Getting Serious About the System

A Fieldbook for District and School Leaders

D'Ette F. Cowan,

Getting Serious About the System: A Fieldbook for District and School Leaders

A focused approach to raising student achievement

For many districts, the improvement process can seem like trying to nail Jello to the wall. This fieldbook shows how to avoid a haphazard approach by focusing on all aspects of the system and specific issues that have most impact upon student achievement. This multidimensional process also entails increasing the competencies of everyone involved and implementing solutions districtwide. The authors outline a proven framework and offer step-by-step guidance for addressing the essential components and competencies of the local educational system. Key strategies include:

  • Concentrating on aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to state and Common Core State Standards
  • Working on the underlying issues and people that impact the system
  • Garnering support from all staff members to maximize time, resources, and energy

Included are vignettes for each phase that illustrate how the work might play out in typical districts and schools. Hands-on tools include an extensive Facilitator Guide with PowerPoint slides, handouts, and a companion website with online resources. A separate volume provides a brief overview of the process for staff and teachers that provides a brief rationale based on research, explains what it means to work systemically, and outlines the phases.

There is no "quick fix" for boosting school performance, but Getting Serious About the System will help district and school leaders set priorities, break the gridlock, and reap sustainable results.

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