Improve learning by building community: a principal’s guide to action

| December 9, 2010

Title: Improve learning by building community: a principal’s guide to action

Authors: John C. Daresh with Jane Lynch

Publisher: Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Corwin, c2010

Call No.: LB2805 .D1518 2010

From the Publisher:

Written for both new and experienced principals, this resource provides a blueprint for building visionary learning communities that improve student learning not only by shaping the internal school community—faculty and staff—but also by creating a partnership with the external community—district educators, families, community organizations, and service agencies.

Reflecting contemporary research and the authors’ extensive work with principals, the book includes scenarios that illustrate the work of real principals in elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Administrators will find invaluable assistance from Practical Tips that offer strategies for implementation, Points for Practice that highlight critical concepts, and Points to Ponder that promote reader reflection. Each chapter encourages school leaders to consider what community building means for their own schools and provides guidance for:

  • Building a vision based on your personal and professional values
  • Shaping a school culture that supports teamwork
  • Honoring school staff members at all levels
  • Examining and understanding the external environment
  • Drawing effectively on community support services
  • Collaborating with district staff

Improve Learning by Building Community helps principals bring together all stakeholders to create the kind of schools that can ensure success for every student.

At last, we have a book that provides practical, day-to-day advice for administrators to consider when establishing a learning community. Daresh helps school leaders both understand the importance of their personal values about shared leadership and appreciate how individuals within the school, district, and community are essential to building a shared learning community. The wealth of examples and school-based scenarios illustrate how these ideas translate into practice. A wonderful resource for a book study for teachers and principals.”
—Bruce Barnett, Professor
University of Texas at San Antonio

About the Authors:

John C. Daresh is professor of educational leadership at the University of Texas at El Paso. Over the years, he has held faculty or administrative appointments at the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, the University of Northern Colorado, and Illinois State University. He has also worked as a consultant on high school reform and administrator professional development for universities, state departments of education, national and state professional associations, and individual schools and districts across the United States, and also in Barbados, Canada, France, Holland, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, and Taiwan. By far, the bulk of Daresh’s international service has been in the United Kingdom where he served an advisor and trainer for the School Management Task Force that developed and promoted support programs for beginning headteachers, the National College for School Leadership, the Welsh Office of Education, the North West Network for Diploma Development in Cheshire, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Lincoln, the University of Hull, CREATE Consultancies, and literally dozens of Local Education Authorities and individual schools across England and Wales.

Daresh recently completed three years of service as the lead consultant on principal mentoring programs for the Chicago Public Schools as that megadistrict was faced with the challenge of bringing in mostly inexperienced principals to serve in nearly of the school system’s elementary and high schools.

Jane Lynch currently serves as the faculty leader of the Department of Business, Information Technology, and Enterprise at All Hallows Catholic College in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. Prior to this appointment, she served as a teacher at Sandbach High School in Cheshire. Her route to the field of education did not follow a traditional path. Her undergraduate degree at Keele University was in law and economics, resulting in a career as a solicitor supported by postgraduate study at Christleton Law College in Chester.

Her interest in working more directly with young people led to a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education in Business Studies (Secondary) at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she later pursued advanced graduate work in educational management. She left the world of law and business to follow her strong interest in education, and the last 21 years of her professional life have been devoted to that focus. Lynch’s work in program development in business and enterprise has become increasingly recognized across England, where she has been invited to serve on a number of panels and committees seeking to forge stronger links among schools and the world of business. She was recently provided with a leave from her work at Macclesfield to support educational program planning with the Cheshire County Educational Office.

She has also continued her national role of participating in numerous projects dedicated to developing young people’s employment skills. She serves as a consultant in enterprise education in Cheshire; as the leader of the Northwest England Business, Administration, and Finance (BAF) Diploma Network; as the Enterprise Learning Partnership coordinator for Cheshire and Warrington; and as the chair of the BAF Diploma County Forum.