Align the Design: A Blueprint for School Improvement

Align the Design: A Blueprint for School Improvement

Align the Design: A Blueprint for School Improvement

Align the Design: A Blueprint for School Improvement


"This is our THIRD school improvement plan! Why aren't we seeing any results?"

"We have all of this data, but we don't know what to do with it!"

"What does this workshop have to do with the goals we set for our school?

Many of today's school leaders have all the latest tools, techniques, and programs for school improvement. Unfortunately, some leaders fail to create real, sustainable results for their schools because they use one or two "flavor-of-the-month" strategies without connecting all the pieces together for real improvement.

In Align the Design: A Blueprint for School Improvement, Nancy J. Mooney and Ann T. Mausbach emphasize the importance of coordinating essential school improvement processes to increase staff capacity, improve student achievement, and develop effective schools. The authors show school leaders how to use "power tools" to

•Develop effective curriculum

•Make the most of their school's data

•Create successful school improvement plans

•Implement valuable professional development sessions and workshops

•Use efficient supervisory techniques

•Foster leadership for school improvement

Each chapter includes personal reflections from the authors and lists of touchstone texts that have inspired their efforts.

At a time when school leaders are trying to translate urgent calls for higher achievement into actions that work, Align the Design provides expert guidance and practical tools that will help educators work more purposefully together to create better schools for their students.


Many of you know how it feels to be on a diet and not be successful. You stick to your diet plan during the week, but you find yourself bingeing on the weekend or special occasions. After you successfully lose the weight, the minute you go off the diet, you gain all of the weight back and then some.

One of the major reasons that diets fail is that individuals don’t do all the things that are necessary to lose weight. Successful dieters must look at all the principles that make weight loss attainable, such as setting goals, sticking to a realistic eating plan, exercising consistently, and joining a support group. A lack of attention to any of these processes will yield diminished results, dieter frustration, and, ultimately, abandoning the diet.

Diet failure also occurs because so many people view diets as a quick fix rather than a lifestyle change. Dieting can’t be something that occurs five days a week and then thrown out the window whenever the mood strikes. Long-term, sustainable weight loss is a result of rethinking what and how you eat and increasing your daily physical activity. It has to be a lifetime commitment and a lifestyle change.

Why are we discussing diets in a book focused on school improvement and student achievement? The lessons learned from unsuccessful diets provide insight into why school improvement efforts for many schools and districts have failed. School improvement efforts can often feel like the latest diet fad. It is not uncommon to see school administrators implement programs that they think will make a difference, only to abandon them a year later because of a lack of results, commitment, or follow-through. It is also not uncommon to see principals and teachers . . .

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