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Noteworthy Books

New Books

Recommended reading for district leaders.

Bringing School Reform to Scale: Five Award-Winning Urban Districts

Harvard Education Press, $29.95

Author Heather Zavadsky, director of policy and communications at the University of Texas System's Institute for Public School Initiatives, profiles five recent winners of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, the annual recognition of districts that have raised overall performance while reducing the achievement gap among poor and minority students. Zavadsky details the sustained practices that these school systems instituted to improve teaching and learning, how they have aligned reforms at all levels of their districts, and how other districts of any size can learn from and institute such strategies for their own success.


Against the Odds: Insights from One District's Small School Reform

Harvard Education Press, $24.95

Beginning in 2004, Colorado's Mapleton Public Schools began a bold, districtwide reform project by transforming its two traditional high schools into seven small schools with fewer than 400 students each. Administrators at the district decided to document this reform process using funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Several authors, including those directly involved with the reform effort,describe the history and context of the Mapleton district, outline the shortcomings of previous school improvement attempts in the school system, detail the small school project, and reflect on both the successes and frustrations of instituting a small schools strategy.


The School Leadership Triangle: From Compliance to Innovation

Corwin Press, $33.95

Experienced author and former administrator Paul L. Kimmelman believes that while school leaders must be responsive to federal policy mandates, compliance alone will not guarantee continuous school improvement. In this new book, the author presents a triangular framework for systemic improvement based upon not only federal policy compliance but also effective leadership and innovation. He also analyzes the thought processes behind the No Child Left Behind act, provides guidelines for how administrators can best distribute leadership throughout a school or district, and focuses on the critical role of innovation in successful reform efforts.


Data-Enhanced Leadership

Corwin Press, $25.95

This seventh volume in the Soul of Educational Leadership Series published by the American Association of School Administrators and the HOPE Foundation examines the role data plays in effective district administration. Edited by Alan M. Blankstein, Paul D. Houston and Robert W. Cole, with contributions from experts including Jesse Rodriguez, Lorna M. Earl and Steven Katz, the book explores how school leaders can use data to create a culture of professional inquiry; redefine curriculum, instruction and assessment in standards-based classrooms; raise student achievement; make effective technology decisions; and fine-tune their decision-making processes.


Leading a Learning Organization: The Science of Working with Others

Solution Tree, $24.95

Author Casey Reason examines the role emotion plays in school cultures and how the ever-increasing demands for change and accountability contribute to levels of fear and stress. Drawing upon research from education, psychology and neuroscience, Reason demonstrates how leaders can change the emotional climate or tone of a school system to promote more effective teaching and learning through collaboration, purpose-driven inquiry, the creation of a defined learning culture, and conscious use of current research on the way that memory works.