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Leading to Reform: March 17

This week’s newsletter highlights shared purpose, gains for kids in KIPP Schools, young American’s and technology plus 10 tips on school climate and another reason to pay attention to The Whole Child Initiative. We link as always to an array of columns and pieces spanning the ideological spectrum on leadership and reform. Most now forwarded by readers.

Purpose is Good. Shared Purpose is Better
Mark Bonchek, a social business strategist writes for the Harvard Business Review that organizations are turning to "purpose" and "authenticity" as a way to engage consumers and employees. But it's hard enough to find a purpose in life if you're an individual, let alone an entire organization. And being authentic is a bit like being cool — sometimes the harder you try, the less you are.

The first step is to recognize that there are different kinds of purpose. Sometimes purpose is about values — who you are and what you stand for. Other times it is about value — what you do and how it benefits others, says Bonchek.

The ultimate goal would seem to be having your values and value aligned: have what you do reflect who you are, have what you stand for guide what you make, and have your value to the community enhance your value to customers and shareholders.

Shared purpose is a journey you and your organization will be on together for a long time. Those of us, who are fortunate, work in an organization that shares our purpose. Those who work for an organization they aren’t aligned with won’t be able to do their best work and are killing time for the organization and themselves.
Learn more at the Harvard Business Review…

Kipp Gains Substantial
KIPP, previously known as the Knowledge Is Power Program, has had more success than any other large educational organization in raising the achievement of low-income students. Jay Mathews in his blog takes a closer look at the Mathematica Policy Research
five-year investigation of 43 KIPP schools — the largest study ever of any charter school network. It concludes: “the average impact of KIPP on student achievement is positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial.

Researchers compared higher performing to lower-performing KIPP schools to ascertain what characteristics had the most impact on learning. “Class size, teacher experience and professional development opportunities” were not associated with higher scores, the report said. Instead, achievement was greater in KIPP schools “where principals report a more comprehensive school-wide behavior system” and where more time was spent on core academic activities.

Learn more from Mathews here:
Big Study Says KIPP Gains Substantial says Class Struggle Blog

Where are we Going? Why Whole Child Gets Us There
Educational systems across the globe are under pressure to change. Many countries are focusing attention on additional accountability, school choice and competition, short-term outcomes, and data-driven decision-making (what have been called the Second and Third Ways).

Some high performing countries and systems, however, are reexamining their structures and policies to move towards greater collective professional autonomy from bureaucratic control, stronger active involvement of local communities and diversified teaching to respond to today’s widely varying populations of learners. This Fourth Way of educational reform heralds the next stage for educational improvement – a movement which reverts educational authority back from centralized bureaucracies to educators and communities, diversifies skills and content taught to suit each community and context, and is driven by the inspiring and also basic belief that there are skills and aptitudes that are just as critical as content knowledge.

Our peers and our competitors are abandoning the old ways of change. There is a new way, a fourth way of change, that can inspire our teachers, engage our communities, and lift up all of our children via a more holistic approach.

We can stay the course, or we can seize the day. Which path will your school take?

10 Ideas for Better School Climate
School climate, the quality and character of schools, affects the life and learning of students. School climate matters and leads to higher student achievement and connection to school. Schools can provide the leadership and effective engagement strategies to effectively integrate and sustain quality school climates to ensure students experience the best conditions for learning. This year the National School Climate Center (NSCC) created a set of 11 School Climate Practices for Implementation and Sustainability Briefs to identify specific strategies schools can adopt to create and sustain quality school climate.
Learn more from Terry Pickeral here…

Youth and Technology 2013
Smartphone adoption among American teens has increased substantially and mobile access to the Internet is pervasive. One in four teens are “cell-mostly” Internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.

These are among the new findings from a nationally representative Pew Research Center survey that explored technology use among 802 youth ages 12-17 and their parents. Key findings include:

  • 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of them own smartphones. That translates into 37% of all teens who have smartphones, up from just 23% in 2011.
  • 23% of teens have a tablet computer, a level comparable to the general adult population.
  • 95% of teens use the Internet.
  • 93% of teens have a computer or have access to one at home. Seven in ten (71%) teens with home computer access say the laptop or desktop they use most often is one they share with other family member

In many ways, teens represent the leading edge of mobile connectivity, and the patterns of their technology use often signal future changes in the adult population.

Articles for the Week:

"The luck of the Irish is the ability to persevere through misfortune."

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