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Developing Successful K-8 Schools

Developing Successful K-8 Schools
A Principal's Guide

Edited by:

June 2009 | 152 pages | Corwin
The return to K-8 schools is an opportunity to step back, be purposeful and thoughtful, and plan for what we want for young persons in our schools. This book provides the vision and the tools we need to plan and build something better in Grades K-8'- Heather MacTaggart, Executive Director, Classroom Connections, Ontario, Canada

The K-8 model for school design has gained popularity with educators and parents for demonstrating higher student achievement, fewer behavioural problems, and increased cost effectiveness. This comprehensive guide provides school leaders with the tools to develop and implement a sound plan for creating an exemplary K-8 school or transitioning successfully to the K-8 approach.

Developing Successful K-8 Schools offers strategies for designing curriculum aligned to state standards, promoting 21st-century skills, planning instruction, and evaluating an effective K-8 programme. Readers will also find:

- Ten proven instructional methods for meeting the learning needs of K-8 students, plus examples that illustrate how to apply the strategies and deal with problems that might arise

- Student assessment techniques and record-keeping procedures

- Implementation tools such as checklists, activity charts, and much more.

This resource is ideal for school leaders who want to articulate a clear vision for a K-8 school and stay on the cutting edge of educational excellence and student achievement.

List of Figures
About the Author
1. Here Comes the K-8 School
Origins of the New K-8 School

Rationale for Changing the School Design

Bedrock Beliefs About Educating Children

An Initial Look at the New K-8 Program We Need

Some Issues Associated With K-8 Education

Questions for Study Groups



2. Using Standards to Define K-8 Programs
Origin of Standards

National Standards for K-8 Education

Subject Matter Standards in K-8 Schools

Extending Standards in K-8 Schools

Learning Targets for Standards-Based School

Managing Standards-Based Programs

Nurturing Intellectual Competence

Transfer of Knowledge

Questions for Study Groups



3. Using Skills to Create the Seamless Curriculum
Two Conceptions of Ends

The Curriculum Design Tasks

What Kind of Skills Should be Taught?

Sample Tasks for Each Learner

Collaborative Emphasis

A Final Word About the Subjects

Questions for Study Groups



4. New Instructional Patterns for the K-8 School
General Design

Organization Patterns

Modifying Standards-Based Curriculum

New Uses of School Buildings

New Deployment of Teachers

New Ways of Assessing Students

New Patterns for Involving Parents

Questions for Study Groups



5. A Return on Investment




Questions for Study Groups



6. Implementing the K-8 Program
The Unfolding Process

Prerequisite Conditions

Acquiring Resources


Putting It All Together

Questions for Study Groups



7. Validating Progress
Concept Development

Mission Statements

Curriculum Design

Instructional Features



Facilities and Transportation


Resource A. Summary of K-8 Research Findings
Resource B. Standards Organizations
Resource C. Instructional Resource Sites on the Internet
Resource D. Teaching Through the Internet
Resource E. Glossary

“This book provides a clear and concise road map for turning the current trend towards K-8 schools to the advantage of children. The return to K-8 schools is an opportunity to step back, be purposeful and thoughtful, and plan for what we want for young persons in our schools. This book provides the vision and the tools we need to plan and build something better in Grades K-8.”

Heather MacTaggart, Executive Director
Classroom Connections, Ontario, Canada

“As a middle school principal, I find many of these arguments compelling. This book makes a major contribution to the field of education. School leaders developing K-8 schools will find this book helpful.”

Ed Sansom, Principal
Seven Oak Middle School, Lebanon, OR

"A valuable resource for all educators. It not only provides a timeline of past mistakes and successes we’ve made educating students of these ages, but goes further to provide a prescription for future schools that emphasizes developmental levels, content, skill-building, and involvement of students, parents, teachers, and administrators.”

Marie Blum, Superintendent
Canaseraga Central School District, NY
Key features
  • Provides multiple strategies for making the case for a K–8 school, re-training teachers, connecting the elementary and middle school content curriculum, new record-keeping procedures, and dealing with an ever-increasing range of student performance
  • Offers concrete guidance in developing a seamless K–8 curriculum, using a four-tier developmental model aligned to the stages of human development, and aligning the curriculum to standards
  • Presents examples that illustrate how to apply the strategies, and how to deal with problems that arise
  • Provides designing tools such as checklists, implementation schedules, summary charts, and resources for K–8 funding to assist the reader in planning for change
  • Offers end-of-chapter discussion questions designed for use by book study groups
  • Includes additional resources such as a glossary and information about teaching via the Internet

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781412966177
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