Changing Our Schools: Linking School Effectiveness and School Improvement

By Louise Stoll; Dean Fink | Go to book overview

PREFACE AND
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

There is a story, apocryphal no doubt, about two people lost in the woods of northern Canada. They staggered from the bush into a small town, tired, hungry and dishevelled; they asked the first local, 'how do you get to Toronto?' The local's laconic answer was, 'Well, I wouldn't start from here'. In some ways, this book is like our story. It is not the one we originally set out to write. We both had spent a number of years heavily involved in an effective schools project with the Halton school district in Ontario, Canada, and had documented the project thoroughly. The 'Halton Story' would have been easy to write and, we thought, a timely contribution to the change literature. Like most things in education in the past few years, events moved much too quickly. School systems throughout the world have come under political attack. Decentralization, market-based reforms and high stakes testing, among other changes, have become accepted practice. A retrospective about a system-led change process, therefore, seemed somewhat out of step with the times. So we shifted our focus to a riskier, but we think more useful approach to change. We attempt throughout to describe a future which we believe is both inevitable and desirable. Our Halton years, our experiences since we left the Halton Board, and developing areas of research have led us in directions which we had scarcely contemplated when we first began our discussions about a book.

We intend this book for anyone seriously interested in changing schools to improve the lives of all pupils. In particular, it is written to assist principals/ heads, school development teams, all school partners and education students to conceptualize the issues and to provide them with some concrete suggestions. It is our intention also that the academic community will find it a useful adjunct to the school effectiveness and school improvement literature.

-xi-

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