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Transforming School Climate and Learning
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Transforming School Climate and Learning
Beyond Bullying and Compliance



June 2011 | 184 pages | Corwin
Creating safe schools from the inside out most educators agree that children learn better in an honoring and respectful culture. They also know that top-down imposed change rarely sticks. In Transforming School Climate and Learning, Bill Preble and Rick Gordon show how to accomplish lasting results by engaging both teachers and students in the five-step SafeMeasures™ process, a collaborative action research model that involves:

1. Establishing a school improvement team that includes teachers and student leaders 2. Collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative school climate data

3. Using data to develop school climate and learning improvement goals

4. Developing a culture that will dramatically improve school climate and student engagement

5. Implementing formative assessment for continuous improvement

This innovative and proven program is advocated by the US Department of Education. Each chapter provides success stories from real schools, strategies and an implementation activity, and book study questions that help all participants transform both their school climate and student learning.

 
Foreword by Raymond J. McNulty
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction: Bringing Our Schools Into Balance
Beyond Bullying, Beyond Compliance

 
Getting Beyond Piecemeal Problem Solving

 
The Rational for This Book: School Climate as a Key to School Safety, Student Motivation, and Academic Achievement

 
Guideposts for School Leaders: Administrators, Teachers, AND Students

 
Organization of the Book

 
Why Read This Book?

 
Students and Teachers as Partners in Transforming School Climate

 
 
1. School Climate: The Heart and Soul of a School
Making Meaningful Improvement in Schools

 
Why Is School Climate Important?

 
School Climate and Effective Schools

 
Essential School Climate Factors

 
We All Want Respectful Schools

 
What Teachers and Students Mean by Respect

 
Beeper Studies: Our Original Research on Respectful Schools

 
The Respect Continuum: A Practical Theory of Respect

 
The Disrespect Side of the Continuum

 
The Respect Side of the Continuum

 
How Schools Use the Respect Continuum

 
Initial Success in One District

 
Looking Beyond Stopping Misbehavior

 
Making It Real: A Real-Life Respectful School

 
Conclusion

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
2. The SafeMeasures Process: A Student-Led, Collaborative Action Research Process
Sarason's Research on School Change

 
Balancing Adult and Student Leadership

 
The SafeMeasures Process: An Overview

 
Bandura's Research on Self-Efficacy

 
Looking Deeply at Collaborative Action Research

 
Emancipatory Research

 
Making It Real: School Climate Improvement

 
Conclusion

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
3. Stage One: Everyone Is a Leader: Empowering Students and Teachers
The Dignity of Expertise

 
Getting Started

 
Administrative Support Is Essential

 
The Adult Design Team: Membership and Roles

 
National School Climate Standards as a Guide to Action

 
Selecting a Diverse Team of Student Leaders

 
Challenges to Choosing a Diverse Team of Student Leaders

 
Making it Real: Student Leadership Training

 
Conclusion

 
Simple Summary: Stage One

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
4. Stage Two: Including All Voices: School Climate Data Collection
The Importance of Data

 
What Gets Measured Is What Gets Done

 
Some Potential Problems With School Data Collection

 
What and How to Measure

 
What to Do With Data

 
When Students Become School Climate Researchers

 
The Power of Qualitative Data

 
The Value of Quantitative Data

 
Making It Real: Elementary School Student Researchers

 
Conclusion

 
Simple Summary: Stage Two

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
5. Stage Three: Thinking Together: Data Analysis and Goal Setting
Internal or External Locus of Control: Whose Responsibility

 
Cognitive Dissonance: Wrestling With Data to Construct Meaning

 
No Fault, No Blame

 
Words or Numbers? Analyzing Data With Students

 
Using Quantitative Data Effectively

 
Goal Setting With Student Leaders

 
Why Students Lead the Way: Student and Teacher Data Analysis and Goal Setting

 
Faculty Data Analysis and Goal Setting

 
The Work of Goal-Based Action Teams

 
Making It Real: Data Analysis and Goal Setting With Chain Reaction

 
Conclusion

 
Simple Summary: Stage Three

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
6. Stage Four: Making Change Happen: Action Planning and Project Development
Action Planning: Where Change Begins

