Engaging Every Learner

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Edited by: Alan M. Blankstein, Robert W. Cole & Paul D. Houston

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  • The Soul of Educational Leadership

    Alan M. Blankstein, Paul D. Houston, Robert W. Cole, Editors

    • Volume 1: Engaging EVERY Learner
    • Volume 2: Out-of-the-Box Leadership
    • Volume 3: Sustaining Professional Learning Communities
    • Volume 4: Spirituality in Educational Leadership
    • Volume 5: Sustainable Leadership Capacity
    • Volume 6: Leaders as Communicators and Diplomats
    • Volume 7: Data-Enhanced Leadership
    • Volume 8: The Schools of Our Dreams

    Copyright

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    Acknowledgments

    We wish to express our gratitude to those Corwin staff members who served as our lifeline on this entire project: Faye Zucker and Lizzie Brenkus, our superb editors; Gem Rabanera and Desirée Enayati, their delightful, punctilious editorial assistants; Kristen Gibson, who coordinated the painstaking task of turning a book's worth of manuscripts into a book; and Teresa Herlinger, who caught all the mistakes the rest of us missed. Without their unfailingly patient, knowledgeable work, there would be no Soul of Educational Leadership series. All of us are in their debt.

    Corwin Press gratefully thanks the following reviewer for his contribution to this book:

    Chuck Bonner, Assistant Principal, Great Valley High School, Malvern, PA.

    About the Editors

    Alan M. Blankstein is founder and president of the HOPE Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose honorary chair is Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The HOPE Foundation (Harnessing Optimism and Potential through Education) is dedicated to supporting educational leaders over time in creating school cultures where failure is not an option for any student. HOPE sustains student success.

    The HOPE Foundation catalyzed the learning community concept in education first by bringing W. Edwards Deming and his quality concepts to light through Shaping America's Future forums in the late 1980s, followed by PBS video conferences on learning organizations with Peter Senge and other leaders. Later, he published the Professional Learning Communities works of DuFour and other educational practitioners.

    A former “high-risk” youth, Alan began his career in education as a music teacher and has worked within youth-serving organizations since 1983, including the March of Dimes, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National Educational Service (NES), which he founded in 1987 and directed for 12 years.

    He speaks prolifically, has authored scores of journal articles, and has provided keynote presentations and workshops for virtually every major educational organization. He is author of the best-selling book Failure Is Not an Option: Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools, which has been awarded “Book of the Year” by the National Staff Development Council, and nominated for three other national and international awards.

    Alan is on the Harvard International Principals Center's advisory board, has served as a board member for Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, is cochair of Indiana University's Neal Marshall Black Culture Center's Community Network, and is advisor to the Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence mentoring program. Alan is also an advisory board member for the Forum on Race, Equity, and Human Understanding with the Monroe County Schools in Indiana, and has served on the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Child Care Agency (JCCA), in which he was once a youth-in-residence.

    Robert W. Cole, proprietor of Edu-Data, is an educational writer, editor, and consultant based in Louisville, KY, and Long Island, NY. His credentials include 14 years at Phi Delta Kappan magazine, the last 7 as editor-in-chief; 10 years as president of the Educational Press Association of America and member of the EdPress Board of Directors; 4 years as founding vice president of the Center for Leadership in School Reform; and 11 years as senior consultant to the National Reading Styles Institute. Bob is the editor of the best-selling ASCD book, Educating Everybody's Children. He has presented workshops, master classes, and lectures at universities nationwide, including Harvard University, Stanford University, and Indiana University.

    Paul D. Houston has served as executive director of the American Association of School Administrators since 1994.

    Dr. Houston has established himself as one of the leading spokespersons for American education through his extensive speaking engagements, published articles, and his regular appearances on national radio and television.

    Dr. Houston served previously as a teacher and building administrator in North Carolina and New Jersey. He has also served as assistant superintendent in Birmingham, Alabama, and as superintendent of schools in Princeton, New Jersey; Tucson, Arizona; and Riverside, California.

    He has also served in an adjunct capacity for the University of North Carolina, Harvard University, Brigham Young University, and Princeton University. Dr. Houston has served as a consultant and speaker throughout the United States and overseas, and he has published more than 100 articles in professional journals.

