A Charter School Principal’s Story: A View from the Inside

What happens when a Canadian principal, guided by the teachings of Fullan and Hargreaves, takes on the role of school leader in an inner-city charter school in the United States? This inside story of a principal in the DC charter school system, reveals much about the desire for educators and students to experience more than a life of multiple-choice testing that tends to be so commonplace in these schools. While such a case adds to the mound of research that supports the ‘change takes time’ findings, it nevertheless demonstrates the reality, on a day-to-day basis, of what’s worth fighting for in schools. Student and teacher engagement and empowerment matter, and to get to such ends, a school must fiercely focus on targets well beyond test scores.

This book speaks about how a budget reveals school values, and by shifting resources to support staff and student development, a school, coping with regular turnover, can be filled with more confident and capable community members. A school crawling with leaders emerged as more student, teacher and non-instructional staff were supported in new roles, aimed at building an inspired culture, with the talent and capacity to move others to action. The old ways of ‘doing school’ do not address the needs of the 21st century learner, and while many forces with limited views of education were at play, this story does provide an example of what promising things can and should happen to increase engagement and learning in more charter schools across America. learn more

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Community Works Institute (CWI) provides resources, professional development, and collaboration opportunities for educators. Our focus is on place based education, service learning, and sustainability.
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