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Even if every strategy in the proposed District Improvement Plan were implemented appropriately, on time, and at budget, the results might not necessarily be positive for students — unless, that is, the leadership of the District make sure that the implementation of each piece is coherent with every other piece. Improvement efforts must, in other words, be systemic, not just a series of unconnected and fragmented steps.
It is incumbent, therefore, for the District's leadership to identify the "glue" that will hold all 29 strategies and their respective action plans together at both the District and school level so that, at the end, the changes are institutionalized and effective in improving student learning, attendance, and behavior.
There are many change models from which to choose or from which to design a hybrid model that more closely fits an individual district's needs. The Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools could, for instance, adopt the Accelerated Schools Model created by Henry Levin from Stanford University, or the Coalition of Essential Schools by Ted Sizer from Brown University, or the Quality Schools Model by William Glasser, or Effective Schools by Ron Edmonds and Larry Lezotte from Michigan State, or League of Professional Schools by Carl Glickman from the University of Georgia, or the Developmental Schools Model by James Comer from Yale, or one of perhaps twenty others. The District could, if it wishes, simply stay with Quality Performance Accreditation or North Central Accreditation as a change model since they are based on Effective Schools research. Each model has strengths, each model has positive research behind it, each model has a training program, and each model incorporates the W. Edwards Deming principles of quality management, at least to some degree.
Another model, however, that holds great promise since it is so soundly based in research growing out of more than a decade of restructuring research and a lifetime of thought and growth on the part of Ernest Boyer, its author, is The Basic School. The Basic School's implementation pilot is jointly funded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Kauffman Foundation, and Douglass Elementary School is a part of that pilot network of sixteen schools. Although the model was designed primarily for elementary schools, its applications easily extend to middle and high schools. In fact, Dr. Boyer has written books on both middle and high school restructuring that echo the same themes as those in the Basic School. Two components of this model that are not as well developed in others, if they exist at all, are the emphasis on a coherent, integrated curriculum and the emphasis on character education. Although more evaluation and study are needed, the Basic School appears at this time to be the best "glue" available to assure the success of the District Improvement Plan.
A further understanding of the philosophy and research that will inform the Plan's implementation can be found in the attached Bibliography. Under each planning strand are listed well-respected studies that represent "best knowledge" and "best practice" for education. These readings, plus the suggestions of the Subcommittees, will be used by study groups and planning teams to determine appropriate action plans for each strategy.
History Site created on December 02, 2002
Page last updated: 02-Jan-2012