For many of us the summer is an excellent time to catch up on reading. My friend Lee Jenkins, a former superintendent has developed a new way of improving schools. He has written a new book, Optimize Your School: It’s All About the Strategy, published by Corwin Here is a description.
All people begin life with a need for love and positive relationships. Most children have this early need met in their family. Then schools, churches, clubs and athletics meet the need further. Most fortunate are the people who have positive relationships from home and at least one other organization. When children come from a loving home what a bonus it is to have positive relationships with at least one other organization. Think about the super stars with positive relationships everywhere. However, there are many students in our schools without positive relationships at home. For these students, the schools play an even more important, huge role.
Unfortunately, many common school practices work against this goal of positive relationships with all students. Obviously, there are many, many teachers and administrators who overcome this, but the institutional practices are still a barrier. In Optimize Your School, the processes to replace poor practices that unintentionally demotivate up to 2/3 of our students are explained in detail. The practices combine elements of high standards, data, teamwork, celebrations, student engagement, and visible evidence of improvement for all to see. Even though all of the fore mentioned elements are written about in many other places, the unique combination and application of them is unique to education. Not everyone immediately accepts the premises, but nobody says, “Been there; done that.”
We can have a system of schooling that creates positive relationships with all students. The operative word is system which does not depend upon having all perfect teachers and administrators.”