    About the Contributors

    Alan Boyle, director of Leannta Education Associates in London, organizes high-quality professional learning in the United Kingdom with world-class educators and collaborates with like-minded organizations in other countries. After teaching in urban schools for 20 years, Alan worked on an English national curriculum project and was a school inspector for 10 years. Alan has always worked in schools with challenging circumstances and has helped to turn around failing schools.

    Richard Farson has led several organizations noted for their innovative programs in human affairs. As president of the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, which he helped found in 1958, he directs the Institute's centerpiece program, The International Leadership Forum, an Internet-based think tank composed entirely of highly influential leaders addressing the critical policy issues of our time.

    Long interested in the field of design, he was the founding dean of the School of Design at the California Institute of the Arts, and a 30-year member of the Board of Directors of the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado, of which he was president for seven years. In 1999, he was elected as the one public director (non-architect) to the national Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects.

    A University of Chicago PhD in psychology, he has been a naval officer, president of Esalen Institute, a faculty member of the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, and a member of the Human Relations Faculty of the Harvard Business School.

    His books include Science and Human Affairs, The Future of the Family, Birthrights, and more recently, the critically acclaimed bestseller, Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership, now published in 11 languages. With coauthor Ralph Keyes, his new book, Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation, was just published by Free Press/Simon & Schuster. An article based on this book won the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article published in 2002, the one “most likely to have a major influence on managers worldwide.”

    Thomas R. Guskey is a professor of educational policy studies and evaluation at the University of Kentucky. He has been a teacher at all levels, served as an administrator in the Chicago public schools, and has worked in the area of professional development for more than 20 years. Guskey has written widely and is a regular presenter at the annual conference of the National Staff Development Council.

    Merita Irby is the managing director of the Forum for Youth Investment, which she cofounded in 1998 with Karen Pittman. Committed to increasing the quality and quantity of youth investment and youth involvement in the United States, the Forum supports organizations and communities that invest in young people by promoting a “big picture” approach to planning, research, advocacy, and policy development among the broad range of organizations that help communities invest in children, youth, and families. The Forum for Youth Investment is the core operating division of Impact Strategies, Inc.

    Merita began her career as a classroom teacher in Central America and in inner-city schools in the United States. As a senior research associate at Stanford University, she worked on a five-year study of community-based urban youth organizations and coauthored Urban Sanctuaries: Neighborhood Organizations in the Lives and Futures of Inner-City Youth. Teaming up with Karen at the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research, Merita directed a multi-site study on school collaboration with youth organizations. In 1995, she joined Karen in starting the President's Crime Prevention Council, chaired by then-Vice President Al Gore. Following that, Karen and Merita joined the International Youth Foundation (IYF), charged with creating its Learning Department, facilitating learning among IYF's Global Partner Network and developing a U.S. strategy, which later gave rise to the Forum. Merita received her Master's in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

    Delores B. Lindsey, assistant professor of educational administration, California State University, San Marcos, is coauthor with Kikanza Nuri Robins, Randall Lindsey, and Raymond Terrell of the video and book Culturally Proficient Instruction: A Guide for People Who Teach (2nd ed., 2006). Delores is also coauthor with Richard Martinez and Randall Lindsey of Culturally Proficient Coaching (2006). She is a former school site and county office administrator. As a professor, she serves schools, districts, and county offices as an Adaptive Schools associate and a Cognitive CoachingSM trainer and facilitator.

    Randall B. Lindsey, professor emeritus, California State University, Los Angeles, is coauthor of three books and a forthcoming video on cultural proficiency. Randy is a former high school teacher, school administrator, and staff developer on issues of school desegregation and equity, and a university professor of educational leadership. He consults and coaches school districts as they develop culturally proficient leaders.

    He is a coauthor with Kikanza Nuri Robins and Raymond Terrell of Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders (2nd ed., 2003). Randy also is coauthor with Stephanie Graham, R. Chris Westphal, and Cynthia Jew of Culturally Proficient Equity Audits (due to be published spring, 2007).

