EdNews Signup
A+ Education Partnership

Click Here to Register for Events

Learning is everyone's job!

The Alabama Best Practices Center (ABPC) is a place where educators can turn for assistance, inspiration and information about teaching and student achievement.

Our purpose is to help teachers and administrators develop the competence, commitment, and courage to do whatever it takes to improve student learning.

RSSWhat's New

How Do We Build a Culture of Improvement Across the School System?
April 21, 2015
 Hope may be a virtue, but it is not a strategy. – Fullan & DuFour
by Cathy Gassenheimer

Research and best practice tell us that consistently high performing schools are places where both adults and students are committed to continuous learning and where everyone values collaboration, reflection, and growth. But, how does a school “get there?”
Michael Fullan and Rick DuFour suggest a strategy for becoming that type of school, district (or even region) in their compact, thought-provoking book, Cultures Built to Last: Systemic PLCs at Work.
Cultures Built to Last represents the best thinking of both educational leaders: Fullan’s perspectives on whole system reform, moral purpose, and coherence, and DuFour's insights about growing effective professional learning communities.
Fullan and DuFour suggest that building the type of sustainable culture that results in continuous improvement is “absolutely doable, but is also undeniably difficult” (p. 2).
And they challenge us even further by suggesting that having isolated high performing schools is not sufficient: We must create high performing districts where the work of improvement is continuous and embedded deeply in the system's professional culture; where success is documented and transparent and therefore able to inspire other districts to commit to culture-building.Read More
Leaders & Teachers: Are you a Multiplier or a Depleter?
April 17, 2015
by Cathy Gassenheimer
I hope everyone who is reading this blog responded to its title in one of the following ways:
  • Gosh, I hope I’m a multiplier!
  • Hmmm…what is a multiplier? I’m intrigued!
  • I don’t like the sound of “depleter.” Hope I’m not one of those!
  • I’ve never been good at math!
Actually, my initial reaction to an article titled “Multiplying is More than Math—It’s Also Good Management,” was closer to the last bullet. I was in my high North mode and scanning the latest issue of the Kappan Magazine when I came across this article. Thankfully, I paused one moment more to look at the authors. When I saw Liz Wiseman’s name, a connection was made to a past Learning Forward annual conference where she was one of the keynote speakers.
So, I stopped and read the article, wanting to refresh my memory of the multiplier concept. In short, Wiseman (author of Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter) defines a multiplier as someone who has “an approach and style that makes us better and smarter.” She notes that multipliers operate in what she terms “dramatically different ways.” And, they hold “radically different assumptions” about those with whom they work and interact.

 Read More
What is Improvement Science and How Can It Support Our Work?
April 6, 2015
by Cathy Gassenheimer
I love The Marshall Memo – a regular email from educator Kim Marshall summarizing some of the most interesting new education material published in a large collection of magazines, journals and websites that he follows. Books, too. He calls it "a weekly roundup of important ideas and research in K12 education."
It's not free (a single subscriber pays $50 a year or about $1 per issue; less for groups) but considering the amount of time and effort it takes to produce each weekly edition, the Marshall Memo is a bargain and a wonderfully efficient way to follow important news about education research and practice.
A recent issue (#577) included a synopsis titled "How Can Successful School Improvement Ideas Be Taken to Scale?" In about 500 words, Marshall crisply summarizes an Educational Researcher article by Dr. Catherine Lewis (an expert on Japanese lesson study): "What Is Improvement Science? Do We Need It in Education?"Read More
A+ Alabama Best Practices Center A+ College Ready