The Three Essentials: Improving Schools Requires District Vision, District and State Support, and Principal Leadership

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 The Three Essentials: Improving Schools Requires District Vision, District and State Support, and Principal Leadership

1. Kowalski, Theodore J. “The Future of Local District Governance: Implications for Board Members and Superintendents.” Advances in Research and Theories of School Management and Educational Policy. C. Crys Brunner and Lars Björk, eds. JAI Press, 2001.
Rorrer, Andrea K., Linda Skrla, and James Joseph Scheurich. “Districts as Institutional Actors in Educational Reform.” Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(3), 2008.

2.Honig, Meredith I., and Michael A. Copland. “Reinventing District Central Offices to Expand Student Learning.” The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2008 —
Mac Iver, Martha Abele, and Elizabeth Farley-Ripple. Bringing the District Back In: The Role of the Central Office in Improving Instruction and Student Achievement. Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk, Johns Hopkins University, 2003.
Snipes, Jason, Fred Doolittle, and Corinne Herlihy. Foundations for Success: Case Studies of How Urban School Systems Improve Student Achievement. Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) for the Council of Great City Schools, 2002.
McLaughlin, Milbrey W., and Joan E. Talbert. Reforming Districts: How Districts Support School Reform. Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington, 2003.
Togneri, Wendy, and Stephen E. Anderson. Beyond Islands of Excellence: What Districts Can Do to Improve Instruction and Achievement in All Schools. Learning First Alliance, 2003.
Muller, Robert D. The Role of the District in Driving School Reform: A Review for the Denver Commission on Secondary School Reform. Practical Strategy, 2004.
Agullard, Kim, and Dolores Goughnour. Central Office Inquiry: Assessing Organization, Roles, and Actions to Support School Improvement. WestEd, 2006.

3. Miles, Matthew B., and A. Michael Huberman. Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook, Second Edition. Sage Publications Inc., 1994.

4. Lincoln, Yvonna, and Egon G. Guba. Naturalistic Inquiry. Sage Publications Inc., 1985.

5. ACT Inc., viewed online September 14, 2009 —

6. National Research Council. Engaging Schools: Fostering High School Students’ Motivation to Learn. The National Academies Press, 2003.

7.District comments here reflect the “transformer” and “coper” patterns of school and district leadership identified in: Public Agenda. A Mission of the Heart. The Wallace Foundation, 2008.

8. McAdams, Donald R. What School Boards Can Do: Reform Governance for Urban Schools. Teachers College Press, 2006.

9. Ibid.

10. Elmore, Richard F., Allen S. Grossman, and Caroline King. “Managing the Chicago Public Schools.” Managing School Districts for High Performance. Stacey Childress, R. Elmore, A. S. Grossman, and Susan Moore Johnson, eds. Harvard Education Press, 2007.

11. Bottoms, Gene, and Betty Fry. The District Leadership Challenge: Empowering Principals to Improve Teaching and Learning. SREB, 2009.

12. Sigler, David, and Marla Ucelli Kashyap. “Human Capital Management: A New Approach for Districts.” Voices in Urban Education #20. Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2008 —
Campbell, Christine, Michael DeArmond, and Abigail Schumwinger. From Bystander to Ally: Transforming the District Human Resources Department. University of Washington, 2004.

13. Elmore, Richard. School Reform from the Inside Out: Policy, Practice and Performance. Harvard Educational Publishing, 2004.

14. For a short description of exemplary walkthrough strategies employed by Principal Vicki Bridges at South Grand Prairie High School in Texas (not located in one of the seven districts focused on as part of this study), see “Principal Streamlines Classroom Walk-Throughs to Improve Achievement” in SREB’s Competent Leaders Make the Difference in Achieving School and Student Goals, 2009.

15. Fullan, Michael. The New Meaning of Educational Change. Teachers College Press. 2007. Ouchi, William G. “Real Decentralization—Accept No Substitutes.” Education Week, November 4, 2009.

