Book Review

Collaborative Leadership in Action

Partnering for Success in Schools

edited by Shelley B. Wepner and Dee Hopkins, Teachers College Press, New York, N.Y., 2010, 224 pp. with index, $36.95 softcover

 

Race to the Top has at least three priorities that emphasize partnerships. Most competitive grants, in fact, give serious weight to collaborative efforts, and the biggest money is attached to comprehensive programs that require expertise from a variety of entities.

 

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Excellent leadership in a school system is about positive relationships that build capacity for quality programming for students. We often hear, “Schools can’t do it alone.” In fact, schools can’t. But partnerships bring entities together that are able to incorporate a variety of strengths and skills that are powerful because of their synchronicity. The innovative programs for children that have sustained and grown over time across the United States are the result of healthy collaboration.

Collaborative Leadership in Action: Partnering for Success in Schools, edited by Shelley Wepner, dean of Manhattanville College’s School of Education in New York, and Dee Hopkins, dean of West Virginia University’s College of Human Resources and Education, focuses on the development of skills necessary for productive collaboration.

The book is a well-written and engaging collaborative effort, with contributing authors from a variety of institutions. Examples of partnerships are liberally included throughout the book and provide illustrations of success.

This book provides information on sustaining collaborations, as well, because collaborative efforts are complex and involve not only creativity, but persistence, ongoing communication and problem-solving strategies. The chapter on assessment is excellent and focuses on this oft-neglected aspect of partnerships, evaluation and improvement, which ultimately provides for sustainability of those partnerships.

Reviewed by Marilyn King, assistant superintendent, Bozeman Public Schools, Bozeman, Mont.