformational!"
—Sean Beggin, Assistant Principal
Andover High School, MN

Learn how successful principals make a difference in their school's performance!

Outstanding principals are made, not born. With insights drawn from a ground-breaking study and numerous firsthand accounts, this illuminating book reveals how principals develop the leadership qualities that support schoolwide achievement.

Written by best-selling authors and respected experts in school improvement, this comprehensive guide captures unique perspectives from 20 successful principals, representing a wide range of urban and rural schools. Presenting real-life strategies and best practices, the authors show how principals use a systems-development approach to build empowered teams and excellent organizations. Designed for school and district administrators as well as staff developers, this resource:

  • Describes the key characteristics of extraordinary principals and high-performing schools, including nine crucial actions that drive positive change
  • Focuses on how principals balance both administrative responsibilities and instructional leadership
  • Shows how to actively involve teachers, staff, and families in school improvement, including individual and group activities
  • Addresses the role of research and data in stronger schoolwide performance
  • Offers tips and suggestions from highly regarded principals, along with recommended resources for further study and team trainings

Learn how the experiences of fellow principals can help you energize your team and realize your school's promise!

Key features

  • Key coverage of nine characteristics that promote the development of school-based "learning systems" that support school improvement- administrative leadership includes managerial and organizational leadership functions, responsibilities, and behaviors that support school improvement.
  • Five primary goals that directly impact teaching and student learning, including (1) maintaining a focus on teaching and learning, (2) developing a culture that supports and sustains instructional improvement, (3) establishing a context for dialogue about instruction, (4) referencing research-based elements when observing and talking with teachers, and (5) providing effective, on-going professional learning.
  • Offers the best resources available for professional learning and school improvement, including books, articles, websites, standards, videos, kits, tools, workbooks, career plans, and interviews.
  • Also includes individual and group activities that can be used by administrators and teachers working together for school improvement.


Jo Blase photo

Jo Blase

Jo Blase is a professor of educational administration at the University of Georgia, and a former public school teacher, high school and middle school principal, and director of staff development. She received a Ph.D. in educational administration, curriculum, and supervision in 1983 from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her research has focused on instructional and transformational leadership, school reform, staff development, and principal-teacher relationships. Through work with the Beginning Principal Study National Research Team, the Georgia League of Professional Schools, and public and private school educators with whom she consults throughout the United States and abroad, she has pursued her interest in preparation for and entry to educational and instructional leadership as it relates to supervisory discourse.

Winner of the W. G. Walker 2000 Award for Excellence for her coauthored article published in the Journal of Educational Administration, the University of Georgia College of Education Teacher Educator Award, the University of Colorado School of Education Researcher/Teacher of the Year, and the American Association of School Administrators Outstanding Research Award, Blase has published in international handbooks and journals such as The Journal of Staff Development, The Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, Educational Administration Quarterly, and The Alberta Journal of Educational Research; her eight book editions include Empowering Teachers (1994, 2000), Democratic Principals in Action (1995), The Fire Is Back (1997), Handbook of Instructional Leadership (1998, 2004), Breaking the Silence (2003), and Teachers Bringing Out the Best in Teachers (2006).

Blase has authored chapters on becoming a principal, school renewal, supervision, and organizational development; her recent research examines the problem of teacher mistreatment. She has published over 90 academic articles, chapters, and books, and she also conducts research on supervisory discourse among physicians as medical educators and consults with physicians in US hospitals and medical centers.

Joseph Blase photo

Joseph Blase

Joseph Blase is a professor of educational administration at the University of Georgia. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 1980 from Syracuse University, his research has focused on school reform, transformational leadership, the micropolitics of education, principal-teacher relationships, and the work lives of teachers. His work concentrating on school-level micropolitics received the 1988 Davis Memorial Award given by the University Council for Educational Administration, and his coauthored article published in the Journal of Educational Administration won the W. G. Walker 2000 Award for Excellence. In 1999 he was recognized as an elite scholar, one of the 50 Most Productive and Influential Scholars of Educational Administration in the world. Blase’s books include The Politics of Life in Schools: Power, Conflict, and Cooperation (winner of the 1994 Critic’s Choice Award sponsored by the American Education Studies Association), Bringing Out the Best in Teachers (1994, 2000, 2008); The Micropolitics of Educational Leadership (1995), Empowering Teachers (1994, 2000), Democratic Principals in Action (1995), The Fire Is Back (1997), Handbook of Instructional Leadership (1998, 2004), Breaking the Silence (2003), and Teachers Bringing Out the Best in Teachers (2006). His recent research (coauthored with Jo Blase and Du Fengning, 2008), a national study of principal mistreatment of teachers, appeared in The Journal of Educational Administration. Professor Blase has published over 120 academic articles, chapters, and books.
Dana Yon Phillips photo

Dana Yon Phillips

Dana Yon Phillips, Ed.D. is a middle school administrator and former elementary school administrator in Georgia, part-time Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia, and part-time Instructor for Piedmont College. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Georgia in 2004, where she focused on shared governance, instructional leadership, and teacher leadership. She now teaches organizational leadership, change for school improvement, and ethics at the University of Georgia.