16. Sparks, Dennis. “What I Believe About Leadership Development.” Phi Delta Kappan, March 2009.

17. Waters, J. Timothy, and Robert J. Marzano. School District Leadership that Works: The Effect of Superintendent Leadership on Student Achievement (A Working Paper). McREL, 2006.
Marzano, Robert J., and Timothy Waters. District Leadership That Works: Striking the Right Balance. Solution Tree and McREL, 2009
DuFour, Richard. “In Praise of Top-Down Leadership.” School Administrator. November, 2007.

18. Fullan, Michael. The New Meaning of Educational Change. Teachers College Press, 2007.

19. A Critical Mission: Making Adolescent Reading an Immediate Priority in SREB States. Southern Regional Education Board, 2009.

20. Taylor, Donna Lester. “‘Not Just Boring Stories’: Reconsidering the Gender Gap for Boys.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, December 2004/January 2005.
Sean Cavazzos-Kottke. “Tuned Out But Turned On: Boys’ (Dis)engaged Reading In and Out of School.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, November 2005.

21. Engaging Schools: Fostering High School Students’ Motivation to Learn. National Research Council, 2004. Villani, Susan. Mentoring and Induction Programs that Support Principals. Corwin, 2006.
Gray, Cheryl, Betty Fry, Gene Bottoms, and Kathy O’Neill. Good Principals Aren’t Born — They’re Mentored: Are We Investing Enough to Get the School Leaders We Need? Southern Regional Education Board, 2007.
Dufour, Richard, and Robert Eaker. Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement. National Education Service & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), 1998.
National Staff Development Center (various).

22. The Education Alliance at Brown University; National Association of Elementary School Principals. Making the Case for Principal Mentoring. Brown University, 2003.

23. Blankstein, Alan M. Failure Is Not an Option: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools. Corwin Press, 2004.

24. Districts have made little, if any, progress in this area since the Togneri and Anderson report came out in 2003. The problems of identifying impacts of professional development efforts have been examined in detail in: Guskey, Tom R. Evaluating Professional Development. Corwin Press, 2000.

25. Preble, Bill, and Larry Taylor. “School Climate Through Students’ Eyes.” Educational Leadership, December 2008/January 2009.

26. Ohio’s Leadership Development Framework. Ohio Leadership Advisory Council, 2008.

27. Bottoms, Gene, David Spence, and Marna Young. The Next Generation of School Accountability: A Blueprint for Raising High School Achievement and Graduation Rates in SREB States. SREB, 2009.

28. Interview with Jerry Weast, November 5, 2009.
Friedman, Thomas. “The New Untouchables.” The New York Times, October 20, 2009.
Obama, Barack. “Remarks by the President on Innovation and Sustainable Growth.” September 21, 2009 —

29. Bottoms, Gene, and Betty Fry. The District Leadership Challenge: Empowering Principals to Improve Teaching and Learning. SREB, 2009.

30. Viadero, Debra. “Management Guru Says ‘Student Load’ Key to Achievement.” Education Week, September 30, 2009.

31. Personal Communication, Mike Copland, professor of education at the University of Washington, December 3, 2008.

32. The observation that ‘equal is not equitable’ has also been made by Margaret Plecki’s work for the Wallace Foundation, “How Leaders Invest Staffing Resources to Support School Improvement in Urban Schools,” forthcoming.

33. Childress, Stacey. “Six Lessons for Pursuing Excellence and Equity at Scale: Efforts in Montgomery County, Maryland, to ‘Raise the Bar and Close the Gap’ Depended on Deep Changes.” Phi Delta Kappan, November 2009.

34. Donnegan, Billie. “The Linchpin Year.” Educational Leadership, May 2008.

35. Grubb, W. Norton. “Correcting the Money Myth: Re-Thinking School Resources.” Phi Delta Kappan, December 2009/January 2010.

36. Ibid.

37. Hull, Jim. “More Than a Horse Race.” Presentation at the Federal Relation Network Annual Conference, January 30, 2007 —

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