Strategy in Action

Strategy in Action : How School Systems Can Support Powerful Learning and Teaching

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Description

How can we systemically improve the quality of classroom instruction and the learning and achievement of students? In an era when isolated examples of excellence are not good enough, we need systems that support improvement and excellence for all. This book describes how systems can effectively engage in this complex, challenging, and crucial work. The authors explore three core competencies of high-performing school systems: (1) understanding what the work is-a deep understanding of the core business of facilitating learning, a vision of what that looks like, and an awareness of where the system is in relation to that vision; (2) knowing how to do the work-a theory of action for improving instruction, a focus on key strategies, and effective alignment of resources; and (3) building the individual and organizational "habits of mind" that foster continuous improvement. Each chapter includes examples that illustrate key concepts in action, questions to spur self-assessment in key areas of competence, and tools and resources for building capacity at different levels and stages of development.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 185.42 x 233.68 x 15.24mm | 428g
  • Cambridge, United States
  • English
  • 1934742309
  • 9781934742303
  • 559,594

Back cover copy

How can we systemically improve the quality of classroom instruction and the learning and achievement of all students? Strategy in Action describes how school systems can engage effectively in this complex, challenging, and crucial work. The authors explore three core competencies of high-performing school systems: understanding what the work is--a deep understanding of the core business of facilitating learning, a vision of what that looks like, and an awareness of where the system is in relation to that vision; knowing how to do the work--a theory of action for improving instruction, a focus on key strategies, and effective alignment of resources; and building the individual and organization "habits of mind" that foster continuous improvement. Each chapter includes examples that illustrate key concepts in action, questions to spur self-assessment, and tools and resources for building capacity at different levels and stages of development.

"Strategy in Action makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of what it takes to transform our schools and support more effective learning and teaching....It emphasizes focusing resources on a few things that have the greatest potential to improve student learning, which, when done in concern, can leverage significant improvement." --from the foreword by Dr. Beverly L. Hall, superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools, and 2009 National Superintendent of the Year

"Curtis and City reveal the emperor without clothes when they conclude that too many educational systems have a 'strategic plan without a strategy.' Their insights give teachers, leaders, and policymakers long-overdue relief from the tyranny of planning processes that elevate the production of documents over meaningful progress in teaching and learning. The authors challenge the common enthusiasm for multiple initiatives and replace it with remarkable focus and impact. This is a wise and important book." -- Douglas Reeves, chairman, The Leadership and Learning Center

"This practical guide to developing and implementing system-level improvement strategies is a must-read for leadership teams committed to driving concrete results for all students. Through a blend of theory and real-world examples, City and Curtis draw a road map for spreading excellent teaching and learning across an entire school system." -- Stacey M. Childress, lecturer, Harvard Business School

Rachel E. Curtis has worked with a variety of traditional and charter school systems on issues including district improvement strategy, leadership development, and efforts to make teaching a compelling and rewarding career. Elizabeth A. City is director of instructional strategy with the Executive Leadership Program for Educators at Harvard University and a faculty member at Boston's School Leadership Institute.
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Review quote

This practical guide to developing and implementing system-level improvement strategies is a must-read for leadership teams committed to driving concrete results for all students. Through a blend of theory and real-world examples, City and Curtis draw a road map for spreading excellent teaching and learning across an entire school system. Stacey M. Childress, lecturer, Harvard Business School"
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About Rachel E. Curtis

Rachel E. Curtis works with school systems, foundations, higher education, and education policy organizations on district improvement strategy, leadership development, and efforts to make teaching a compelling and rewarding career. Her clients include The Aspen Institute, the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, the Executive Leadership Program for Educators at Harvard University, and a variety of traditional and charter school systems. Rachel worked for the Boston Public Schools for eleven years, during which time she devised the district's instructional coaching model for literacy and math; developed a data-driven school planning process; founded the School Leadership Institute, which included the nationally recognized Boston Principal Fellowship; developed teaching standards and a new-teacher induction program; and oversaw professional development for teachers and school administrators. She holds a masters degree in Leadership and Organizational Development in the Context of School Reform from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her publications include The Skillful Leader II: Confronting Conditions That Undermine Learning (Ready About Press, 2008), Ensuring the Support and Development of New Teachers in the Boston Public Schools (Boston Public Schools, 2006), Preparing Non-Principal Administrators to Foster Whole-School Improvement in Boston (Boston Public Schools, 2005), Professional Development Spending in the Boston Public Schools (Boston Public Schools, 2005), and a forthcoming edited volume on human capital management in education (Harvard Education Press, 2010).

Elizabeth A. City helps educators improve learning and teaching through leadership development, the strategic use of data and resources, and instructional rounds networks. She is Director of Instructional Strategy at the Executive Leadership Program for Educators at Harvard University and lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Liz has served as a teacher, an instructional coach, and a principal. She holds a doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her publications include Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning, coauthored with Richard F. Elmore, Sarah E. Fiarman, and Lee Teitel (Harvard Education Press, 2009); Resourceful Leadership: Tradeoffs and Tough Decisions on the Road to School Improvement (Harvard Education Press, 2008); The Teacher's Guide to Leading Student-Centered Discussions: Talking About Texts in the Classroom, coauthored with Michael S. Hale (Corwin Press, 2006); and Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning, coedited with Kathryn Parker Boudett and Richard J. Murnane (Harvard Education Press, 2005).
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Rating details

27 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 30% (8)
4 48% (13)
3 11% (3)
2 7% (2)
1 4% (1)
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