During 1999 and 2000, Phillips produced and was host of School Talk, a weekly cable television program exploring educational trends and issues with school leaders. In 2003 she delivered a paper on the topic of “parental involvement” at the National School Reform Conference. Prior to her return to the field of education in 2000, Dr. Phillips owned and operated a nursing home management company for 26 years. Recognized as a service-oriented organizational leader, Dr. Phillips also provided management consulting services and conducted numerous seminars and workshops on topics such as staff development and training, operational policies and procedures, and federal and state long-term health care requirements for trade associations and nursing home and assisted living facilities. She is author of Policies and Procedures for Long-term Health Care Facilities (1993) and Manual of Staff Orientation and Training for Long-Term Health Care Facilities (1994).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


About the Authors


The Book in Brief

Foreword by William Greenfield

Foreword by Joseph Hunter

Foreword by Susan Usry

List of Figures

Part I. Administrative Leadership for School Improvement: Action Foci of High-Performing Principals

Introduction to Part One of the Handbook

What Is a High-Performing School?

What Is a High-Performing Principal?

The New Challenge of Leadership for School Improvement

1. Learning: Principals of High-Performing Schools Are Models of Learning

How Did They Learn?

What Did They Learn? High-Performing Principals Learned


Tips and Suggestions

2. Modeling: Principals of High-Performing Schools Are Exemplars of the Field’s Standards of Leadership

Activities for Becoming an Exemplar of Leadership Standards


Tips and Suggestions

3. Focusing: Principals of High-Performing Schools Focus on School and Teacher Practices Associated With Increased Student Achievement

Jigsaw Activity for School- and Teacher-Level Practices Influencing Student Achievement


Tips and Suggestions

4. Leading for Achievement: Principals of High-Performing Schools Lead in Ways That Have Maximum Impact on Student Achievement


Tips and Suggestions

5. Improving Instruction: Principals of High-Performing Schools Work With Teachers on the School Mission: They Engage in On-Going, Collaborative Study of School-Wide Instructional Improvement Efforts


Tips and Suggestions

6. Developing Systems: Principals of High-Performing Schools Use a “Systems development” Approach to Dispatch With Managerial Responsibilities and to Support Instructional Aspects of Work

Use a Systems Development Approach to Create Self-Sustaining Structures

Use Time Wisely

Plan Well

Manage the Budget Efficiently and Effectively

Manage the Physical Plant Efficiently and Effectively

Prevent Problems from Begetting Problems


Tips and Suggestions

7. Empowering: Principals of High-Performing Schools Take an Empowering (Team) Approach to Almost Everything and Create “Learning Communities” in Their School

The Leadership Team


Tips and Suggestions

8. Hiring: Principals of High-Performing Schools Hire Strong People for Administrative, Faculty, and Staff Positions

Know Who You Need

Involve Everyone in Hiring

Establish Hiring Protocols

Correct Hiring Mistakes


Tips and Suggestions

9. Using Data: Principals of High-Performing Schools Insist on Using Data to Inform Instructional Decisions

Questions About Data Use in Your School

Additional Helpful Materials About Data Use


Tips and Suggestions

Suggested Reading for Further Learning: Administrative Leadership

Part II. Instructional Leadership for School Improvement: Goals of High-Performing Principals

Introduction to Part Two

10. Teaching and Learning: To Maintain a Focus on Teaching and Learning


Tips and Suggestions

Culture: To Develop a School-wide Culture That Supports and Sustains Instruction


Tips and Suggestions

12. Dialogue: To Establish a Context for Dialogue About Instruction

Faculty Meetings: A Sea Change

Encouraging Frequent Teacher Dialogue about Collaboration

A Note About the Need for Common Planning Time Among Teachers


Tips and Suggestions

13. Research: To Reference Research-Based Instructional Elements When Observing Instruction and When Talking With Teachers

Element #1: Factors Influencing Achievement

Element #2: Planning for Instruction

Element #3: Standards-Based Instructional Units

Element #4: Components of Instruction

Element #5: Student Abilities That Teaching Strategies Should Enhance

Element #6: Effective Teaching Practices Across Content Areas

Element #7: Ordering and Pacing of Content and Instructional Strategies

Element #8: Addressing Diverse Students’ Needs

Element #9: Use of Technology in Instruction

Element #10: Models of Teaching

Element #11: Classroom Management (Discipline)

Considering the Value of Walk-Throughs

Considering Formal Evaluations


Tips and Suggestions

14. Development: To Provide Effective, On-Going Professional Learning, a.k.a., Staff Development

A Professional Learning Community

The Right Approach

Going Further

A Multitude of Learning Opportunities

A Good Use of Money

The National Staff Development Council Standards

The Special Case of Empowering and Developing Special Education Teachers

Professional Learning for Administrative Teams


Tips and Suggestions

Suggested Reading for Further Learning: Instructional Leadership

Part III. Conclusion: Systems Thinking and the Systems Development Approach in Educational Leadership

Introduction to Part Three

15. The Importance of Systems Thinking and the “Systems Development” Approach for School Improvement

Using the 4C’s Model as a Diagnostic and Prescriptive Tool


16. Afterword: A Summary and A Note About Preparation for Educational Leadership


Research Method and Procedures




Price: $45.95
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.