|2011-02-14||Steve Gardiner||Successful Practices Network Leadership Academy (Part II)|
The information from the Successful Practices Network is not prescriptive. It does not tell a school what needs to be fixed and hand out a checklist to get there. The staff at SPN, however, have visited many successful, high-performing schools across the nation and have found general traits or trends in those schools which can be adapted to fit the needs of other schools interested in improvement.
The data from these successful schools can be used in other contexts to answer three very important questions: 1) why change? 2) what should we change? and 3) how do we change? SPN provides general answers to these questions which will help our professional conversations.
Dr. Daggett explained that most schools need to change now because “the world outside school is changing faster than the world inside school.” To keep up with this and prepare our students for life in a changing world, schools must evolve. The changes outside school are large, and he added, “American society is undergoing fundamental structural changes at the family, workplace, and community levels.” Schools should respond.
The second question is easier and the answer is summed up in Daggett's Rigor/Relevance Framework. Rigor is the level of difficulty of the work is based on the Knowledge Taxonomy and is placed on the vertical axis of the framework. It begins with awareness and increases through comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Relevance is aligned on the horizontal axis and increases from knowledge in one subject to knowledge across the curriculum to knowledge used in the real world. The most successful schools use practices which regularly take students into the highest levels of knowledge applied in real world situations. These are known as Quadrant D lessons or experiences.
The question of how to change brings up a non-sequential list of eight Components of School Excellence that successful schools have found necessary to promote rigor, relevance, and relationships in their classrooms.
To bring these components into a school, Daggett recommends taking a look at the end result first. What is the goal ahead, then design backwards from there to discover the path to that goal.