Book Reviews

Building Shared Responsibility for Student Learning

by Anne Conzemius and Jan O’Neill

One of the most challenging aspects of school reform is building a system that shares responsibility and commitment for improvements in student learning.

In many school districts the school improvement efforts of well-intentioned people are not well-coordinated and may be ineffective. Students, teachers, administrators, support staff and parents all must share the responsibility for student learning to be effective.

Building Shared Responsibility for Student Learning, by Anne Conzemius and Jan O’Neill, is an excellent resource for administrators interested in developing a system that by design invites effective participation by all participants in school improvement. The authors identify a framework for shared responsibility that includes the elements of focus, reflection and collaboration.

They define focus as a shared, unwavering commitment to the goal of improving student results. Reflection provides time for analysis of current performance using data when possible. Collaboration is defined as "the process of developing interdependent relationships where all are focused on a common purpose and set of goals and where people must rely on each other to achieve these goals."

The authors provide several helpful strategies for central-office administrators, making this an excellent resource.

(Building Shared Responsibility for Student Learning, by Anne Conzemius and Jan O’Neill, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 2001, 146 pp., $23.95 softcover. Available from