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Improve Learning by Building Community
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Improve Learning by Building Community
A Principal's Guide to Action

Edited by:

Courses:
Principalship

March 2010 | 152 pages | Corwin

"At last, we have a book that provides practical, day-to-day advice for administrators to consider when establishing a learning community. Daresh helps school leaders both understand the importance of their personal values about shared leadership and appreciate how individuals within the school, district, and community are essential to building a shared learning community. The wealth of examples and school-based scenarios illustrate how these ideas translate into practice. A wonderful resource for a book study for teachers and principals."
—Bruce Barnett, Professor
University of Texas at San Antonio

"Daresh continues his legacy of bridging scholarship and practice within a context of strengthening school cultures by supporting positive interactions between all the people who interact within and around them. As usual, his tone is friendly and approachable, and his points to ponder are both practical and compelling. Aspiring, new, and experienced principals will benefit from the structured opportunity afforded by this book to reflect on their own values and how these values shape their leadership."
—Mary Beth Cunat, Assistant Principal
Burley School, Chicago, NY

Raise student achievement by building a community of ALL stakeholders—both within and around your school!

Written for both new and experienced principals, this resource provides a blueprint for building visionary learning communities that improve student learning not only by shaping the internal school community—faculty and staff—but also by creating a partnership with the external community—district educators, families, community organizations, and service agencies.

Reflecting contemporary research and the authors' extensive work with principals, the book includes scenarios that illustrate the work of real principals in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Administrators will find invaluable assistance from Practical Tips that offer strategies for implementation, Points for Practice that highlight critical concepts, and Points to Ponder that promote reader reflection. Each chapter encourages school leaders to consider what community building means for their own schools and provides guidance for:

  • Building a vision based on your personal and professional values 
  • Shaping a school culture that supports teamwork
  • Honoring school staff members at all levels
  • Examining and understanding the external environment 
  • Drawing effectively on community support services 
  • Collaborating with district staff

Improve Learning by Building Community helps principals bring together all stakeholders to create the kind of schools that can ensure success for every student.


 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
1. It All Begins With You
General Information About Educational Platforms  
A Normative Use of a Platform  
Returning to Motley Elementary School  
Points for Practice  
References  
 
2. Creating a Shared Vision
Developing a Vision  
Articulating the Vision  
Implementing the Vision  
Monitoring the Vision  
Creating a Vision: Returning to Carpenter Middle School  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
References  
 
3. Foundations for Community Building
Definitions  
Operationalizing Community Beyond Structure  
Returning to the Administrative Team at Ridgmoor Middle School  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
References  
 
4. Focusing on Culture Is More Than Good Manners
On Climate and Culture  
Development of Culture and Climate Research  
Putting the Theory Into Practice  
Returning to Manchester  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
References  
 
5. Studying Your External Environment
Analytic Framework  
Historical Thumbnail for the Riverport Community and Hilley High School  
Structural Dimension of Riverport  
Human Resource Dimension of Riverport  
Political Dimension of Riverport  
Symbolic Dimension of Riverport  
Back to Pete  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
References  
 
6. Working With Community Groups and Parents
Parent Concerns  
Community Concerns  
Returning to Cheshire School  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
Reference  
Additional Suggested Resources  
 
7. Seeing Your Invisible Heroes
Security Staff  
Office Workers  
Custodial Staff  
Food Service Workers  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
References  
 
8. Services in the Community
Students in Physical Danger  
Drug or Substance Abuse  
Student Mental or Physical Health  
Family Turmoil  
Returning to La Casa Blanca Schools and Bustamente Elementary  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
 
9. Support From Central Administration
What Makes It Hard to Change Schools?  
Key People to Keep Informed  
Chapter Summary  
Points for Practice  
References  
 
Index

"At last, we have a book that provides practical, day-to-day advice for what school administrators need to attend to when establishing a learning community. Daresh helps school leaders understand the importance of their personal values about shared leadership as well as the individuals within the school, district, and community who are essential to building a shared learning community. The wealth of examples and school-based scenarios illustrate how these ideas translate into practice. A wonderful resource for a book study for teachers and principals."

Bruce Barnett, Professor
University of Texas at San Antonio

"Daresh continues his legacy of bridging scholarship and practice, within a context of strengthening school cultures by supporting positive interactions between all the people who interact within and around them. As usual, his tone is friendly and approachable, and his points to ponder are both practical and compelling. Aspiring, new, and experienced principals will benefit from the structured opportunity afforded by this book to reflect on their own values and how these values shape their leadership."

Mary Beth Cunat, Assistant Principal
Burley School, Chicago, IL

"An invaluable guide for fostering learning communities, Daresh’s work provides a ten-thousand foot view of schools. Of particular interest to educational leaders are strategies to engage parents, business leaders and the often 'forgotten stakeholders'—staff members such as secretaries and custodians. Each chapter immediately engages the reader through humor, reflection, and analysis. Vivid, authentic scenarios capture the realities and complexities of today’s schools. We are invited into the minds of school leaders as they work through the change process and are reminded of the importance of continually reassessing our values. This book is not only a must-read, but a must-do for every principal whose goal is to enhance learning communities."

Debra Livingston, Superintendent of Schools
Fall Mountain Regional School District, Charlestown, NH
Key features
  • Emphasizes community building as a collaborative endeavor involving the active participation of both the internal as well as the external school community for the purpose of increasing student achievement
  • Numerous strategies, Practical Tips, and Points for Practice offer opportunities for implementation of new ideas, and practice of new skills in the process of building an effective learning community
  • Gives principals many opportunities to think through the community building process in the context of their own particular schools through embedded questions/Points to Ponder and chapter opening cases from the author's work with principals

Sample Materials & Chapters

Daresh_ImproveLearning_Preface

Daresh_ImproveLearning_Ch1


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ISBN: 9781412969611
$36.95