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The NEW School Rules

The NEW School Rules
6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools

January 2018 | 216 pages | Corwin

Actions to increase effectiveness of schools in a rapidly changing world

To stay relevant and impactful, organizations from the military to government agencies to businesses must constantly evolve. Organizations that cling to rigid structures designed for less dynamic times are stuck in routines that don’t get results.  Instead of withstanding a structure built for the industrial age, how can we empower our schools to be nimble and equipped to prepare their students for this new world?

The NEW School Rules expands cutting-edge organizational and management strategies into an operating system for responsive schools. These principles and practices provide the framework for transitioning rigid, slow-moving institutions into environments of continuous innovation.

  • 6 simple rules create a unified vision of responsiveness among educators
  • Real life case studies illustrate responsive techniques implemented in a variety of educational demographics
  • 15 experiments guide school and district leaders toward increased responsiveness in their faculty and staff

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About the Authors
Introduction: Why We Need New Organizational Practices for Thriving Schools and Students Today
The Promise of Responsiveness

How Responsive Organizational Thinking Evolved

How This Book Is Designed

A Note About Who This Book Is For

CHAPTER 1. PLANNING: Plan for Change, Not Perfection
When Plans Are More Important Than Our Purpose

Planning Without Learning

Control Is Confused With Planning

Build Roadmaps, Not Manuals

Use Cadences and Pivot Points, Not Just Schedules and Deadlines

Encourage Testing, Experiments, and Responsiveness

EXPERIMENT 1. Define a Clear Purpose

EXPERIMENT 2. Delineate Between What You Know and What You Anticipate

CHAPTER 2. TEAMING: Build Trust and Allow Authority to Spread
We’re Dragged Down by the Slow and Unwieldy Legacy of Hierarchies

Land Grabs Are Still Too Common

When Everyone and No One Is Responsible

Clarify the Purpose of Every Team . . . and Revisit It

Build Trust and Address Tensions

Develop Effective Team Habits That Support Distributed Authority

Embrace Dynamic Team Structures That Evolve and End

EXPERIMENT 3. Offer Feedback as Data

EXPERIMENT 4. Team Meeting Protocol

CHAPTER 3. MANAGING ROLES: Define the Work Before You Define the People
Job Descriptions Get in the Way

Role Overwhelm (and Underwhelm)

Put a Role’s Purpose Before Politics

Separate Roles for Personal Clarity and Smarter Decisions

Value Each Voice as a Human Sensor

EXPERIMENT 5. Role Mapping

EXPERIMENT 6. The One-Question Technique

EXPERIMENT 7. Guidelines for Being an Effective Sensor

CHAPTER 4. DECISION MAKING: Aim for “Safe Enough to Try” Instead of Consensus
The Cycle of Meeting Paralysis

The Risks of Delayed Decision Making

The False Promise of Consensus . . . or Defaulting to a Decider-in-Chief

Get Aligned and Clear Out the Noise

Decide on Things You Can Decide On: Make Decisions Smaller

Fail Forward: Approach Planning and Big Decisions as Decision Cycles

EXPERIMENT 8. Three Language Shifts for Decision-Making Discussions

EXPERIMENT 9. Protocol for a Starting Proposal

EXPERIMENT 10. Default to Yes and Defend No—One Decision at a Time

CHAPTER 5. SHARING INFORMATION: Harness the Flow and Let Information Go
A False Sense of Transparency

Information Has an Expiration Date

Accept Ambiguity

Think of Others: Apply the Reverse Precautionary Principle

Ask for What You Need: Apply the Lesson of Self-Advocacy

Plan Communication as a Process, Not an Event

EXPERIMENT 11. Say “Thank You” for Asking

EXPERIMENT 12. The 3 × 3 Rule

“Best Practices” Are Inhibiting Learning and Innovation

There Isn’t Learning Without Listening

The Mindset of Efficiency

Use the Physical Environment to Build a Learning Environment

Promote Optimal Zones of Learning (for Adults as Well, Not Just Kids)

Develop a Learning Mindset: The Stance of Agent, Not Subject

Face the Truth

EXPERIMENT 13. Start a Reflection Practice

EXPERIMENT 14. Create a Habit of Learning Every Day

EXPERIMENT 15. Personal Portfolios

A Responsive Roadmap: Beginning the Shift to New Organizational Practices
Three Dimensions of Change

A Plan for Implementation

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

List of New Rules and Lessons

List of Experiments


The NEW School Rules recognizes that adults in the educational system have to learn, evolve, and grow if students are to succeed in an ever-changing world. I wish I’d had this book years ago!

Dale Erquiaga, President/CEO
Communities in Schools

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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ISBN: 9781506352763

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

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