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Transforming School Climate and Learning

Transforming School Climate and Learning
Beyond Bullying and Compliance

Foreword by Raymond J. McNulty

June 2011 | 184 pages | Corwin

Creating safe schools from the inside out

This book details a comprehensive process for empowering students and teachers as school improvement leaders and "experts." Bill Preble and Rick Gordon explain how schools can use the SafeMeasures™ collaborative action research process to:

  • Collect and analyze school climate data
  • Develop improvement goals
  • Create exciting and inspiring action plans to dramatically improve their school's climate and student engagement

Each chapter features success stories from real schools, strategies and implementation activities, and book study questions that help all stakeholders transform both their school climate and student learning.

Foreword by Raymond J. McNulty
About the Authors
Introduction: Bringing Our Schools Into Balance
Beyond Bullying, Beyond Compliance  
Getting Beyond Piecemeal Problem Solving  
The Rational for This Book: School Climate as a Key to School Safety, Student Motivation, and Academic Achievement  
Guideposts for School Leaders: Administrators, Teachers, AND Students  
Organization of the Book  
Why Read This Book?  
Students and Teachers as Partners in Transforming School Climate  
1. School Climate: The Heart and Soul of a School
Making Meaningful Improvement in Schools  
Why Is School Climate Important?  
School Climate and Effective Schools  
Essential School Climate Factors  
We All Want Respectful Schools  
What Teachers and Students Mean by Respect  
Beeper Studies: Our Original Research on Respectful Schools  
The Respect Continuum: A Practical Theory of Respect  
The Disrespect Side of the Continuum  
The Respect Side of the Continuum  
How Schools Use the Respect Continuum  
Initial Success in One District  
Looking Beyond Stopping Misbehavior  
Making It Real: A Real-Life Respectful School  
Book Study Questions  
2. The SafeMeasures Process: A Student-Led, Collaborative Action Research Process
Sarason's Research on School Change  
Balancing Adult and Student Leadership  
The SafeMeasures Process: An Overview  
Bandura's Research on Self-Efficacy  
Looking Deeply at Collaborative Action Research  
Emancipatory Research  
Making It Real: School Climate Improvement  
Book Study Questions  
3. Stage One: Everyone Is a Leader: Empowering Students and Teachers
The Dignity of Expertise  
Getting Started  
Administrative Support Is Essential  
The Adult Design Team: Membership and Roles  
National School Climate Standards as a Guide to Action  
Selecting a Diverse Team of Student Leaders  
Challenges to Choosing a Diverse Team of Student Leaders  
Making it Real: Student Leadership Training  
Simple Summary: Stage One  
Book Study Questions  
4. Stage Two: Including All Voices: School Climate Data Collection
The Importance of Data  
What Gets Measured Is What Gets Done  
Some Potential Problems With School Data Collection  
What and How to Measure  
What to Do With Data  
When Students Become School Climate Researchers  
The Power of Qualitative Data  
The Value of Quantitative Data  
Making It Real: Elementary School Student Researchers  
Simple Summary: Stage Two  
Book Study Questions  
5. Stage Three: Thinking Together: Data Analysis and Goal Setting
Internal or External Locus of Control: Whose Responsibility  
Cognitive Dissonance: Wrestling With Data to Construct Meaning  
No Fault, No Blame  
Words or Numbers? Analyzing Data With Students  
Using Quantitative Data Effectively  
Goal Setting With Student Leaders  
Why Students Lead the Way: Student and Teacher Data Analysis and Goal Setting  
Faculty Data Analysis and Goal Setting  
The Work of Goal-Based Action Teams  
Making It Real: Data Analysis and Goal Setting With Chain Reaction  
Simple Summary: Stage Three  
Book Study Questions  
6. Stage Four: Making Change Happen: Action Planning and Project Development
Action Planning: Where Change Begins  
No One Best System  
School Climate Action Teams: Working Effectively With Colleagues  
Action Planning Steps  
Using the Respect Continuum as a Guide to Action  
Moving Toward the Positive  
Respectful Teaching  
Balanced Leadership: Adults and Students Joining Forces for Change  
Making It Real: The Backpack Project  
Simple Summary: Stage Four  
Book Study Questions  
7. Stage Four Specifics: Action Projects to Promote Respectful Teaching and Learning
Changing School Climate Through Respectful Teaching  
Engagement Strategies That Work  
Providing Students With Choices  
Authentic, Applied, Real-World Learning  
Altering the Schedule to Provide Learning Opportunities  
Making It Real: Sugata Mitra's Hole-in-the-Wall Project  
Simple Summary: Stage Four Specifics  
Book Study Questions  
8. Stage Five: Moving Forward Together: Sustainability and Continuous Improvement
Change Is a Process, Not an Event  
Key Elements of Sustainable Change  
Closing the Gaps  
Dignity and Respect  
The Best People Working on the Problem  
Socially Based and Action-Oriented Change  
Enhance, Extend, and Empower  
Make a Multiyear Commitment  
Formative Assessment: A Critical Part of the Process  
Aligning School Climate and Learning: Demonstrate a Balanced Approach  
Guideposts for Sustainability  
Making It Real: Talking Walls  
Simple Summary: Stage Five  
Book Study Questions  
9. The Road Ahead: Transforming School Climate and Learning
When Will the Time Be Right?  
Continued Resistance, Growing Hope  
School Climate As a Coherent Framework for Understanding Schools  
Implications for School Leaders, Teachers, and Students  
Book Study Questions  
List of Appendices
Appendix A: From Violence to Empowerment: A Respect Continuum  
Appendix B: Sample School Climate Data Summary  
Appendix C: Example of Student Goals and Evidence of Need: Elementary School Data (Grades 3–6)  