    Antoinette Mitchell is vice president of Unit Accreditation at the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), where she is responsible for overseeing the accreditation process for over 700 educator preparation programs across the country. She is an expert in teacher quality and related education policy and has experience in implementing performance assessment systems in educational settings. Prior to her work at NCATE, Dr. Mitchell was a research associate in the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, where she led evaluations of exemplary schools and school districts, standards-based reforms, and other programs designed to improve the education of public school students. Prior to her work as an evaluator, she taught secondary social studies at Hine Jr. High School in Southeast Washington, DC. She received a BA in political science from Columbia College, Columbia University, and a Master's degree and PhD in education from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Pedro A. Noguera is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, and codirector of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings. His most recent publications are Unfinished Business: Closing the Achievement Gap in Our Nation's Schools (2006) and Beyond Resistance: Youth Civic Engagement and Social Change (2006).

    Stephen Peters, former classroom teacher, assistant principal, and principal of a Virginia Blue Ribbon School, is currently President/CEO of The Peters Group.

    Mr. Peters formerly led the 1,100-student Lafayette-Winona Middle School, once marred by violence and extremely low test scores, into recognition as a Virginia Blue Ribbon School. Through a partnership with teachers and the school community, Mr. Peters and his team conceptualized effective intervention strategies like “The Gentlemen's Club,” as a means of capturing children, inspiring their dreams, and giving them hope.

    Mr. Peters has shared his practical strategies, philosophies, beliefs, and message of hope with organizations and school districts throughout the United States and has been featured on such television programs as The Oprah Winfrey Show and America America.

    Karen J. Pittman is the senior vice president at the International Youth Foundation (IYF). Before joining IYF, Karen worked for the Clinton Administration as director of the president's Crime Prevention Council. She is the founder of the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research and has worked at the Urban Institute and the Children's Defense Fund. A widely published author, Karen has written three books and dozens of articles on youth issues, and is a regular columnist and requested speaker. Currently, she sits on the boards of the E. M. Kauffman Foundation, Educational Testing Service, and the American Youth Work Center and is a member of the National Research Council's Forum on Adolescence.

    Introduction

    Robert W.Cole

    Teaching children is surely a vocation, a calling—not just a job. Teachers feel called as surely as clerics do, and it's an unfortunate sign of the difficulties of teaching that so many newly ordained aspirants flee the classroom—as many as 20% within the first year, and half within the first five years. If teaching offers rewards, it can also exact a fearsome price. Teaching makes enormous demands of those who would enter its ranks—demands of time and energy, yes, but also demands of dedication and worthiness. Deep demands—demands of the soul.

    If teaching is a demanding calling, so too is the work of leading teachers and whole communities of parents and taxpayers in the grand task of education. Principals and superintendents know well the need to be vigilant, visible—to be eternally available. Time is the demon of teachers and their leaders; there will never be enough hours to do all that needs doing. Like any calling, the work of educational leadership has its unique sacrifices. Possibly the most trying sacrifice is that the leader can become removed by degrees from children—the reason most administrators entered the vocation in the first place.

    All in all, the nature of the work to be done in schools—lifting young people, readying them for life—necessarily is a work that calls on the hearts, the minds, and the souls of those who work within the schoolhouse doors. In fact, that was originally the organizing title of this entire series: The Heart, Mind, and Soul of Educational Leadership. The paring and accommodating that inevitably accompany any joint effort brought us to the title that this multivolume series now bears: The Soul of Educational Leadership.

    This first volume, Engaging EVERY Learner, was selected to send a signal—of all-inclusiveness. Every student matters deeply, to all of us in school and in our society. Subsequent volumes will play different variations by leading thinkers and practitioners in the field on the soul-work of educational leadership. But the overarching theme in this initial volume was sounded by Alan Blankstein—editor of this series, together with myself and Paul Houston—when he wrote, “Saving young people from failure in school is equivalent to saving their lives!” Alan's practical and inspiring opening chapter focuses on “how courageous leaders engage all stakeholders—even the most challenging ones—to ensure school cultures in which failure is not an option for any student. It is not easy or simple work, yet it can be done.”

    Those powerful words set the tone for all that we hope to do in this series: “It is not easy or simple work, yet it can be done.” And more, too: We know how to do what must be done. The work of Alan's HOPE Foundation offers the lessons learned from creating sustainable learning communities, where failure is not an option for any child. This is where our work begins. Alan opens this volume, and then invites Pedro Noguera to take part in a conversation that deepens the discussion. Pedro is a professor in the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, executive director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, and codirector of the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings.

