How We're Learning to Improve This School Year (Part III)

Know-how.
The good news is this may very well be the much sought after silver bullet we’ve long searched for in educational improvement circles.  The bad news is that this elusive magic elixir is very hard to come by.  Simply put, know-how is the detailed practical knowledge necessary to get good ideas to actually work in classrooms, schools, and districts.

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How We’re Learning to Improve This School Year (Part II)

Across sectors, the “think small, start small” message is antithetical to the typical ethos. In sports, it’s “go big or go home.” For tech startups, funding often hinges on a founder’s ability to show her plan for quickly scaling the business. In education, we often roll out rapid, large-scale reforms such as a new curriculum or technology platform in response to some perceived problem.

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John A. Dues
How We’re Learning to Improve This School Year (Part I)

This year at United Schools Network (USN), we’re learning the science of improvement and sharing our journey in the hopes that it will make your improvement work a little easier. We’ve just kicked off this work, but we’ve already learned quite a bit about starting an improvement project. Check out the seven lessons we’ve learned so far.

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5 How-to Manuals Every School Needs

One of the smartest moves we made when we launched Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA) in 2008 was to write internal (“how-to”) training manuals in five key areas. Full disclosure- we picked areas where it seemed intuitively prudent to write down and train people in our best practices. It turns out that the five areas we picked were well-aligned to school improvement research.

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John A. Dues
What are the Essential Ingredients for School Improvement?

The good news is that there are just five ingredients necessary for school improvement.  And, even better, the five ingredients are not rocket science. The bad news is that these ingredients aren’t easy to put in place, and are even harder to sustain.  This is especially true in high-poverty schools.

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Have you seen a high-performing, high-poverty school in action?

Like most people working in high-poverty schools, I had never seen a high-performing school serving similar students in action. Think about that for a moment. In the vast majority of struggling schools, it is unlikely the people that work there have ever experienced organizational-level success.

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