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Getting Serious About the System
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Getting Serious About the System
A Fieldbook for District and School Leaders

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June 2012 | 160 pages | Corwin
For many districts, the improvement process can seem like trying to nail Jello to the wall. This fieldbook shows how to avoid a haphazard approach by focusing on all aspects of the system and specific issues that have most impact upon student achievement. This multidimensional process also entails increasing the competencies of everyone involved and implementing solutions districtwide. The authors outline a proven framework and offer step-by-step guidance for addressing the essential components and competencies of the local educational system. Key strategies include:

Concentrating on aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to state and Common Core State Standards

Working on the underlying issues and people that impact the system

Gathering support from all staff members to maximize time, resources, and energy.

 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction to Systemic Improvement
Systems Thinking

 
Systems Thinking in Education

 
Working Systemically: A Process Grounded in Research

 
Testing and Refining the Working Systemically Approach

 
The Working Systemically Approach: Levels, Components, and Competencies

 
What It Takes

 
Summary

 
References

 
 
1. The "Works" of Working Systemically
Levels of the System

 
Components of the System

 
Competencies for Working Systemically

 
The Working Systemically Approach in Action

 
 
2. Phase I: Understanding Systemic Improvement
Step 1. Study the Approach

 
Step 2. Collect and Analyze Preliminary Data

 
Step 3. Present the Approach at the School Level

 
Step 4. Commit to Systemic Improvement

 
 
3. Phase II: Analyzing the System
Step 1. Form the District and School Leadership Teams

 
Step 2. Begin the Comprehensive Needs Assessment

 
Step 3. Conduct a Gap Analysis

 
Step 4. Begin the Process at the School Level

 
Step 5. Formulate Problem Statements

 
Step 6. Describe the Ideal State

 
Step 7. Review System Initiatives

 
Step 8. Continue the Process at the School Level

 
 
4. Phase III: Planning Action
Step 1. Investigate Research-Based Practices

 
Step 2. Explore the Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle (PTLC)

 
Step 3. Review Progress Made to Date and Existing Plan

 
Step 4. Develop a District Improvement Plan

 
Step 5. Formalize and Communicate the District Improvement Plan

 
Step 6. Develop School Improvement Plans

 
 
5. Phase IV: Taking Action & Monitoring Progress
Step 1. Implement and Monitor the Improvement Plans

 
Step 2. Provide Continuing Leadership for the Improvement Work

 
Step 3. Address Unique Challenges as They Arise

 
 
6. Phase V: Assessing & Reflecting on Outcomes
Step 1. Analyze and Reflect on Evidence of Implementation and Impact

 
Step 2. Decide on a Focus for Continuing the Improvement Work

 
Step 3. Recognize Work, Progress, and Accomplishments

 
 
Bibliography Matrix
 
Index

Supplements

"This book is a critical roadmap to district and school transformation. It takes the guess work out of determining where improvement is needed."

Freda Hicks, Assistant Principal
Grady Brown Elementary School, Hillsborough, NC

"The working systemically model provides a research-based approach to school improvement. The clearly defined step-by-step approach will assist any school or district in its improvement efforts. My professional practice has been significantly changed as a result of my direct experience implementing SEDL’s working systemically approach."

Sally Bennett, Curriculum Coordinator
East Poinsett County School District, Lepanto, AR

"This book not only describes processes and strategies but provides the tools needed for those leading the process. This is a process that a campus or district leader could use that would examine and use the resources they already have and is not another program they need to buy."

Cynthia Stone, Director of School Improvement
South San Antonio ISD, San Antonio, TX

"The vignettes pulled everything together and increased my understanding of the phases. The tips for building relationship between team members and dealing with sensitive issues are also very helpful."

Debbie Langford, School Counselor
West Hills Elementary STEM Academy; Bremerton, WA

"This is the most comprehensive approach to improving a school system that I have seen in one text. I would absolutely recommend this book to my colleagues."

Diana Pratt, Assistant HS Principal (retired)
Auburn, WA

"This book challenges leaders to focus on what is most important and identifies the improvement efforts required to achieve dramatic results in the classrooms. It is brimming with ideas on how to transform education systemically and provides teachers, administrators, and leaders with a comprehensive resource to improve student achievement."

Debra Paradowski, Associate Principal
Arrowhead Union High School; Hartland, WI

“The authors provide decades of high-quality professional development and hands-on work with schools and school districts. I appreciate and applaud their efforts to translate research on data use, professional development, leadership, and collaboration into tools and processes useful to educators.”

Victoria Bernhardt, Executive Director, Education for the Future
California State University, Chico

The book was less about systems theory than I hoped.

Dr Cade Spaulding
Communication Division, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point
October 14, 2013

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ISBN: 9781452205113

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