"The authors clearly illustrate their premises, provide detailed descriptions of their reform procedures, and heroically tackle many facets which are often unaddressed in the educational literature."

Cathy A. Patterson, Teacher and Former Assistant Principal
Evergreen Elementary School, Walnut, CA

"I haven’t the slightest hesitation in recommending support for any venture with which Bill Preble is associated. He is a man who challenges conventional wisdom and long may he remain so.  Read the book. You will discover what transforming school climate and learning really means and how essential it is to support Bill’s vision.”

Michael Morgan, Former CEO
The Froebel Educational Institute, London, UK

"Preble and Gordon get it that schools are ecological habitats. They recognize students, and everyone in the school environment, as essential to maintaining the school as a dynamic and healthy system. This book - and the student-led, collaborative action research it describes - is an essential waypoint to making any school a humane, effective and sustainable habitat for its students, teachers, and staff."

Tom Julius, Director of Academic Assessment
Antioch University New England, Keene, NH

"This is a practical book, it is a resource that teachers and administrators will want to use throughout their careers."

Lyne Ssebikindu, Assistant Principal
Crump Elementary School, Memphis, TN

"The topic is very current and the need is great. This will become a great handbook for educators on how to transform school climate."

Gary L. Willhite, Professor
University of Wisconsin La Crosse

"The book has a real value. Having gone through a very similar experience of focusing on school climate as a means of improving student learning, I found the points made here to be valid. The authors’ Five-Step process identifies key components. Using data to monitor the results, and committing to the long-haul to achieve the goals are two important pieces in this process. The authors demonstrate that well."

Martin J. Hudacs, Superintendent
Solanco School District, Quarryville, PA

"Each chapter contains real-life scenarios; real student, parent, and educator voices; clearly detailed strategies; and pitfalls to avoid. The conclusions are simple, yet powerful. The book’s premise is backed by many years of research."

Janie L. Nusser, Superintendent of Schools
South Seneca Central School District, Ovid, NY
Key features
  • Organized around the practitioner-friendly, field-tested, Safe Measures School Improvement process—a 5- stage, collaborative, action-research process involving: 1)establishment of a design team for school improvement that includes teachers and students; 2) collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative school climate data; 3) using data to develop school climate and learning improvement goals; 4) developing a powerful school improvement culture that will dramatically change school climate and student engagement in learning; and 5) using formative assessment for continuous improvement and for sustaining school climate improvement.
  • Developed as a practical guide for implementing and using the Safe Measures Process, each chapter provides the practical and theoretical elements of each stage of the model, offers personal and practical success stories of each stage of the process in action in real schools ('Making It Real,'), includes an Activity that will provide detailed guidelines for implementation, and concludes with book study questions that can help frame and guide implementation efforts.
  • Emphasizes student leadership, a value-added element that enhances teacher and administrator "buy-in" to the process of rethinking and improving educational programs, and develops the leadership potential and civic engagement of their students as partners in school reform.
  • "Resources" at the end of the book will include additional tools, samples of planning forms, and other materials to help implement this process.

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412992688

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