”Tom Hatch draws on his vast knowledge gleaned from decades of involvement in school improvement efforts and his perceptive ethnography of six carefully selected schools. The result–which encompasses the essential big picture as well as the devilish details–is a wise synthesis of how to effect meaningful, lasting, positive changes in schools.”
– Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education
”Tom Hatch paints a concise but complete picture. Context, common purpose, hiring, productive work environments, building capacity, working on national purpose–it’s all here. This is a must have for those ready to tackle large scale reform in order to get new results.”
– Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
This book shows how school improvement efforts are often undermined by the changing conditions around schools, as well as by some of the very policies and programs designed to help them make improvements. Hatch argues that schools cannot wait around for conditions to improve or for policymakers to figure out how to provide the ”right” support. Schools need to create the conditions for their own success. To help them accomplish that, the author describes a small set of key practices that schools can use to get resources, manage external demands, and build their capacity to make and sustain improvements over time.
Drawing on the stories of real schools, this important book:
* Explains why even schools that have strong principals, committed teachers, and involved parents continue to struggle while other schools can get by even without displaying the usual features of effectiveness.
* Provides practical strategies to help schools take advantage of opportunities and respond to pressures in the external environment.
* Explains why some of the usual solutions to improving schools–like increasing pressure on low-performing schools, scaling-up programs, and school choice–don’t seem to be working the way they are supposed to.
* Offers a vision of the work that needs to be done at both the local and national level to support school improvement on a wider scale.