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Battling the Hamster Wheel(TM)
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Battling the Hamster Wheel(TM)
Strategies for Making High School Reform Work

Edited by:
  • Grace Sammon - President, GMS Partners, Co-Founder, National Career Academy Coalition, Founder, The Business Institute for Educators

November 2005 | 136 pages | Corwin

Looking for effective strategies and best practices to break the cycle of ineffective school reform implementation?

Author Grace Sammon takes a sobering look at the state of high school reform and identifies the elements that keep us "running in place", rather than making progress on a road to success. Battling the Hamster Wheel™ offers research-based insights and strategies, stories from the field, and humor to help lead change agents and school leaders in a reform process to build the school communities they seek to create. It also provides the skills to establish and sustain the critical elements for schools' success:

  • Demonstrating high expectations and a matching vision
  • Building capacity to create a true climate for success
  • Thinking small and dreaming big
  • Engaging in legitimate community support
  • Thriving with strong, sustained, and shared leadership
  • Effectively aligning and managing resources
  • Understanding the importance of time

This insightful resource includes a built-in book study and facilitator's guide for school boards, administrators, teachers, consultants, and students of education, and for professional development events. 


 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. The Battle Begins
 
2. The Skunk Is on the Table
 
3. D.U.C.K.S. Come in F.L.O.C.K.S
 
4. Glass Balls and Hedgehogs
 
5. The Simple Truth
 
References
 
Index
 
Book Study and Facilitation Guide

"Battling the Hamster Wheel™  takes a hard and honest look at what is and isn't working in our schools. (The author's) humor, common sense, and research have real pay offs for those engaged in reform."

Armando Alaniz, Assistant Superintendent for High School Improvement and Accountability
Houston Independent School District

"Battling the Hamster Wheel™ goes well behyond the sphere of eudcation, (which) is only a beginning point. The lessons have real applicability for all of our organizations and for ourselves."

Sharon E. Barrett, Former Director for Minority and Women
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

"Battling the Hamster Wheel™  provides just the right balance between looking at the real truth about our high schools and providing the motivation, skills, and abilities to make real change."

Melba Kennedy, Louisiana State Department of Education

""Sammon's years of experience in the field as practitioner and consultant have resulted in real rewards for schools serious about the reform process. Her approach in Battling the Hamster Wheel™  provides us with a clear image and useful strategies for 'jumping off the wheel' and engaging in a productive process of effective reform."

Patricia W. McNeil, Former Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Education

"This is one of the few treatises that I have read over the past several years that is based on reality, rather than ideology; on collective learning, rather than philosophical imposition; on the grassroots, rather than that of top-down reformers; and on the 'lay of the land' rather than preconceptions."

Arnold F. Fege, Director
Public Engagement and Advocacy

"A comprehensive approach to organizational change. Sammon presents readers with the motivation and strategies to engage in effective, meaningful change."

Curriculum Connections, Fall 2006
School Library Journal
Key features

-          Practical, accessible language with humorous and poignant examples

-          Rich array of "from the field" stories reflecting the national picture on school reform along with solid data and research regarding the state of the American high school

-          A clear understanding of the state of stalled school reforms

-          A metaphor that will enable them to identify when they are making gains and when they are "on the hamster wheel"

-          Specific steps to take to build success in schools

-          A challenge to get off and stay "off the wheel"

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1


For instructors

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