Five Levers to Improve Learning: How to Prioritize for Powerful Results in Your School

Five Levers to Improve Learning: How to Prioritize for Powerful Results in Your School

Five Levers to Improve Learning: How to Prioritize for Powerful Results in Your School

Five Levers to Improve Learning: How to Prioritize for Powerful Results in Your School

Synopsis

Why have decades of school reform had so little measurable effect on student achievement? Why have billions of dollars spent on technology, small-school initiatives, and school-choice options failed to improve our schools?

Too often, educators are simply pulling the wrong levers, say Tony Frontier and James Rickabaugh. They explain that the various components of schooling fall into five categories: structure, sample, standards, strategy, and self. Understanding how these five "levers" work--and their relative power--can help unlock the potential for lasting improvements in teaching and learning.

The authors show readers that changes to structure and sample (how schools are organized and how students are grouped) will not be effective without changes to standards (expectations for student learning), strategy (instructional strategies to engage students in meaningful learning), and self (the set of beliefs teachers and students have about their capacity to be effective).

At the heart of this book is a simple message for teachers, administrators, board members, and education policymakers at all levels: the key to success is not doing more work and making more changes, but doing the right work, and making the right changes.

Excerpt

Vignette 1: A New School

Based on the premise that “smaller is better,” Willow Wood School District was awarded a significant grant to create a small high school, with funding provided for various structural changes that would be required. The grant application had described how the smaller environment would create a more connected, personalized learning experience for students. In the initial months the district addressed complex logistical details and brought in architects to plan for changes to a wing of an existing high school. The district’s IT team began to plan for a new computer network. A planning committee was formed to discuss the mission and vision of the new school. It was decided that teachers would be trained in a comprehensive instructional methodology emphasizing authentic problem solving and workplace readiness. The district brought in a consultant to assist with marketing to appeal to students with an interest in 21st century manufacturing and international business. A school principal was selected. A name, Global Prosperity Academy, was chosen because it aligned with the adopted mission of providing an international education that would prepare students to thrive in a global economy.

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