ERIC Number: ED422437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Capacity for Reform: Lessons from High Poverty Urban Elementary Schools in the Northeast.
Piontek, Mary E.; Dwyer, M. Christine; Seager, Andrew; Orsburn, Colleen
This paper provides information about strategies that high poverty urban elementary schools have used to initiate major reforms in their processes and structures and to share the process used to elicit information from these schools. A research study analyzed the experiences of six high poverty urban elementary schools in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The intent was not to describe the attributes of successful schools, but rather to determine how they became successful, and how they maintain success. All are Title I schoolwide programs that have been nationally recognized for their excellence. Through the study, 10 strategies and reform processes were identified that affected whole school operations. Not all schools used all of the strategies, but these 10 were commonly used to develop and support capacity for continuing change and reform. The strategies are inter-related and reinforce each other; they are not ordered for sequential application. The strategies are: (1) increasing and sustaining energy flow; (2) collective grounding in a common vision or purpose; (3) recognizing the evolving school culture; (4) developing a learning ethic; (5) brining in information and skills; (6) orchestrating resources and managing limits; (7) making structural changes; (8) piloting new approaches on a small scale before bringing them to the whole school; (9) teaming to take advantage of staff expertise, increase flexibility, and encourage new roles and responsibilities; and (10) building support for decentralized decision making. Some examples of these strategies in action are drawn from the practices of various schools. The second part of the paper deals with the methodology used to map each school's reform history. Interviews and site visits were used to add to conceptual maps of the school history. This Mapping Process is a relatively quick way to engage multiple voices and allow participants to reflect on their past actions. An appendix presents the reform maps for the schools in the study. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: RMC Research Corp., Portsmouth, NH.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I