The School Administrator

March 2011 Cover

March 2011 Number 3, Vol. 68Leading a School TurnaroundWithout a research base of support, can transformation work at a low-peforming site?


  • School Transformation: Can It Work?


    The most popular of the four federal options for academically struggling schools carries a series of aggressive practices, never packaged previously. Without a research base on which to proceed, how this option will play out remains uncertain.

    Similar Reading: A Tsunami of Reform: Hard Moments Preparing for Change and AASA’s Executive Consultants Can Help With School Turnarounds

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  • Turnaround Necessities


    Based on their work in 43 school districts, the authors identify what it takes to turn around a chronically low-performing school and to do so taking a systemic rather than school-by-school approach.

    Similar Reading: Additional Resources

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  • Overcoming Resistance to Change


    How to marry the emotional and the rational to be an effective change agent, according to the co-authors of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. They’ve produced a game plan for understanding how resistance to change arises from a conflict that wages within our own minds whenever we think about a change.

    Similar Reading: Weast on Switch

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  • Connecting Hearts in the Workplace


    The lead author of The Why of Work sees ways for school leaders to create a deeper sense of meaning in the work of transformation. Writing here with a co-author from the principal ranks, he’s developed seven principles for helping educators accomplish this.

    Similar Reading: Weast on The Why of Work

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    The Road Runner's Persistent Push by PAUL RIEDE

    The discipline that’s required to complete 11 marathon runs helps an Oregon superintendent to focus his mind on outcomes when he’s in the workplace.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    Boards, Personnel and Confidentiality by NICHOLAS D. CARUSO JR.

    Our columnist on governance matters suggests school board members ought not to be using executive sessions to hide their involvement in hiring decisions. His advice to superintendents: Bring in legal counsel to advise boards on the statutory limits of their actions.

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    Targeting Voters in a School Bond Election by SCOTT R. MILDER

    Through the use of social media and voter-targeting software, school districts can promote a successful vote on a budget or tax levy by connecting with registered voters who are the most likely to go to the polls. The author, a consultant with a Dallas-based firm, offers some proven engagement tactics.

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    President's Corner

    Let’s Turn Around and See What We’re Doing by EDGAR B. HATRICK

    The need to improve our schools should lead to “courageous conversations” that provide a forum for all stakeholders to talk honestly. School leaders can use these conversations to affirm existing strategies and suggest changes to bolster student performance.

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    The magazine’s monthly compilation of superintendents moving on to new positions elsewhere, along with retirement announcements.

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    Tech Leadership

    Tweeting in Schools by JOSEPH E. ZYDOWSKY

    Although Twitter messages have their tight limits, a superintendent in Wisconsin describes how his school district has benefited in several ways when sharing information with the community. He’s also identified personal advantages to tweeting and retweeting.

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    Guest Column

    What If? by ELI BROAD

    Philanthropist Eli Broad likes to ponder the possibilities of new initiatives in K-12 education. He asks school leaders to surmount their natural skepticism while considering new ideas for propelling students to higher achievement.

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    Executive Perspective

    Unproven Federal Models by DANIEL A. DOMENECH

    Those who are turning around failing schools are well aware of the key ingredients for success, notably effective site leaders. However, the U.S. Department of Education’s four intervention models that require removal of the principal shortchange the superintendent’s ability to make that determination.

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