Saturday, May 27, 2006

Slow Schools Movement

The latest edition of Educational Leadership has a collection of articles on Challenging the Status Quo. Editor Margaret Scherer begins by citing Andy Hargreaves who articulated the seven characteristics of sustainable change for schools. The first characteristic is depth. Scherer explains:
...schools that undertook reform slowly and persistently produced greater lasting effects on student achievement than did those trying to get immediate returns. Teaching to the test, reducing learning to scripts and pacing guides, or concentrating primarily on lifting up only those students who are just below the proficiency line are short-term strategies. Instead, schools should join the "slow schools movement," he urged, and that means "concentrating on teaching for understanding and connecting to all students."

Although as a leader I feel like I have bounced back in forth from long-term to short-term solutions, I wholeheartedly want to see us engage in the type of slow school reform that leads to lasting change. That's why I'm optimistic that our renewed instructional focus, partnership with Debra Crouch, and our collaboration time will be the vehicles to help gain new insights into teaching for understanding that are developed and spread from teachers learning together as opposed to a principal or district office mandate. The former type of program has all the benefits of buy in and durability! Looking forward to the adventure with this amazing Halecrest staff.

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