• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

How great groups make great schools

Training leaders how to conduct effective meetings is important, but it's not enough to ensure that the professional development process is valuable. This field book shows educators how to develop group culture, enhance facilitators' skills, and optimize the group's most precious resource—its members. The authors describe how to form working committees, task forces, grade-level, and department teams, and faculties that are more effective and better equipped to resolve complex issues around student learning. Specific topics include

Understanding eight principles that underlie effective groups; Learning the five standards for effective meetings; Setting clear goals and roles; Practicing new ways of talking for improved collaboration; Examining perceptions and mental models; Enhancing energy sources; Working with conflict; Developing basic facilitation skills

This practical guide's special features include the newly updated seven norms of collaboration, a sample team assessment survey, instruments for assessing meeting effectiveness, an extensive bibliography, and practical examples embedded throughout the text. Practitioners will find a valuable road map for leading effective, student-focused school improvement efforts.


National improvement on standardized tests seems a goal just out of reach. The lack of improvement in overall school performance is evident both in the research literature and in the media (Good & McCaslin, 2008). But this is not the full story. In Illinois, California, and Nebraska; in Hawaii, Ohio, and Idaho; in New York, Calgary, and many other settings, urban and rural, rich and poor, some schools are making a difference for students. The difference is measured in unusual progress on standardized tests, improved attendance, higher graduation rates, and the exuberant smiles of students being pressed and supported in their learning and play.

What dynamics have enabled some schools to become these islands of optimism? The answers are neither simple nor easy. For schools ...

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