    Next, Randall and Delores Lindsey write about “Culturally Proficient Equity Audits: A Tool for Engaging Every Learner.” They move from a global perspective of struggles to make the democracy in this country inclusive, to local initiatives for access, equity, and high achievement for everybody's children. Randy, a former high school teacher and school administrator, is professor emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles. Delores, a former school site and county office administrator, is assistant professor of educational administration, California State University, San Marcos.

    Antoinette Mitchell is vice president of Unit Accreditation at the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), where she is responsible for overseeing the accreditation process for over 700 educator preparation programs across the United States. In “The Emergence of a Knowledge Base for Teaching Diverse Learners in Big-City Schools: From Practice to Theory to Practice,” she addresses the school-based solutions that can help teachers succeed with all children.

    Stephen Peters contributes “Capture, Inspire, Teach!: Reflections on High Expectations for Every Learner.” His passion as a teacher is this: “working with children who at many junctures in their lives had been eliminated—eliminated from conversations, dreams, hope, and learning.” Stephen is a former classroom teacher at a Virginia Blue Ribbon School, assistant principal at a National Blue Ribbon School, and principal of a Virginia Blue Ribbon School. Currently he serves as President/CEO of The Peters Group.

    “The gaps in the achievement of different groups of students have been evident for decades,” says Thomas Guskey, author of “All Our Children Learning: New Views on the Work of Benjamin S. Bloom.” He asks how we can use what we know to make real progress. A professor of educational policy studies and evaluation at the University of Kentucky, Guskey has been a teacher at all levels and has served as an administrator in the Chicago Public Schools.

    Karen Pittman and Merita Irby, in “Engaging Every Learner: Blurring the Lines for Learning to Ensure That All Young People Are Ready for College, Work, and Life,” argue that states and communities can change the odds for young people. Doing so, they maintain, requires making fundamental changes in the ways they do business. Karen Pittman is senior vice president at the International Youth Foundation (IYF). Merita Irby is managing director of the Forum for Youth Investment, which she and Pittman cofounded.

    Alan Boyle, director of Leannta Education Associates in London, organizes high-quality professional learning in the United Kingdom and collaborates with like-minded organizations in other countries. A product of his 20 years of teaching in urban schools, “Compassionate Intervention: Helping Failing Schools to Turn Around” suggests that we need to invent a way of fixing problems the first time we try. “If the cost of fixing failing schools seems high, the cost of not repairing them is even higher,” Boyle says.

    The final chapter, “The Case for Failure: Risk, Innovation, and Engagement,” by Richard Farson, suggests that failure is a necessary step to success. What all of us really need—students, teachers, and administrators alike—is not evaluation but engagement. Farson has led several organizations noted for their innovative programs in human affairs. As president of the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, which he helped found in 1958, he directs the Institute's centerpiece program, the International Leadership Forum, an Internet-based think tank composed entirely of highly influential leaders addressing the critical policy issues of our time.

    This volume begins a series that will take four years to complete, and it begins in the proper place: with an attention to the urgent need to engage all young people in the work of learning—work that can shape the course of their lives. Again, as Alan Blankstein says in our opening chapter, “It is not easy or simple work, yet it can be done.” It is our aim to help strengthen you for this task.

  • Corwin Press

    The Corwin Press logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin Press is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK-12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin Press continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do Their Work Better.”

    Hope Foundation

    The HOPE Foundation logo stands for Harnessing Optimism and Potential Through Education. The HOPE Foundation helps to develop and support educational leaders over time at district- and state-wide levels to create school cultures that sustain all students' achievement, especially low-performing students.

    American Association of School Administrators

    The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across America and in many other countries. AASA's mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children.

    National Association of Elementary School Principals Serving All Elementary and Middle Level Principals

    The 29,500 members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals provide administrative and instructional leadership for public and private elementary and middle schools throughout the United States, Canada, and overseas. Founded in 1921, NAESP is today a vigorously independent professional association with its own headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the nation's capital. From this special vantage point, NAESP conveys the unique perspective of the elementary and middle school principal to the highest policy councils of our national government. Through national and regional meetings, award-winning publications, and joint efforts with its 50 state affiliates, NAESP is a strong advocate both for its members and for the 33 million American children enrolled in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1 through 8.


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