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Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration

Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration

Foreword by Margaret J. Wheatley, A Joint Publication with AASA, The School Superintendents Association

October 2021 | 160 pages | Corwin

Spirit is the essence of character—of what it means to be human. Finding hope in the power of collaboration underpinned by ‘spirit work’-- the care and love of students as learners-- Fullan & Edwards capture how some school districts are creating a deep learning environment for all. 

COVID-19, racial inequity, polarizing politics, mass misinformation, and myriad other challenges have made the future of education seem bleaker than ever. Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration speaks directly to leaders' hearts and advocates for the development of two qualities that will bring back hope for the future of education: "spirit work" and the science of collaboration. Spirit work centers love and care for students, staff, and communities as the impetus for creating a positive culture, while collaboration is the vehicle for manifesting that spirit work. Through powerful case studies and vignettes, the authors show how spirit and collaboration represent revolutionary potential for education. Readers will find

  • A lifeline amid overwhelming conditions.
  • Hope for themselves and the future of education
  • Practical ideas for building cohesion throughout school communities

We cannot allow our best advocates for children to be consumed by today’s challenges. Spirit work and collaboration can pave the way to a brighter future.

Foreword by Margaret J. Wheatley
Part I: The Challenge of the Century: Transforming Learning
Chapter 1: The Prospects for Radical Change
Rapidly Declining Global Trends


Innovation and New Ideas


Chapter 2: Spirit Work
Spirit Work

Spirit Construction


Chapter 3: The Science of Collaboration
The Growth of Collaboration

Collaborative Cultures

The Promise of Collaboration


Part II: Early Signals: Districts in Action
Chapter 4: East Coast Districts (United States) in Action
Ithaca City School District (New York)

Virginia Beach Schools

Rowan-Salisbury School System (North Carolina)


Chapter 5: South Central Districts (United States) in Action
Shelby County Schools (Tennessee)

Jefferson County Public Schools (Kentucky)


Chapter 6: West Coast Districts (United States) in Action
San Ramon Valley Unified School District (California)

Highline Washington School District

Chula Vista Elementary School District (California)


Part III: The Future of Spirit and Collaboration Work
Chapter 7: A New Tomorrow
The Worry List

Could It Be Almost Tomorrow?

System Change: It Is Time for Society to Help

Conclusion: Students as Evolutionary Changemakers

About the Authors

It’s never been more important to learn from leaders who lead by example and from their heart, soul, and spirit. The eight models of work and collaborative science captured by Michael Fullan and Mark Edwards represent some of the best and brightest thinking in school system leadership. As the nation works diligently to navigate through the COVID environment, enacting change that best suits the unique circumstances in every school community is essential in today’s public education landscape.

Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association
Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association
Key features
Leaders will find:
  • A much-needed lifeline in the midst of overwhelm and exhaustion
  • Hope for themselves and for the future of education
  • Practical ideas for building a stronger sense of cohesion and culture throughout their school community

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781071845493