Common Principles for Uncommon Schools

Horace Volume 13 | 1997 | Issue 1

Networks and Essential Schools: How Trust Advances Learning: Shows how building relationships within and across schools can profoundly shift the culture of schooling to one in which teachers create new ways to share and examine their work and to hold themselves to higher standards. Download PDF

Creating a Network of Schools as Critical Friends: The Fifty Schools Project

Since 1992 the Coalition’s Fifty Schools Project has worked to bring together small clusters of exemplary reform-focused high schools and support them in sharing resources and solving problems. The effort could easily serve as a blueprint for how any like-minded group could structure a network: 1. Four to eight schools, preferably within easy reach of each other but possibly linked

Elements of a Successful Network

A review of the writings of Ann Lieberman and Maureen Grolnick, Andy Hargreaves and others suggests these elements of a successful network:   Building trusting relationships through inquiry and work initiated or chosen by members because of their own needs and carried out together over time. Establishing norms of reflective practice and shared decision making, which provide internal avenues by

Readings About Networks

Ann Lieberman and Maureen Grolnick, “Networks and Reform in American Education.” New York: National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST), 1996. Ann Lieberman and Milbrey McLaughlin, “Networks for Educational Change: Powerful and Problematic.” Phi Delta Kappan, May 1992. Milbrey McLaughlin and Joan E. Talbert, Contexts that Matter for Teaching and Learning. Stanford, CA: Center for Research on the

Regional Centers: A Larger Link, A Stronger Voice

The Coalition’s Regional Centers provide many of the same benefits to affiliated schools that clusters do: a milieu in which to work together on common concerns, to build critical friendships, and to locate helpful resources. In fact, many began as smaller networks or clusters of schools engaged in critical friendships. But as nonprofit organizations with governing boards and position in

Teachers Learning Along a Continuum of Connections

Ann Lieberman uses this chart to describe the many ways that connections among teachers and the outside world can advance their professional growth. “Direct” Teaching  Inspirationals  Awareness sessions  Initial conversation  Charismatic speakers  Conferences  Courses and workshops  Consultations Learning in School  Team teaching  Peer coaching  Action research  Problem-solving groups  Reviews of students  Assessment development  Case studies of practice  Standard setting  Journal

The Essential School Network and How It Grew

The Coalition of Essential Schools is itself a network, which Theodore Sizer conceived as “a conversation among friends” about his Nine Common Principles. Such conversation flowed readily among the dozen original members schools and among the 150 participants at the first Fall Forum, held in Providence, Rhode Island in 1986. As the membership grew-to 50 schools by 1988, more than

The Essential School Network and How It Grew

Building mutual relationships that encourage honest looks at teacher practice and student work can profoundly shift the culture of schooling. Both inside schools and among them, networks of teachers are creating new ways to share and question their work, learn from each other, and hold themselves to higher standards. To see a group of teachers sitting around a table in

What Does a Critical Friends Group Do?

A Critical Friends Group (CFG) brings together four to ten teachers within a school over at least two years, to help each other look seriously at their own classroom practice and make changes in it. After a solid grounding in group process skills, members focus on designing learning goals for students which can be stated specifically enough that others can