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Beyond School Improvement
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Beyond School Improvement
The Journey to Innovative Leadership

Edited by:

Foreword by Rick Stiggins



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

"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

Prepare students to succeed in a changing world!

Because the world is constantly evolving, school improvement alone is not enough to prepare students for success in the 21st century. Educators also need to be innovators who nurture a culture of both improvement and innovation.

Based on complexity theory, systems thinking, innovation theory, and years of practical expertise, Beyond School Improvement prepares school leaders to connect with the new science on change and provides skills, practices, and tools for creating and leading dynamic educational systems. The authors discuss four elements of change—dissonance, identity, information, and order—and define five essential practices for leaders:

  • Holding courageous conversations
  • Embracing dissonance
  • Creating context
  • Changing your field of vision
  • Letting ideas collide

Self-assessment activities, team conversation starters, stories, and examples support leaders as they balance improvement and innovation 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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