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Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division Perfect Paperback – February 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Solution Tree (February 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934009458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934009451
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anthony Muhammad, PhD, is one of the most sought-after educational consultants in North America. As a practitioner for nearly 20 years, Dr. Muhammad has served as a middle school teacher, an assistant principal, a middle school principal, and a high school principal. His tenure as a practitioner has earned him several awards as both a teacher and a principal. His most notable accomplishment came as principal at Levey Middle School in Southfield, Michigan, a National School of Excellence, where student proficiency on state assessments more than doubled in five years. Muhammad and the staff at Levey used the Professional Learning Communities at Work model of school improvement, and the school has been recognized in several videos and articles as a model high-performing PLC. As a researcher, Dr. Muhammad has published articles in several publications in both the United States and Canada. He is a contributing author to The Collaborative Administrator: Working Together as a Professional Learning Community (2008).

More About the Author

Anthony Muhammad, PhD, is one of the most sought-after educational consultants in North America. As a practitioner for nearly 20 years, Dr. Muhammad has served as a middle school teacher, an assistant principal, a middle school principal, and a high school principal. His tenure as a practitioner has earned him several awards as both a teacher and a principal. His most notable accomplishment came as principal at Levey Middle School in Southfield, Michigan, a National School of Excellence, where student proficiency on state assessments more than doubled in five years. Muhammad and the staff at Levey used the Professional Learning Communities at Work model of school improvement, and the school has been recognized in several videos and articles as a model high-performing PLC. As a researcher, Dr. Muhammad has published articles in several publications in both the United States and Canada. He is a contributing author to The Collaborative Administrator: Working Together as a Professional Learning Community (2008).

Customer Reviews

I have heard him speak and he knows his stuff!
Christina V. Husar
I highly recommend this book for school and district administrators who impact school and district cultures.
Kelley Ridings
I found this book to help open my eyes to the people that surround me at my campus.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Jessie on September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book answered the question of what happens when new teachers came on my staff. I realized I was setting teachers up for failure by not being more systematic in selecting key individuals for them to interact with during the first year. It also helped me identify certain individuals on my staff and determine the type of influence they have on the culture in the school.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Muhammad on March 3, 2009
Format: Perfect Paperback
This book is the most profound view of school culture that I have ever read. The insights offered in this book need to be read by every educator in America. Absolutely the best educational book that I have ever read!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Teacher's Teacher on November 16, 2009
Format: Perfect Paperback
Dr. Muhammad's candid analysis of modern school culture is revolutionary. It is simply a must read for every educator who is serious about equity and school reform. As other authors provide a watered-down, politically correct view of schools, Dr. Muhammad provides a framework for a truly honest look at schools that can help any concerned group of educators improve the learning environment for students. Bravo and well done!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth C. Williams on September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Muhammad does what I wish more authors would...he establishes just enough of a research base to be credible, and then builds from there for practical application. In Transforming School Culture, he helps both leaders and teachers understand more intimately what it takes to establish and nurture a positive learning culture. It is both a quick and powerful read, another formula for resources in these days of being so busy. Kudos to Dr. Muhammad for taking aim at one of the most complex challenges of school reform.

Kenneth C. Williams
Author, Speaker, Consultant
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rick DuFour on August 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Anthony Muhammad provides the insights into the vexing challenge of changing school culture that only comes from someone who has both devoted his research to the topic and applied that research in the real world of schools. He recognizes that culture is defined by the assumptions, beliefs, and expectations that constitute the norm for the organization and offers specific insights into how to address and impact the thinking and feelings that drive the practice of educators. He does not vilify those resistant to changing the traditional culture of schooling, but instead attempts to offer insights into the thought process behind the resistance. He does not lump all resisters into one category but instead examines four different groups and the reasons it is understandable that they may be skeptical of change. I highly recommend this book to any educator or staff that wants to come to a deeper understanding of the challenge of changing school culture and to learn strategies for meeting that challenge.

Dr. Richard DuFour, educational author and consultant
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Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
A creepy catalog of "cultspeak", this book is insidious in its recommendations. "Believers" are mindless sheep who unquestioningly accept any and all rhetoric, accepting "100% responsibility" and "doing whatever it takes". "Fundamentalists" are teachers who dare think critically and consider their own experiences and observations as being somehow relevant to their teaching decisions. They work against the aims of the "new school paradigm" by suggesting that teachers have a right to a personal life, to devote time to their families, to not be overworked into oblivion. According to this book, the way to overcome staff division is to "coerce" these teachers into compliance with the Party Line or forcing them to "relocate". According to this author, "due process" (his quotation marks) is only a nasty inconvenience that complicates the process of getting rid of individuals who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid.

I was around at the time the concept of "Whole Language" instruction was implemented. The idea was certainly appealing, and policymakers jumped on the Whole Language bandwagon completely. As time passed, however, it became obvious that Whole Language was deeply flawed and that those teachers who had continued teaching phonics in their classrooms had actually been the most successful in developing literacy in their students. In the dystopia of this book , those teachers would have been removed from the teaching profession and their insight and wisdom lost to education forever. The very idea of our democratic society is that various viewpoints, opinions, experiences, awareness, work together for the greatest good. This book recommends destroying this very strength.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is must read book for any administrator serious about understanding the reasons behind toxic school cultures and using strategies to transform them into positive environments. Anthony Muhammad identifies 4 key types of educators and explains how each impact school culture. This typology was very helpful and intensely intriguing. It has given me a much more profound understanding of the needs of staff members that I didn't know how to identify in a productive improvement model previously. Yet, a critique I have of Muhmmad's descriptors is that I suspect staff can sometimes fall into different categories depending on the issues facing them. For example I could see how someone could be both a philosophical believer and a tweener if they're a veteran educator who is new to a school. Muhammad overlooks this possibility. The author also provides useful strategies on how to transform school cultures while keeping the needs of the 4 groups of educators in mind, all with the goal of minimizing the impact of the group, fundamentalists, that contributes most to school toxicity. I highly recommend this book for school and district administrators who impact school and district cultures. Teachers who seriously want to understand school cultures will also find this book valuable, especially teacher leaders. This book is one of those books that has the potential to have enormous impact on our schools; I encourage educators, especially administrators to take Muhammad's suggestions to heart as you evolve your professional practice to better shape schools that seek to enhance doing what is best for students.
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