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Making the case for creating a continuous school improvement infrastructure?

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This message is in reply to:
Reconceptualization - Michael Klentschy

Posted by: Mark St. John
Posted on: May 09, 2002 at 5:36 PM

Once I visited a school in an urban setting where I saw a very good science lesson. I was amazed when the teacher told me: "I really do not like teaching science; or at least I never have until now...But I am so supported that I can not help but succeed...

What had happened was that the Principal had arranged a special room for science lessons to be taught by the home teacher. A very knowledgeable aide was there full time to help set up the kits and to assist with the lesson. Each class was scheduled two periods a week... And there was a planned PD program ...

So in this school good science teaching happened as the rule... One would really have to work at having a Bad science lesson... Thus, in most schools you had to be exemplary and good science teaching happened in spite of the system... In this school there was such a strong set of supports that good science teaching was the rule...

I think the same thing might be true of improvement efforts. Right now it takes stellar leadership, real energy and committment, often external funding, and lots of stability to make an improvement effort really happen.

One carries out a reform effort in spite of the system not because of it...

I just wonder what if somehow we arranged enough supports so that improvement happened as a default and not an exemplary or rare occassion...What if you had to work hard NOT to improve...

(I think I am starting to sound like John Lennon... "Imagine all the people...)

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