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From School Improvement to Sustained Capacity

From School Improvement to Sustained Capacity
The Parallel Leadership Pathway

Foreword by Andy Hargreaves

April 2011 | 240 pages | Corwin
The definitive approach to achieving long-term school improvement

Will your school improvement plan stand the test of time? Bestselling author Frank Crowther makes a compelling case for capacity-building and parallel leadership as the keys to ensuring sustainable improvement. Based on a recent research study that examined how school leaders collaborated to enhance quality in their workplaces, this book:

- Outlines six research-based dynamics for accomplishing lasting results

- Provides real-life examples of successful parallel leadership among administrators, teachers, and students

- Demonstrates effective capacity building in a variety of settings with case studies and simulations

Everything you need to build a successful and sustainable plan that is rooted in enduring principles is right here, complete with practical examples and proven tools.

List of Tables
List of Figures
Foreword by Andy Hargreaves
About the Author
1. The COSMIC C-B Approach: A Prelude

COSMIC C-B in Brief

The School Research Origins of COSMIC C-B

The Phase A Research

The Phase B Research

The Phase C Research

Concluding Comment

2. The First C-B Dynamic: Committing to Revitalization

A Snapshot of Committing to Revitalization: Carmichael Secondary College

Committing to Revitalization: Deepening Our Understanding

Leadership for Committing to Revitalization

Thinking Outside the Square: Al Gore and Committing to Revitalization


Committing to Revitalization: Building Personal Capacity

3. The Second C-B Dynamic: Organizational Diagnosis and Coherence

A Snapshot of Organizational Diagnosis and Coherence: Bellwood Secondary School

Organizational Diagnosis and Coherence: Deepening Our Understanding

Organizational Coherence as Structural Alignment

Organizational Coherence as Cognitive Alignment

Organizational Coherence as Structural and Cognitive Alignment

Leadership for Organizational Diagnosis and Coherence

Thinking “Outside-the-Square”: Organizational Coherence When Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Venus


Organizational Diagnosis and Coherence: Building Personal Capacity

4. The Third C-B Dynamic: Seeking New Heights

A Snapshot of Seeking New Heights: Carlo Maria Carafa High School

Seeking New Heights: Deepening Our Understanding

Leadership for Seeking New Heights


Seeking New Heights: Building Personal Capacity

5. The Fourth C-B Dynamic: Micro-Pedagogical Deepening

A Snapshot of Micro-Pedagogical Deepening: Greenfield Elementary School

Thinking Outside the Square: The Grameen Way and Micro Pedagogical Deepening


Micro-Pedagogical Deepening – Building Personal Capacity

6. The Fifth C-B Dynamic: Invoking Reaction

A Snapshot of Invoking Reaction: Eacham High School

Invoking Reaction: Deepening Our Understanding

Leadership for Invoking Reaction

Thinking Outside the Square: Médecins Sans Frontières and Invoking Reaction


Invoking Reaction: Building Personal Capacity

7. The Sixth C-B Dynamic: Consolidating Success

A Snapshot of Consolidating Success: All Hallows Catholic Elementary School

Consolidating Success: Deepening Our Understanding

The Systemic Perspective on Consolidating Success

The Metanoia Perspective on Consolidating Success

The Culture Perspective on Consolidating Success

The Leadership Perspective on Consolidating Success

Consolidating Success: Steve “Crocodile Hunter”


Consolidating Success: Building Personal Capacity

8. Next Steps Along the Parallel Leadership C-B Pathway

COSMIC C-B in Retrospect and Prospect

Parallel Leadership in Retrospect and Prospect


Appendix A: The IDEAS Project
Appendix B: The Research Design and Methodology

"Our ability to build capacity in order to ensure student learning is paramount. This book takes us step-by-step through the process of building capacity, giving practical examples and offering simulations that any school leader can use to improve student learning."

David G. Hodgdon, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
SAU #38, Swanzey, NH

“Crowther and his colleagues provide the most important volume to date about the critical place of “capacity-building’ in the role of sustaining school improvement. They have also crafted a masterful, and eminently useful, guide to reshape leadership in the service of sustained success.”

Joseph Murphy, Frank W. Mayburn Chair
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

"We yearn for sustainability, for without it, the future is bleak indeed. Frank Crowther and his associates have given us a uniquely integrated approach to sustainability. The ideas for meaningful work, questions for inquiry, case studies—in both educational and noneducational settings—and vivid simulations provide an accessible roadmap."

Linda Lambert, Ed.D., Author and Professor Emeritus
California State University, East Bay

"Frank Crowther and his associates show us deeply and clearly how to build the foundation for sustainability. They take us on a marvelous journey that weaves together a powerful conceptual framework, concrete snapshots of schools using the ideas, and tools and activities for getting there yourself. Engagement, clarity, and impact are at the core of this terrific book."

Michael Fullan, Professor and Author
University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Centre for Teacher Development

"A very detailed and informative book that will assist beginning and seasoned administrators in organizing and restructuring their schools to meet the needs of the 21st century."

Belinda J. Raines, Principal
Northwestern High School, Detroit, MI

"A fine survey on achieving long-term school improvement, from an author who makes a case for capacity building and parallel leadership as keys to sustainable improvement."

James A. Cox, Editor in Chief
Midwest Book Review, August 2011
Key features
  • Goes beyond the idea of capacity building as a theoretical, functional framework to demonstrate how it can be a practical, attainable process for schools
  • Focuses on six key dynamics of successful school capacity building—committing to revitalization, organizational diagnosis and coherence, seeking new heights, micro-pedagogical deepening, invoking reaction, and consolidating success—and illustrates how parallel leadership can be used as a strategy and tool to realize these dynamics
  • Provides elementary and secondary school cases in each chapter to illustrate key chapter concepts and research findings
  • Each chapter contains exercises for parallel leadership and successful school capacity-building
  • Includes an appendix with full details on the research study that informed the book

Purchasing options

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

contact corwin

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ISBN: 9781412986946

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

For instructors

Please select a format:

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