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The School Improvement Planning Handbook

Getting Focused for Turnaround and Transition

Daniel L. Duke; Marsha Carr and William Sterrett

Developing and updating school improvement plans is an annual ritual for virtually all school principals and their school improvement committees. Still, large numbers of schools continue to produce disappointing outcomes. The authors believe that part of the problem is the result of plans that focus on the wrong targets and that rely on ineffective strategies for improvement. To help principals and their school improvement committees develop and implement plans with a greater likelihood of success, the authors offer a step-by-step process for school improvement planning. They go on to pinpoint specific school improvement goals, including raising reading and mathematics achievement, building robust school cultures, addressing the needs of English language learners, improving instruction, and reducing absenteeism and dropouts. For each goal, a variety of objectives and proven strategies is presented along with sample school improvement plans. The book addresses the differences in planning to turn around a low-performing school, planning to sustain improvements over time, and planning to move a good school to a great school. « less more »
R&L Education
Pages: 296Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-1-61048-631-6 • Hardback • December 2012 • $64.00 • (£42.95)
978-1-61048-632-3 • Paperback • December 2012 • $34.00 • (£23.95)
978-1-61048-633-0 • eBook • December 2012 • $33.99 • (£23.95)
Daniel L. Duke is professor of educational leadership at the University of Virginia and one of the developers of its path-breaking School Turnaround Leadership Program. He has written over 30 books on subjects related to school improvement, educational change, and instructional leadership.

Marsha Carr is a former district superintendent; she serves as assistant professor and coordinator of the Master of School Administration program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

William Sterrett is a former Title I elementary school principal; he is an assistant professor and program coordinator of Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision at UNCW.

Section I: Paving the Way to Better School Improvement Plans

Chapter 1: Seven Steps to Good Planning

Chapter 2: Finding Focus For School Improvement

Chapter 3: Planning and Implementation Problems

Section II: School Improvement Scenarios: Challenges, Planning, and Implementation

Chapter 4: Reading Improvement: Following an Icon: Raising Reading Achievement at Lincoln Elementary

Chapter 5: Math Improvement: Overcoming the Middle School Math Dilemma

Chapter 6: Improving Culture

Chapter 7: Improving Instruction

Chapter 8: Reaching English Language Learners: Ensuring Academic Achievement For All

Chapter 9: Addressing the Special Needs of At-Risk Students

Chapter 10: Improving Attendance

Section III: The Importance of Differentiated Planning

Chapter 11: Planning School Turnarounds

Chapter 12: Planning to Sustain Success

Chapter 13: Planning for Educational Excellence
The school improvement process can seem daunting to even the most seasoned administrator. Many school districts are focusing on turning struggling schools toward increased achievement. However, deciding where to start, what to include, and how to address the needs of a school community remains extremely challenging. So, how should school leaders approach the improvement process and how do we turn schools around? The authors of The School Improvement Planning Handbook provide readers with a framework for developing specific strategies that may pave the way for success. . . .While the book is much more than a 'handbook,' its handbook format makes it very user friendly. . . .The School Improvement Planning Handbook is ideal for principals looking to invigorate the improvement process, or for any school leader interested in developing a 'living' school improvement plan. New principals should find the seven-step process described in section one as an excellent guide for structuring a comprehensive plan. The authors intended their book to be 'a practical book for practitioners.' Their focus on real-life examples and research-based best practices makes it just that.

In the age of many ideas on thoughts on educational reform this book could not have come at a more opportune time. This book provides invaluable information to school leaders by providing proven strategies and case studies from the practitioners in the field who are improving their schools and increasing achievement. These authors clearly articulate how school leaders can initiate and sustain meaningful change that will have a profound impact on school culture.
Eric Sheninger, principal at New Milford High School (NJ)

From start to finish this book offers tangible ways for today’s leaders to improve their schools. This handbook is bound to be a must have in any leader’s toolbox for school improvement.
Jayson W. Richardson, assistant professor, University of Kentucky

Education, like anything else, requires effective leadership to be successful. Schools need the high performance only planning can provide. This book uses effective leadership to guide schools in planning for success.
Martin Cain, retired professor of financial management

Despite calls for school improvement coming from nearly all directions, school leaders often struggle to find practical guidance for facilitating the process. Duke ,Carr and Sterrett have helped fill that important gap with this important, hands-on approach. Leaders truly committed to authentic, meaningful and sustainable school improvement will benefit from this practical and accessible book.
Nicholas J. Pace, Ed.D, author of The Principal's Hot Seat: Observing Real-World Dilemmas

Attaining genuine and meaningful school improvement is an exceedingly difficult process, and not for the faint of heart. Dan Duke, Marsha Carr, and Bill Sterrett have provided an instrument that all school leaders can relate to and appreciate. The thought provoking case-studies are immensely valuable and 'spot on' in terms of applying multiple data sources and a process orientation, to the heavy work associated with school improvement. School Improvement Planning Handbook is a breath of fresh air within a misguided environment that seeks quick fixes and easy solutions to very difficult problems.
Dr. David C. Jeck, superintendent, Greene County Public Schools, Stanardsville Virginia

The school improvement process is an annual necessity for schools, yet it often remains a difficult process for school leaders and staff. This book will help you get beyond the lengthy discussions about school problems, and enable teams to focus on actions that will lead to tangible improvements for students. This is a book that will help plans become meaningful actions.
Curt Rees, elementary school principal in Wisconsin

If developing a plan to school improvement has distressed your organization in the past, this book has The Roadmap to Success guiding the pathway to raising student achievement. I am recommending this book to every colleague who genuinely is in search of the cause of low performing schools in their communities.
Kevin J. Baker, Title 1 Program Coordinator

With authentic scenarios, intentional step-by-step guides, and high-quality planning tools, this handbook serves as a powerful reference for change-agents looking to root their school improvement plan in a balanced system of instruction, assessment and accountability.
Nader Imad Twal, Milken National Educator (CA 2003), Linked Learning Project Director (Long Beach Unified School District)

School turnaround is the most difficult and complex task for school leaders. Having a guide like The School Improvement Planning Handbook to provide concrete solutions for implementing change has already benefited my practice as a school leader. The tactics in this book create artifacts that truly measure improvements to student achievement and school climate.
Thomas W. Taylor, Principal of Charlottesville High School (Charlottesville, VA), Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Virginia

This step-by-step guide for principals and their school leaderships teams is chocked full of specific strategies for developing a meaningful school improvement plan that can truly be a guiding document for the school. A distinguishing feature of this book is the acknowledgment of the importance of differentiated school improvement planning aligned to the need for school turnaround, school transformation or continuous improvement. Specific and authentic examples of real school scenarios and strategies are shared to address reading, math, English language learned, students with special needs and student indicators of success such as student attendance and school culture.
Ann Blakeney Clark, deputy superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

The School Improvement Planning Handbook provides great access to proven strategies that have transformed schools by strengthening leadership teams, empowering instructional leaders, and inspiring students to soar to new levels of learning. Learn how to promote meaningful conversations, target specific areas of need, and examine excellence within your faculty. Discover the secrets of the nation's best schools!
Anna Catherine Hull, National Milken Fellow (2011); Miken Educator (2010); 2nd grade talented and gifted teacher, Patronis Elementary School, Panama City Beach, FL