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Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration

By: Michael Fullan, Mark Edwards

Foreword by Margaret J. Wheatley
A Joint Publication with AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Today’s challenges have led to pessimism amongst education leaders, but spirit work and collaboration exemplified in eight case studies can pave the way to brighter futures though ‘spirit work’, and the science of collaboration.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781071845493
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2021
  • Page Count: 160
  • Publication date: November 02, 2021

Price: $31.95



Spirit is the essence of character—of what it means to be human. Finding hope in the power of collaboration underpinned by ‘spirit work’-- the care and love of students as learners-- Fullan & Edwards capture how some school districts are creating a deep learning environment for all. 

COVID-19, racial inequity, polarizing politics, mass misinformation, and myriad other challenges have made the future of education seem bleaker than ever. Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration speaks directly to leaders' hearts and advocates for the development of two qualities that will bring back hope for the future of education: "spirit work" and the science of collaboration. Spirit work centers love and care for students, staff, and communities as the impetus for creating a positive culture, while collaboration is the vehicle for manifesting that spirit work. Through powerful case studies and vignettes, the authors show how spirit and collaboration represent revolutionary potential for education. Readers will find

  • A lifeline amid overwhelming conditions.
  • Hope for themselves and the future of education
  • Practical ideas for building cohesion throughout school communities

We cannot allow our best advocates for children to be consumed by today’s challenges. Spirit work and collaboration can pave the way to a brighter future.

Key features

Leaders will find:
  • A much-needed lifeline in the midst of overwhelm and exhaustion
  • Hope for themselves and for the future of education
  • Practical ideas for building a stronger sense of cohesion and culture throughout their school community


Michael Fullan photo

Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan currently serves as co-leader of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning global initiative. He is the former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. Prior to his work as an educator, Fullan acted as Special Policy Adviser to Premier Dalton McGuinty in Ontario from 2003 to 2013. Fullan received the Order of Canada in December 2012, as well as five honorary doctorates from various universities around the world. Currently, Fullan and his team focus on system transformation in education across multiple countries. For more information, visit www.michaefullan.ca.

Mark Edwards photo

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards previously served as school superintendent in Danville, Virginia, and in Henrico County, Virginia, where he was named
the Virginia Superintendent of the Year in 2001 and received the Harold McGraw Prize in Education in 2003. He later served as superintendent
of the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina. Edwards was named the North Carolina Superintendent of the Year as well as the AASA National Superintendent of the Year in 2013. He received North Carolina’s prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award in 2013 and the Public School Forum of North Carolina Jay Robinson Education Leadership Award in 2014. He has been recognized as a pioneer in one-to-one computing and as a collaborative leader in public education. Edwards has published three books, Every Child Every Day: A Digital Conversion Model for Student Achievement, Thank You for Your Leadership: The Power of Distributed Leadership in a Digital Conversion Model, and co-authored The Power of Unstoppable Momentum with Michael Fullan.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Margaret J. Wheatley


Part I: The Challenge of the Century: Transforming Learning

Chapter 1: The Prospects for Radical Change

Rapidly Declining Global Trends


Innovation and New Ideas


Chapter 2: Spirit Work

Spirit Work

Spirit Construction


Chapter 3: The Science of Collaboration

The Growth of Collaboration

Collaborative Cultures

The Promise of Collaboration


Part II: Early Signals: Districts in Action

Chapter 4: East Coast Districts (United States) in Action

Ithaca City School District (New York)

Virginia Beach Schools

Rowan-Salisbury School System (North Carolina)


Chapter 5: South Central Districts (United States) in Action

Shelby County Schools (Tennessee)

Jefferson County Public Schools (Kentucky)


Chapter 6: West Coast Districts (United States) in Action

San Ramon Valley Unified School District (California)

Highline Washington School District

Chula Vista Elementary School District (California)


Part III: The Future of Spirit and Collaboration Work

Chapter 7: A New Tomorrow

The Worry List

Could It Be Almost Tomorrow?

System Change: It Is Time for Society to Help

Conclusion: Students as Evolutionary Changemakers




About the Authors



For Instructors

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