Organizing Schools for Improvement

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2010-01-14
Publisher(s): Univ of Chicago Pr
List Price: $30.00

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In 1988, the Chicago public school system decentralized, granting parents and communities significant resources and authority to reform their schools in dramatic ways. To track the effects of this bold experiment, the authors of Organizing Schools for Improvement collected a wealth of data on elementary schools in Chicago. Over a seven-year period they identified one hundred elementary schools that had substantially improved—and one hundred that had not. What did the successful schools do to accelerate student learning?

The authors of this illuminating book identify a comprehensive set of practices and conditions that were key factors for improvement, including school leadership, the professional capacity of the faculty and staff, and a student-centered learning climate. In addition, they analyze the impact of social dynamics, including crime, critically examining the inextricable link between schools and their communities. Putting their data onto a more human scale, they also chronicle the stories of two neighboring schools with very different trajectories. The lessons gleaned from this groundbreaking study will be invaluable for anyone involved with urban education.

"Organizing Schools for Improvement has some pretty convincing conclusions on what characteristics separate successful schools from unsuccessful ones. The book offers important advice for people involved in any school, regardless of location or student background."-Alan Borsuk, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Striking in its attention to the influence of community and educator participation in school reform, and sobering in its assessment of some of the neighborhoods where reform was most difficult to attain, the book Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago is an essential read. . . . Bryk et al. provide a rigorous and compelling empirical study of the possibility for school reform and the degrees of compromise, particularly in contexts where extreme poverty and racial and ethnic isolation prevail."-Teachers College Record

Author Biography

Anthony S. Bryk is president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Penny Bender Sebring is founding codirector of the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) at the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago. Elaine Allensworth is codirector for statistical analysis at CCSR. Stuart Luppescu is chief psychometrician at CCSR. John Q. Easton is executive director at CCSR.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prologue: A Tale of Two Schoolsp. l
Introduction: A Rare Opportunity to Learn about School Improvementp. 12
Developing appropriate outcome indicatorsp. 29
A framework of essential supportsp. 42
Testing the framework of the essential supportsp. 79
Probing deeper: organizational mechanismsp. 97
Trust, size, and stability: key enablersp. 137
The influences of community contextp. 158
Summary and Conclusionsp. 197
Socioeconomic Status Factorp. 223
A Value-Added Indicator: A School's Academic Productivity Profilep. 225
Overview of the Fourteen Indicators for the Five Essential Supportsp. 231
Probability Experiment to Evaluate Results Presented in Figure 3.3p. 242
Interview Questions from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoodsp. 245
Coefficients from Analyses of Leadership in Chapter 4p. 246
Value-Added Replication Results for 1997 through 2005p. 250
Efforts of the Consortium on Chicago School Research to Build More Productive Ties between Research, Practice, and Policy to Improve Practicep. 252
Notesp. 257
Referencesp. 285
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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