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The Answer Is in the Room - Book Cover

The Answer Is in the Room

How Effective Schools Scale Up Student Success
By: Alan M. Blankstein

A Joint Publication With The HOPE Foundation

Best-selling author Alan M. Blankstein shares the results of his research with top educational experts and describes a five-step process of finding and scaling excellent practices within learning communities.

Full description

The Answer Is in the Room - Book Cover
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412998765
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2011
  • Page Count: 144
  • Publication date: June 01, 2012

Price: $33.95

Price: $33.95
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"The answer is not always in the room. Sometimes it's in the room next door. But help is often much closer than you think. Drawing on inspirational yet practical examples of health reform in Vietnam, courageous change in South Africa, and authentic improvements that get results in a range of American schools, Alan Blankstein demonstrates that throwing random reforms into the room through the door, or shouting at people in the room from up on the roof, are not ways that make positive change happen. Blankstein knows his people, knows his schools and knows what brings about positive, professionally driven change. This brilliant little book not only shows what works, it dignifies the overly criticized professionals who make it all happen."
—Andy Hargreaves, Author and Thomas More Brennan Chair in Education
Boston College, MA

"When the well-being of children is at stake, people of all stripes are called upon to put aside personal agendas, find the humility and courage to do what is right, and let go of what has not worked. This book provides compelling reasons for doing this in education, as well as a powerful new methodology for success and a pathway to a brighter future."
—Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
1GOAL Education for All, Cape Town, South Africa

"With tools and techniques provided in Alan Blankstein's new book, educators have the potential to uncover the answers to complex issues in education."
—Deborah Childs-Bowen, Assistant Professor
Alliance for Leadership in Education, Samford University, Birmingham, AL

Learn the secrets of successful schools

Citing wisdom from top educational experts and building on what is already working, award-winning author Alan M. Blankstein offers tools for finding excellence in schools, scaling these practices across learning communities, and transforming low-performing schools into high-performing schools. His five-step process includes:

  • Identifying and assessing excellence
  • Creating an action plan
  • Assigning resources such as time, materials, etc.
  • Transferring excellence in the form of knowledge and skills throughout the school and district
  • Sustaining the excellence

Also included are effective strategies for sustaining student gains, closing gaps within and between schools, building leader capacity, and increasing community commitment.

Listen to Alan's podcast interview for the Future of Education series.

Key features

  • Offers a process to identify and successfully scale excellent practices that are already underway in the learning community, including building collective purpose and commitment, identifying and assessing excellence, creating an action plan, transferring knowledge and skills throughout the school and district, and sustaining the excellence.
  • Includes tools to help educators implement this scaling process, including worksheets, checklists, strategies and samples.
  • Filled with numerous cases and stories of schools and districts that have successfully scaled student success across learning communities to serve as compelling examples of this process in action.


Alan M. Blankstein photo

Alan M. Blankstein

Award-winning author and educational leader, Alan Blankstein served for 25 years as President of the HOPE Foundation, which he founded and whose honorary chair is Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A former “high-risk” youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher. He worked for Phi Delta Kappa, March of Dimes, and Solution Tree, which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years while launching Professional Learning Communities beginning in the late 1980s. He is the author of the best-selling book Failure Is Not an Option®: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools, which received the Book of the Year award from Learning Forward. Alan is Senior Editor, lead contributor, and/or author of 18 books, including Excellence Through Equity with Pedro Noguera,. He also authored some 20 articles in leading education print including Education Week, Educational Leadership, The Principal, and Executive Educator. Alan has provided keynote presentations and workshops for virtually every major U.S. Ed Org, and throughout the UK, Africa, and the Middle East. Alan has served on the Harvard International Principals Centers advisory board, and the Jewish Child Care Agency, where he once was a youth in residence.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents



About the Author


Figures and Tools to Help Answer the Questions in the Room

1. Why We Can't Wait to Scale Student Success!

The Power of Positive Deviance Saves Millions of Children in Vietnam

Applying Positive Deviance to Education

Good News for Scaling Student Success

About This Book and Chapter

Some Common Core Principles of Networking and PD

Challenges to Scaling Success in US Education

The Moral and Economic Imperative for Change is Now

What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Next?

The Big Question


2. A Process to CREATE Sustained Student Success

A Movement is Born in U.S. Education – and Exported to Other Nations

The Catalyst to Change

The CREATE Process

The Advantages of the CREATE Process

The Big Question


3. The Courage to Commit to the Work

Defining Courage

Commitment: A Pillar of Courage

Building a Collective Commitment to Scale Up Student Success

7 Tools for Constructing a Large-Scale Community Commitment

Cultivating the Community: Qualities of the Courageous Leader

The Big Question


4. Resources are in the Room

The Most Valuable Resource: Focused Commitment Over Time

The Second Major Resource: Patience and Urgency

Third Major Resource: Steering Committee

How to Get TIME to Collaborate

Getting Down to the Details

The Big Question


5. Taking Stock of Excellence in the Room

Is there Excellence or Positive Deviance to be Found?

Defining Excellence is Done Twice by the Lead Teams

Developing a Community to Question the Answer: Language, Purpose and Norms

Improving Instructional Practice: Change the Methods and You Will Change the Outcomes

Change the Methods and You Will Change the Outcomes

The Big Question


6. An Action Plan for Engaging the Entire Learning Community

Developing a Common Language for the Action Plan

Key Challenges to Address in the Action Plan

Reentry Plans to Engage the Larger School Community, Build Trust and Transparency

Developing SMART Goals That the School Community Wants to Achieve

Successful Implementation of SMART Goals

Identifying and Assessing Excellence

Next Steps

The Big Question


7. Transference of Knowledge and Skills Throughout the Learning Community

Transferring Knowledge and Skills within the School

Transferring Knowledge and Skills Through-out the District

What Are Tuning Protocols?

The Big Question


8. Embedding the New Learning in the Culture for Sustainability

Three Pillars of Embedding the Process in the School Culture

The Big Question


Tools to Help Answer the Questions in the Room

Tool A: Writing an Instructional SMART Goal Worksheet

Tool B: Strategies for Making Time

Tool C: Agreement of PURPOSE Worksheet

Tool D: Creating Group Norms: Facilitator Guide Example

Tool E: An Example Participant Handout for Creating Group Norms

Tool F: Steps of "Instructional Learning Walks"

Tool G: Indicators of Quality Instructional Learning Walks Observation Sheet




Price: $33.95
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.