Book Review

Creating Dynamic Schools through Mentoring, Coaching, and Collaboration

by Judy F. Carr, Nancy Herman, and Douglas E. Harris, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 2005, 164 pp. with index, $26.95 softcover

A school environment where everyone works together to meet students’ needs and to improve the learning of each child is a necessity in our complex society. A collegial school culture makes such an environment possible to support students and the adults in the system.

In their book Creating Dynamic Schools Through Mentoring, Coaching, and Collaboration, Judy F. Carr, Nancy Herman and Douglas E. Harris provide practical strategies for identifying potential leaders among classroom teachers, selecting coaches and strengthening professional development capabilities; recognizing and maximizing the talents of veteran teachers and beginning teachers; establishing a self-renewing mentoring program; and designing and running effective study groups.

The learning community where adults and children are active learners creates a dynamic environment where the expertise of each person is recognized and valued. Orchestrating the system so every teacher can be a valuable leader involves sharing decision making and addressing inevitable conflicts. The book provides practical strategies in step-by-step formats for creating such a system.

The organization of study groups and the building and sustaining of learning communities complete the focus of the book on the creation of schools that work well together to meet the needs of all of their students.

For the administrator who is seeking an overview of various involvement strategies to stimulate true and lasting conversations and commitment to student learning, this book is an excellent source. Its checklists and well-organized appendices make it ideal for educational leaders who intend to make a difference.

Reviewed by Linda Gray Smith, superintendent, Worth County RIII School District, Grant City, Mo.