Common Principles for Uncommon Schools

Horace Volume 14 | 1998 | Issue 5

How Friends Can Be Critical As Schools Make Essential Changes: Provides ways that school people can help each other participate in a cycle of inquiry that examines data, teaching practices, and student work as a means of making change. Download PDF

Among Friends: Norms for Inquiry and Analysis

It isn’t easy to be both critical and friendly while working collaboratively to make schools better. The Bay Area Coalition of Essential Schools has developed these norms to help its members as they jointly inquire about and analyze their work: Describe only what you see. Do not try to describe what you don’t see; express what you don’t see in

Essential Tools in the Trek Toward Change

Since its earliest years Essential Schools have used a professional development strategy they call the “Trek,” in which a core team of teachers from a school develops the skills and knowledge to further the whole school’s change process. But just what does that Essential school team need to know and be able to do if it is to succeed? California’s

How Friends Can Be Critical As Schools Make Essential Changes

When teachers regularly get honest, supportive feedback from valued peers, not only does their own practice benefit, but student achievement goes up, too. Across the country, Essential schools and Centers are finding ways to make and sustain these vital “critical friendships.” It was the end of a steamy May Monday in Houston, and the teachers gathered in the library of

Some Principles for Planning Effective School Visits

1. Build clarity around the purpose of the visit, among your critical friends and among colleagues, parents, and students in your school. What questions do we have and how will a visit help uncover them? What evidence will we ask our critical friends to look for or examine, to enable them to provide relevant feedback? What steps should the school

The Other Side of the Fence: A Visiting Team’s Norms for Gathering Evidence

Before Michigan schools may join the Coalition, they must first compile a portfolio demonstrating the school’s learning about the Ten Common Principles; present an exhibition about that work to parents and community members; host Essential school colleagues from around the state as they visit classrooms and meet students and faculty; and present a dilemma to the visiting team for its