 
No One Best System

 
School Climate Action Teams: Working Effectively With Colleagues

 
Action Planning Steps

 
Using the Respect Continuum as a Guide to Action

 
Moving Toward the Positive

 
Respectful Teaching

 
Balanced Leadership: Adults and Students Joining Forces for Change

 
Making It Real: The Backpack Project

 
Conclusion

 
Simple Summary: Stage Four

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
7. Stage Four Specifics: Action Projects to Promote Respectful Teaching and Learning
Changing School Climate Through Respectful Teaching

 
Engagement Strategies That Work

 
Providing Students With Choices

 
Authentic, Applied, Real-World Learning

 
Altering the Schedule to Provide Learning Opportunities

 
Making It Real: Sugata Mitra's Hole-in-the-Wall Project

 
Conclusion

 
Simple Summary: Stage Four Specifics

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
8. Stage Five: Moving Forward Together: Sustainability and Continuous Improvement
Change Is a Process, Not an Event

 
Key Elements of Sustainable Change

 
Closing the Gaps

 
Dignity and Respect

 
The Best People Working on the Problem

 
Socially Based and Action-Oriented Change

 
Enhance, Extend, and Empower

 
Make a Multiyear Commitment

 
Formative Assessment: A Critical Part of the Process

 
Aligning School Climate and Learning: Demonstrate a Balanced Approach

 
Guideposts for Sustainability

 
Making It Real: Talking Walls

 
Conclusion

 
Simple Summary: Stage Five

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
9. The Road Ahead: Transforming School Climate and Learning
When Will the Time Be Right?

 
Continued Resistance, Growing Hope

 
School Climate As a Coherent Framework for Understanding Schools

 
Implications for School Leaders, Teachers, and Students

 
Conclusion

 
Book Study Questions

 
 
List of Appendices
Appendix A: From Violence to Empowerment: A Respect Continuum

 
Appendix B: Sample School Climate Data Summary

 
Appendix C: Example of Student Goals and Evidence of Need: Elementary School Data (Grades 3–6)

 
 
References
 
Index

"The authors clearly illustrate their premises, provide detailed descriptions of their reform procedures, and heroically tackle many facets which are often unaddressed in the educational literature."

Cathy A. Patterson, Teacher and Former Assistant Principal
Evergreen Elementary School, Walnut, CA

"I haven’t the slightest hesitation in recommending support for any venture with which Bill Preble is associated. He is a man who challenges conventional wisdom and long may he remain so.  Read the book. You will discover what transforming school climate and learning really means and how essential it is to support Bill’s vision.”

Michael Morgan, Former CEO
The Froebel Educational Institute, London, UK

"Preble and Gordon get it that schools are ecological habitats. They recognize students, and everyone in the school environment, as essential to maintaining the school as a dynamic and healthy system. This book - and the student-led, collaborative action research it describes - is an essential waypoint to making any school a humane, effective and sustainable habitat for its students, teachers, and staff."

Tom Julius, Director of Academic Assessment
Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

"This is a practical book, it is a resource that teachers and administrators will want to use throughout their careers."

Lyne Ssebikindu, Assistant Principal
Crump Elementary School, Memphis, TN

"The topic is very current and the need is great. This will become a great handbook for educators on how to transform school climate."

Gary L. Willhite, Professor
University of Wisconsin La Crosse

"The book has a real value. Having gone through a very similar experience of focusing on school climate as a means of improving student learning, I found the points made here to be valid. The authors’ Five-Step process identifies key components. Using data to monitor the results, and committing to the long-haul to achieve the goals are two important pieces in this process. The authors demonstrate that well."

Martin J. Hudacs, Superintendent
Solanco School District, Quarryville, PA

"Each chapter contains real-life scenarios; real student, parent, and educator voices; clearly detailed strategies; and pitfalls to avoid. The conclusions are simple, yet powerful. The book’s premise is backed by many years of research."

Janie L. Nusser, Superintendent of Schools
South Seneca Central School District, Ovid, NY

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