Interested school board/superintendent teams can select from our extensive list of Reform Governance® topics and case studies. Training sessions are led by highly-qualified CRSS faculty members, most of whom have extensive school board experience.
Our Training Topics and Original Case Studies:
Effective school reform is not short-term. Nor is it the work of one board/superintendent team. It is the sustainable work of a succession of changing teams, all committed to improved student achievement and the ongoing monitoring of district performance. Boards working to sustain progress should respond to data by asking how policies, management systems, and leadership need to be adjusted or changed for continuous improvement. And they should use data to guide development of new reform policies. The goal of this session is to develop a process to manage the succession of board members, superintendents, and key staff. Boards also will develop an annual sustainability calendar and plan to monitor the district’s reform progress.
Consider this: it’s not reform if it costs more! Inspired by Cage-Busting Leadership by Frederick Hess, this module prepares you with the knowledge, skills, and attitude it takes to be an agent for positive change. Resist the temptation to be discouraged by regulations and past practice; there are many battles that can be won right now. Knowing which battles to fight, and how and when to fight is the key. Also critical: Knowing how to improve teaching and learning with the resources you have.
Like it or not, the education world is changing. As governance team members, we need to understand this changing landscape filled with new ideas as well as old ideas modified for the digital age. Are these changes truly transformational or are they just more educational fads? And why do we even need to change? Why can’t we just teach kids like we were taught? We examine these questions and showcase some of the more innovative learning approaches of our time.
This case describes a district with sustained board and superintendent leadership that is sharply focused on improving student achievement, which in the early 1990s lagged well behind other Houston-area districts. Spurred on by the Texas accountability system and inspired by the Baldrige Quality model implemented in the neighboring Brazosport district, Aldine began building a philosophy—and theory of action—to improve student performance by managing the instructional process and using data and data analysis to make critical decisions. The district’s unrelenting focus on instruction resulted in significant improvements in overall achievement and successfully reduced achievement gaps among Black, White, and Hispanic students.
This case chronicles the Gwinnett County school board’s effort to develop a new curriculum along with Gateway tests at selected grade levels to measure academic mastery and end social promotion These reform efforts, developed years before passage of the federal No Child Left Behind law, initially draw little public attention. But as implementation draws nearer and fears escalate that many students may fail, the board members face angry protests and pressure to abandon their plan. The superintendent reassures the board and community members that an appeals process and a series of safety nets and interventions will be in place to help struggling students. Culminating a series of policy decisions, the board unanimously votes to approve the assessment program and adopt a set of phased-in cut scores. The case ends with reflections on the district’s accomplishments as well as the challenges ahead.
This case spans the years 2000-2011, the era of the School Reform Commission, a small, powerful board, appointed by the governor and mayor, and the superintendencies of two strong personalities, Paul Vallas and Arlene Ackerman. It is the dramatic story of a city and state responding to unacceptable urban school performance by trying to create a new district design. Philadelphia is the first major urban district to implement at scale the Diverse Provider Model, the mix of traditional public schools with district charter schools and schools contracted out to for-profit educational management organizations. Design and implementation issues are huge, compounded by financial crises, conflicts with powerful unions, board/superintendent power struggles, and the interests of powerful elected officials.