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From Good Schools to Great Schools
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From Good Schools to Great Schools
What Their Principals Do Well

Edited by:

Foreword by Marge Hobbs



February 2008 | 184 pages | Corwin

"These successful principals move beyond platitudes and optimistic denial and learn to face the facts of what is necessary to improve schools—then they do it. These star principals learn to work with teachers and their union rather than around them."
—Charles Taylor Kerchner, Hollis P. Allen Professor
Claremont Graduate University

"Links Collins's work to success in the school setting. The examples of school leaders who were able to lead effective, systemic change are powerful."
—Brenda Dean, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Hamblen County Department of Education, TN

Make the leap from ordinary to stellar school leadership!

"What can I do to make a difference and lift my school to excellence?" From Good Schools to Great Schools answers this question for principals and considers other critical issues in a detailed examination of school leadership.

Based on the concepts from the national bestseller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't, this guidebook identifies nine characteristics of high-performing "Level 5" school leaders through:

  • In-depth discussions and detailed case studies of six "star" school principals
  • A comparison of principals and corporate leaders, including qualities exclusive to school leadership
  • Reflection questions for more effective application of leadership principles
  • Templates, implementation tips, and additional resources

Correlated with ISLLC standards, this comprehensive resource is a valuable resource for aspiring and practicing school administrators, site leaders, and supervisors.


 
List of Figures and Tables
 
Foreword by Marge Hobbs
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. We Know What to Do, so Why Do We Fail?
The "Good to Great" Research Project  
Leadership Characteristics of Level 5 Executives  
Leadership Behaviors of Level 5 Executives  
Two Behaviors From the Collins Study  
Great School Executives Build Relationships  
The School Principals in Our Study  
Leadership Qualities Exhibited  
Reflection  
 
2. First, Build Relationships
A Behavior Different From the Behaviors of the Level 5 Executive  
Mr. Bond and Field Elementary School  
Highly Successful Principals and Building Relationships  
Comparison Principals and Building Relationships  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
3. Exercise Your Professional Will, but Stay Humble
Issues With Identifying Personal Humility in School Principals  
Personal Humility: The Evidence Differs  
Shy and Self-Effacing Leaders  
Unreserved and Enthusiastic Leaders  
Comparison Principals  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
4. Credit Others, Accept the Blame
Additional Data for Compelling Modesty  
Evidence for Sustainability of Greatness  
Evidence for Compelling Modesty  
Mr. Unpretentious and Bay View Elementary School  
Highly Successful Principals and Compelling Modesty  
Comparison Principals and Compelling Modesty  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
5. Be Ambitious First for the School's Success
Ambition for the Success of the School Is Key  
Ms. Aspiration and Mission Elementary School  
Highly Successful Principals and Ambition for the School's Success  
Comparison Principals and Ambition for the School's Success  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
6. Resolve to Do What Needs Doing . . . Then Do It!
Application of Unwavering Resolve to Schools  
Ms. Persevere and Mountain High Elementary School  
Comparison Principals and Resolve  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
7. Get the Right People on the Bus
School Leaders' Difficulties in Getting the Right People  
An Example of Getting the Right People  
Highly Successful Principals and "First Who . . . Then What"  
Comparison Principals and "First Who . . . Then What"  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
8. Confront the Brutal Facts
Schools Face Challenges  
Brutal Facts Tackled by the Principals in Our Study  
Highly Successful Principals and Confronting the Brutal Facts  
Comparison Principals and Confronting the Brutal Facts  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
9. Know What Drives Your Educational Engine and Be Passionate About It
Academics Take Issue  
Our Term: Educational Engine  
Mr. Focus and Pines Elementary School  
Highly Successful Principals and the Hedgehog Concept  
Comparison Principals and the Hedgehog Concept  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
10. Build a Culture of Discipline
The Concept Is Not New  
Difficulties in Achieving a Culture of Discipline  
Ms. Discipline and Eagle Elementary School  
Highly Successful Principals and a Culture of Discipline  
Comparison Principals and a Culture of Discipline  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
11. Know Commonalities and Differences Between Public Schools and the Private Sector
Disparities Between Public Schools and the Private Sector  
What We Have Learned From the Research on Leadership  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Principals  
 
12. Support Research-Based Principal Preparation
The ISLLC Standards  
The Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning  
In Search of Excellence  
Beware of Business Norms  
Administrator Preparation Program Reform  
A Final Comment  
Reflection  
Suggestions for Architects of Principal Preparation Programs  
 
Resource A: Research Methodology
 
Resource B: Interview Participant Selection
 
Resource C: Principal Interview Questions Derived From Collins' (2001) CEO Interview Questions and Demographic Questionnaire
 
References
 
Suggested Readings
 
Index

"A useful resource for programs dedicated to training new administrators as well as for principals who want to improve the collaborative cultures of their schools. It will drive the thinking of principals and teachers who are committed to school improvement."

John Pieper, Fifth-Grade Teacher
Webster Stanley Elementary School, Oshkosh, WI

"Lots of food for thought. The ideas and strategies will nudge people in the right direction and help administrators be brave enough to either bring about change or resist change. This would be a good book for a principal study group."

Mary Johnstone, Principal
Rabbit Creek Elementary School, Anchorage, AK

"Links Jim Collins’s work to success in the school setting. The examples of the school leaders who were able to lead effective, systemic change are powerful."

Brenda Dean, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Hamblen County Department of Education, TN

"This book is timely and hits all the hot topics."

Ted Zigler, Professor
University of Cincinnati

"These successful principals move beyond platitudes and optimistic denial and learn to face the facts of what is necessary to improve schools—then they do it. Among other things, these star principals learn to work with their teachers and their union rather than around them."

Charles Taylor Kerchner, Hollis P. Allen Professor
Claremont Graduate University

"The authors present evidence that supports a new paradigm for apprenticing school administrators-one that differs from the traditional model of un-researched best practices and standards. School leaders can use this book to inspire activities that will transform their schools and reframe their professional behaviors."

Sirreadalot.org, March 2008

"From qualities shared by superior schools and leaders to applying leadership principles and school-tested routines, this book is packed with insights."

The Bookwatch, April 2008
Midwest Book Review
Key features

This book applies successful leadership concepts* specifically to school leadership and:

  • Offers additional insight on leadership qualities specific to school leadership that do not appear in for-profit leadership practice
  • Profiles how principals have successfully applied the identified leadership qualities to their practice and school improvement
  • Provides templates, implementation tips, and additional resources

* From Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't by James C. Collins

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ISBN: 9781412948999
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