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School Systems That Learn

Improving Professional Practice, Overcoming Limitations, and Diffusing Innovation

Superintendents Paul Ash and John D'Auria show you how to create synergy between all the educators and students in your district through professional development that improves student learning!

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452271989
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2012
  • Page Count: 208
  • Publication date: January 18, 2013

Price: $40.95

Price: $40.95
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When school systems learn, professional practice improves and student achievement increases

Picture this: Teachers sharing insights and challenges. Principals leading with trust. Central office leaders inspiring and supporting principals. A synergistic learning system that results in all students succeeding.

This practitioner's guide to creating a system-wide learning organization focuses on professional learning as the stimulus to improving student achievement. Experienced superintendents Paul Ash and John D'Auria provide a blueprint to:

  • Improve schools through system-wide professional learning
  • Increase student achievement by instilling a deep-rooted culture of curiosity
  • Bolster faculty and staff morale with trust-building initiatives
  • Align professional development with student-centered district standards

School Systems That Learn shows how professional development in a K-12 district can create synergy between educators and students that results in growth and achievement for all!

"Paul Ash and John D'Auria draw on their deep understanding of school districts to help explain why so many American students are left behind. Their solution—to build the capacity of educators through collaboration and honest reflection—should make their book required reading for anyone who aspires to educational leadership."
—Karin Chenoweth, Co-author of Getting It Done: Leading Academic Success in Unexpected Schools

"This is a carefully developed and immensely practical guide for educators on how to build trust, develop collaborative capacity, and foster leadership at all levels—from the classroom teacher to the superintendent."
—Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School
Author of Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate and Compete in the Knowledge Economy

Key features

(1) Grounded in the idea that system-wide professional learning is the key lever for school improvement and achievement for all students.

(2) Explores four essential drivers that collectively create learning at all levels of the system: a climate of trust; effective leadership at all levels; capacity-building; collaboration.

(3) Unique system-wide perspective: rather than focusing on improvement within a single school, this book explores the characteristics of a K-12 school system working as a learning unit, capable of nimbly responding to change, and focused on meeting the varied needs of all students.

(4) Strong practitioner orientation: one of the authors -- a district superintendent -- implemented the principles of this book in a high-achieving school district in Massachusetts.  The Lexington Public Schools district was acknowledged for it's outstanding Professional Development program in the November 10, 2010 issue of Education Week.

(5) Powerful concluding chapter on whole system change and diffusion of innovation.


Paul B. Ash photo

Paul B. Ash

Dr. Paul B. Ash has served as Superintendent of the Lexington Public Schools since 2005. Previously, he served as the Superintendent of Schools in the Westwood, Massachusetts Public Schools from 1998 to 2005. He has also held the following positions in the Wellesley, Massachusetts Public Schools - Director of Professional Personnel and Staff Development; Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, Finance and Administration; Assistant Superintendent for Personnel and Planning; and Interim Superintendent of Schools. He started his career in education as a chemistry/physics/earth science teacher at the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School, Dover, Massachusetts.

Dr. Ash received the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Boston College, the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, the Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Massachusetts, and the Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has served Boston College as an adjunct faculty member providing instruction in Finance and Facilities Management to masters and doctoral students. He is currently a member of the National Superintendent's Roundtable, and has served on the National Board of Governors for the American Association of School Administrators.

JSD Article: BLUEPRINT for a Learning School System
John D'Auria photo

John D'Auria

John D’Auria, Ed.D, moved from directing the Canton Public Schools as Superintendent to becoming President of Teachers21, a non-profit organization working to ensure that all school-aged children are given an equal opportunity to succeed by endeavoring to provide them with educators who are eminently knowledgeable and qualified to teach them.

In a career that has spanned four decades as a math teacher, guidance counselor, principal and superintendent, Dr. D’Auria has worked with hundreds of school leaders around sharpening the academic focus of school teams, developing a vibrant school culture, and managing conflict in the workplace.

Dr. D’Auria’s research focuses on the ways in which the assumptions that people hold about intelligence significantly influence their learning. His newest book is Ten Lessons in Leadership and Learning (2010). He is also the author of “The DNA of Leadership”—a curriculum for aspiring school leaders in the state’s Leadership Licensure Program—and co-author with Jon Saphier of How To Bring Vision to School Improvement (Research for Better Teaching, 1993). Numerous other articles include “The Superintendent as Teacher,” Phi Delta Kappan Online Edition, Fall, 2009; “A Principal’s Dilemma,” jointly with Matt King in Schools: Studies in Education, University of Chicago Press, Spring, 2009; and “3 Strands Form Strong School Leadership,” jointly with Jon Saphier and Matt King, National Staff Development Council, Spring, 2006. He is a frequent speaker at national and regional educational conferences and has served on The Middle School Curriculum Project based at Education Development Center.

John D’Auria is a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of Boston College, where he majored in mathematics and philosophy; he earned his doctorate in urban educational leadership at the University of Massachusetts.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About the Authors


1. Six Reasons Why School Systems Don’t Educate All Students at High Levels

2. The Four Right Drivers of Change

3. The Importance of Trust

4. Collaboration in All Directions: Elevating the Importance of Teamwork

5. Capacity Building for All Educators

6. Leaders at All Levels

7. Why Building a K-12 Learning School System Is so Difficult

8. Whole School System Change and the Diffusion of Innovation




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.