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Book Review                                     Online Exclusive

 
How to Create a Culture of

Achievement in Your Schools

and Classrooms   

by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Ian Pumpian, ASCD, Alexandria, Va., 2012, 223 pp. with index, $27.95 softcover

BookHowtoCreate

It is generally accepted that the culture of a school influences the achievement of the students. In How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your Schools and Classrooms, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Ian Pumpian, professors at San Diego State University, propose practices and structures aimed at promoting a culture where the school’s mission will be “operationalized” and student achievement will be improved.

The authors propose five pillars as the foundation on which a culture of achievement should be built. These include welcoming all stakeholders; establishing school rules that teach students to become well-behaved citizens; and using language that positively influences a student’s self-concept and desire to achieve.

To help the reader establish each pillar, the authors provide “service cycles,” listings of procedures that support implementation. Also provided in the appendix are 19 “action research tools” including worksheets, surveys and rubrics.

The authors make a good case for these strategies promoting student achievement. Many of the suggestions are easy to implement and should be present in any well-run organization. Others are more complex and will take time, commitment and a lot of professional development to address.
How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your Schools and Classrooms, is primarily aimed at the building level, although it could spark valuable discussions at the district level. Central-office staff may want to discuss how the pillars apply to the culture of the district and how principals can be assisted in improving the culture in their respective buildings.

Reviewed by Leonard H. Elovitz, associate professor of educational leadership, Kean University, Union, N.J.

 

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