ERIC Number: EJ831115
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 22
Working the System: Building Capacity for School Change
Zimmerman, Judith A.
AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice, v5 n1 p9-14 Spr 2008
America's public education system still holds the best promise to provide educational access to all children. However, public education has come under fire within the past two decades for not serving all student needs. Therefore, increasing demands are being placed on public schools to reform in order to improve achievement. Critical to the success of any reform initiative is the sense of common purpose that leaders promote by involving others in developing and communicating a shared vision. Accordingly, it is critical for superintendents and other school leaders to "build the capacities of the system's subsystems to relate to each other with a focus on the shared vision." While educational leaders can choose various approaches to accomplish the task of school reform or redesign, no matter which framework is employed, attention to building capacity is significant to the success of the effort. Capacity building is "a process that takes people from where they are to where they need to be in order to think and act in systems terms." Baldrige, one approach that is being used in some schools across the country, is a systemic process for improvement that emphasizes the importance of leadership, mission/vision, shared decision-making and performance accountability. Using the implementation of Baldrige as an example of initiating a systemic reform process, this article attempts to promote the idea of building capacity as a strategy for leading systemic change. Two keys to building capacity for change that are highlighted in this article are helping educators to see the connections between change initiatives, and providing support that is linked to the characteristics of educators within the learning community.
Descriptors: Student Needs, School Restructuring, Academic Achievement, Vision, Educational Change, Access to Education, Public Education, Public Schools, Educational Improvement, Superintendents, Self Efficacy, Administrators, Teacher Collaboration
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A