Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement

Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement

Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement

Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement


Since the publication of Building Leadership Capacity in Schools in 1998, educators around the world have used Linda Lambert's ideas to strengthen their own institutions. Lambert subsequently visited some of these schools to see how her book had affected them. Though all the educators she spoke with agreed on the importance of high leadership capacity, they also had many questions about how best to achieve this goal. Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement is the author's attempt to answer those questions. Lambert begins this book by outlining the conditions necessary for high leadership capacity, followed by a comprehensive overview of steps schools should take to meet these criteria. According to the author, the five major prerequisites for high leadership capacity are:?Skillful participation in the work of leadership ?Inquiry-based use of data to inform decisions and practice ?Broad involvement and collective responsibility for student learning?Reflective practice that leads to innovation?High or steadily improving student achievementIn discussing each of these items, Lambert quotes at length from her conversations with educators worldwide, offering real-life examples of leadership enhancement techniques in practice. The book is also filled with questions and activities for the reader, a rubric and continuum of emerging teacher leadership, staff and school surveys, and a district problem-solving policy--making it ideal for novice and veteran educators alike. Linda Lambert is founder of and professor emeritus at the Center for Educational Leadership at California State University, Hayward. She is coauthor of The Constructivist Leader (1995) and Who Will Save Our Schools: Teachers as Constructivist Leaders (1997) and author of Building Leadership Capacity in Schools (1998).


In the pages that follow, Linda Lambert builds on the success of her third book, Building Leadership Capacity in Schools (1998), to further help us get from where we are to where we want to be. Leadership capacity, we learn, depends on understanding the connection between participation and skillfulness. Linda helps us understand how to develop participation and create structures that let educators work and learn together and share leadership responsibilities.

Leadership is about contributing to, learning from, and influencing the learning of others. But it is also about creating the opportunities for others to learn: when skillfully approached, professional development is as much about adult learning as student learning. Adults learn to be colleagues when they are able to practice being colleagues—and in doing so, to understand that students can be colleagues as well. The importance of building reciprocal rather than dependent relationships is at the heart of Linda's conception of leadership capacity, and this book teaches us not only the differences between dependency and reciprocity, but also how to move from the former to the latter.

A major tenet of leadership capacity is that development of teacher leadership should include students as well as fellow educators. Connecting participation to skill and adult learning to student learning allows us to think effectively about leadership and to embrace a vision of a school culture that supports—rather than thwarts—teachers.

Teacher leadership does not replace, but rather augments, principal leadership. Throughout this book, Linda shows us the varied means that principals use to control or open up participation, and how they can move . . .

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