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Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago

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ISBN-13: 978-0226078007
ISBN-10: 0226078000
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Organizing Schools for Improvement has some pretty convincing conclusions on what characteristics separate successful schools from unsuccessful ones. The book offers important advice for people involved in any school, regardless of location or student background."
(Alan Borsuk Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

"Striking in its attention to the influence of community and educator participation in school reform, and sobering in its assessment of some of the neighborhoods where reform was most difficult to attain, the book Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago is an essential read. . . . Bryk et al. provide a rigorous and compelling empirical study of the possibility for school reform and the degrees of compromise, particularly in contexts where extreme poverty and racial and ethnic isolation prevail."
(Teachers College Record)

About the Author

Anthony S. Bryk is president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and was founding senior director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR), University of Chicago. Penny Bender Sebring is founding codirector of CCSR, the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago. Elaine Allensworth is director for statistical analysis at CCSR. Stuart Luppescu is chief psychometrician at CCSR. John Q. Easton is Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Spencer Foundation and former executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) at the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (January 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226078000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226078007
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony S. Bryk is the ninth president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where he is leading work on transforming educational research and development, more closely joining researchers and practitioners to improve teaching and learning. Formerly, he held the Spencer Chair in Organizational Studies in the School of Education and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University from 2004 until assuming Carnegie's presidency in September 2008.

He came to Stanford from the University of Chicago where he was the Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education in the sociology department, and where he helped found the Center for Urban School Improvement, which supports reform efforts in the Chicago Public Schools. He also created the Consortium on Chicago School Research, a federation of research groups that have produced a range of studies to advance and assess urban school reform.

He is a member of the National Academy of Education and was appointed by President Obama to the National Board for Education Sciences in 2010. In 2011, he was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is one of America's most noted educational researchers. His 1993 book, Catholic Schools and the Common Good, is a classic in the sociology of education. His deep interest in bringing scholarship to bear on improving schooling is reflected in his later volume, Trust in Schools, and in the most recent book, Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago (Chicago Press, 2009.) Bryk holds a B.S. from Boston College and an Ed.D. from Harvard University.

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Anne T. Henderson on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book and the research that went into it are first-rate. From my perspective, the significance of this work is the close attention to context -- so much writing on education reform is about the technical aspects, such as assessment, professional development, standards, curriculum. What this work does is show the vital contribution of school climate: the trusting, collaborative relationships that must be the foundation for an effective school that is a great place to work, learn and develop.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lobewiper on September 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Bryk et al. research findings are based upon a huge study of more than 400 Chicago public elementary schools, and their results have implications for every school in the country. They (p. 83) describe the key factors they identified as follows:

School Leadership

The leadership composite was defined as the degree to which teachers viewed their principal as an inclusive, facilitative leader, [who was] focused on parent and community involvement and creating a sense of community in the school. It included the following components:

Instructional leadership--degree to which teachers saw their principal as setting high standards and exercising leadership for instructional reform.

Teacher influence--the extent to which teachers were involved in school decision making.

LSC contribution--teachers' ratings of the effectiveness of the local school council.

Program coherence--teacher's judgments as to the quality of implementation and coordination of programs within the school.

SIP implementation--teachers' assessments of the school improvement plan and its centrality to the school's efforts to improve learning.

Parent-Community Ties

The parent involvement composite was assessed by:

Teacher outreach to parents and their assessment of their efforts to develop common goals and understandings with parents and to work together to strengthen student learning.

Parent involvement in the school--teachers' reports about how often parents pick up report cards, attend parent-teacher conferences, attend school events, and other activities.

Professional Capacity

This factor is also referred to by the authors as "Work Orientation.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nephilim on September 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have spent the last ten years teaching underpriveleged youth in Chicago. Much of "school reform" is done piecemeal and reflets only the priorities of whoever is in vogue rather than imporatant changes to the way schools do business. This book breaks down alot of data that was taken when different schools in Chicago tried a variety of interventions to improve struggling schools. They crunch the numbers and actually come up with a finite set of behaviors and situations that produce real and lasting improvements in struggling schools. Principals, teachers and parents should all check it out and think deeply about the most important characteristics of a great school.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suzn on September 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is extremely informative, with a great look at efforts to improve schools in Chicago. Importantly, it describes what was learned and what can inform school improvement efforts in other places. It is also readable. I have gone back to this book several times.
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