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In 1988, the Chicago public school system decentralized, granting parents and communities significant resources and authority to reform their schools in dramatic ways. To track the effects of this bold experiment, the authors of Organizing Schools for Improvement collected a wealth of data on elementary schools in Chicago. Over a seven-year period they identified one hundred elementary schools that had substantially improved—and one hundred that had not. What did the successful schools do to accelerate student learning? The authors of this illuminating book identify a comprehensive set of practices and conditions that were key factors for improvement, including school leadership, the professional capacity of the faculty and staff, and a student-centered learning climate. In addition, they analyze the impact of social dynamics, including crime, critically examining the inextricable link between schools and their communities. Putting their data onto a more human scale, they also chronicle the stories of two neighboring schools with very different trajectories. The lessons gleaned from this groundbreaking study will be invaluable for anyone involved with urban education.
The concept of school turnaround—rapidly improving schools and increasing student achievement outcomes in a short period of time—has become politicized despite the relative newness of the idea. Unprecedented funding levels for school improvement combined with few examples of schools substantially increasing student achievement outcomes has resulted in doubt about whether or not turnaround is achievable. Skeptics have enumerated a number of reasons to abandon school turnaround at this early juncture. This book is the first in a new series on school turnaround and reform intended to spur ongoing dialogue among and between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners on improving the lowestperforming schools and the systems in which they operate. The “turnaround challenge” remains salient regardless of what we call it. We must improve the nation’s lowestperforming schools for many moral, social, and economic reasons. In this first book, education researchers and scholars have identified a number of myths that have inhibited our ability to successfully turn schools around. Our intention is not to suggest that if these myths are addressed school turnaround will always be achieved. Business and other literatures outside of education make it clear that turnaround is, at best, difficult work. However, for a number of reasons, we in education have developed policies and practices that are often antithetical to turnaround. Indeed, we are making already challenging work harder. The myths identified in this book suggest that we still struggle to define or understand what we mean by turnaround or how best, or even adequately, measure whether it has been achieved. Moreover, it is clear that there are a number of factors limiting how effectively we structure and support lowperforming schools both systemically and locally. And we have done a rather poor job of effectively leveraging human resources to raise student achievement and improve organizational outcomes. We anticipate this book having wide appeal for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in consideration of how to support these schools taking into account context, root causes of lowperformance, and the complex work to ensure their opportunity to be successful. Too frequently we have expected these schools to turn themselves around while failing to assist them with the vision and supports to realize meaningful, lasting organizational change. The myths identified and debunked in this book potentially illustrate a way forward.
One of the most influential institutions of higher learning in the world, the University of Chicago has a powerful and distinct identity, and its name is synonymous with intellectual rigor. With nearly 170,000 alumni living and working in more than 150 countries, its impact is far-reaching and long-lasting. With The University of Chicago: A History, John W. Boyer, Dean of the College since 1992, presents a deeply researched and comprehensive history of the university. Boyer has mined the archives, exploring the school’s complex and sometimes controversial past to set myth and hearsay apart from fact. The result is a fascinating narrative of a legendary academic community, one that brings to light the nature of its academic culture and curricula, the experience of its students, its engagement with Chicago’s civic community, and the conditions that have enabled the university to survive and sustain itself through decades of change. Boyer’s extensive research shows that the University of Chicago’s identity is profoundly interwoven with its history, and that history is unique in the annals of American higher education. After a little-known false start in the mid-nineteenth century, it achieved remarkable early successes, yet in the 1950s it faced a collapse of undergraduate enrollment, which proved fiscally debilitating for decades. Throughout, the university retained its fierce commitment to a distinctive, intense academic culture marked by intellectual merit and free debate, allowing it to rise to international acclaim. Today it maintains a strong obligation to serve the larger community through its connections to alumni, to the city of Chicago, and increasingly to its global community. Published to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the university, this must-have reference will appeal to alumni and anyone interested in the history of higher education of the United States.
We love the local. From the cherries we buy, to the grocer who sells them, to the school where our child unpacks them for lunch, we express resurgent faith in decentralizing the institutions and businesses that arrange our daily lives. But the fact is that huge, bureaucratic organizations often still shape the character of our jobs, schools, the groceries where we shop, and even the hospitals we entrust with our lives. So how, exactly, can we work small, when everything around us is so big, so global and standardized? In Organizing Locally, Bruce Fuller shows us, taking stock of America’s rekindled commitment to localism across an illuminating range of sectors, unearthing the crucial values and practices of decentralized firms that work. Fuller first untangles the economic and cultural currents that have eroded the efficacy of—and our trust in—large institutions over the past half century. From there we meet intrepid leaders who have been doing things differently. Traveling from a charter school in San Francisco to a veterans service network in Iowa, from a Pennsylvania health-care firm to the Manhattan branch of a Swedish bank, he explores how creative managers have turned local staff loose to craft inventive practices, untethered from central rules and plain-vanilla routines. By holding their successes and failures up to the same analytical light, he vividly reveals the key cornerstones of social organization on which motivating and effective decentralization depends. Ultimately, he brings order and evidence to the often strident debates about who has the power—and on what scale—to structure how we work and live locally. Written for managers, policy makers, and reform activists, Organizing Locally details the profound decentering of work and life inside firms, unfolding across postindustrial societies. Its fresh theoretical framework explains resurging faith in decentralized organizations and the ingredients that deliver vibrant meaning and efficacy for residents inside. Ultimately, it is a synthesizing study, a courageous and radical new way of conceiving of American vitality, creativity, and ambition.
Managing the New Tools in K-12 Teaching and Learning discusses how we can manage our technology efforts more effectively. It gives an overview of learning technology components, such as student devices and data system infrastructure. And, it provides case studies of how this is being done at pioneering districts
Sound bites of wisdom for successful school improvement This is no ordinary how-to manual. Researcher Joseph Murphy infuses experiences and humor into oft-debated methods of school improvement. School leaders, teachers, and improvement-minded audiences will find a collection of daily reflections that motivate, amuse, and inspire. This book presents more than 70 short, digestible lessons on what works, what doesn’t, and what matters most in the world of high-stakes testing and accountability, such as: Prevention trumps remediation Context always matters School improvement is about layering small gains
A New York Times bestseller and “a passionate, urgent” (The New Yorker) examination of the growing inequality gap from the bestselling author of Bowling Alone: why fewer Americans today have the opportunity for upward mobility. Central to the very idea of America is the principle that we are a nation of opportunity. But over the last quarter century we have seen a disturbing “opportunity gap” emerge. We Americans have always believed that those who have talent and try hard will succeed, but this central tenet of the American Dream seems no longer true or at the least, much less true than it was. In Our Kids, Robert Putnam offers a personal and authoritative look at this new American crisis, beginning with the example of his high school class of 1959 in Port Clinton, Ohio. The vast majority of those students went on to lives better than those of their parents. But their children and grandchildren have faced diminishing prospects. Putnam tells the tale of lessening opportunity through poignant life stories of rich, middle class, and poor kids from cities and suburbs across the country, brilliantly blended with the latest social-science research. “A truly masterful volume” (Financial Times), Our Kids provides a disturbing account of the American dream that is “thoughtful and persuasive” (The Economist). Our Kids offers a rare combination of individual testimony and rigorous evidence: “No one can finish this book and feel complacent about equal opportunity” (The New York Times Book Review).

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