THE SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATIONAL CHANGE AND SCHOOL RENEWAL
(4 Semester Hours)
I. Course Description:
This course provides participants with the sociological and historical background for examining school reform/renewal models. In analyzing these models, participants will consider current research about assessment, outcomes, and implementation processes. Connections will be made to personal and local circumstances and to the institutional cultures that support personal and building-wide educational change. The reading and construction of case studies will allow participants further opportunity to reflect more personally on teacher leadership roles in school change efforts. Prerequisite: Education 550.
II. Course Objectives: Students will be able to:
1.Explain how professional learning communities are formed and sustained.
2.Explain how school reform efforts are evaluated and how student assessment results are used to support renewal programs.
3. Describe three critical school reform efforts and describe their merits and failings as they relate to enhancing student performance and intelligence.
4. Synthesize the information from the course in ways which provide material for professional publication and presentation.
5. Evaluate the content of the course in ways that improve future offerings and sustain personal involvement.
1. Write and/or present learnings about teacher leadership to peers.
2. Analyze research articles about specific school reform efforts: "Success for All," "Essential Schools," "Comer Schools," and the "Key School."
3. Apply self constructed evaluative tools regarding the components of school reform to personal educational contexts.
4. Use data bases and interactive technologies to gather information on best practices.
5. Consider personal professional goals (Educ. 550) as they align with student learning and institutional mission.
6. Use case studies for examining the effectiveness of collaborative teaching approaches.
C) Attitude and Values
1. Acknowledge the need for developing personal development plans as they relate to larger district and school purposes.
2. Appreciate diversity, including the need to provide for special needs populations, as a premise for the construction of school reform models.
3. Appreciate the need for continual reflective inquiry into best practice strategies.
4. Value the need for continually monitoring school success through appropriate assessment strategies.
III. Course Topics and Outline
1. Sociology and Politics of Educational Change
Text: DuFour and Eaker (Chapters 1- 7), Supplemental readings as needed
Topics: diversity and the demographics of school service, legislative school mandates, school cultures and change, leadership and school change.
2. School Renewal Approaches
Text: Dufour and Eaker (Chapters 8-13)
Topics: forming professional learning communities, assessment and school reform, conducting research on school reform, models of school reform efforts
3. Building Supportive Institutional Cultures
Text: Barth (Chapters 1- 6)
Topics: forming professional learning communities, collaborative partnerships, creating communicating vehicles, analyzing assessment results for continual renewal
4. Teacher Leadership in School Renewal
Text: Barth (Chapters 7 -12)
Topics: sustaining collaborative partnerships, working in teams, working with
community partners, the role of continual research
IV. Instructional Procedure
A. Use of electronic data bases and the electronic research strategies for research.
B. Seminar sessions related to examining individual case studies.
C. Discussions of books, research related to educational change.
D. Development and presentation of research papers on key school reform models.
Portfolio: During the term teachers will be accumulating material to be put into a professional portfolio which was designed in Education 550. Some material gathered for the portfolio will be driven by individual purposes. (25%)
A. Annotated bibliography of research articles on a chosen school reform effort.
B. Executive summary of research paper on school reform.
C. Self constructed matrix and results of learning community assessment.
D. Completion of personally-designed reflections about teacher leadership and school
D. Completion of self assessment for work in the course.
Reform Research Project: (30%) (Collaborative Group Work)
Students will form groups to research a school reform/renewal effort. The outcome will be a paper of approximately 20-30 pages in length which will have the following components: a) an analysis of the theoretical model underlying the renewal effort; b) a description of the school structure, partnerships, and curricular initiatives; c) a description of the role of assessment of student learning; and d) a description of the research results produced to date.
Annotated Bibliography: (25%)
Students will be required to produce an annotated bibliography of 20 research articles related to the reform research project. This should be produced for the portfolio. We will be opening up each class with a brief five minute presentation by each student on a specific article teachers have read for this topic. Each student will provide a research review presentation at least once during the term.
Learning Community Assessment: (20%)
Following the models suggested by Dufour and Eaker, students will construct a matrix evaluating the presence and potential for forming learning communities in the school. With a group of four teachers, administrators, students or parents from their school, they will score the learning environment of the school and write a one page synopsis of their work. The synopsis should discuss implications in terms that reflect the leadership roles of teachers.
VI. Clinical and Field Experience
A. Students will be participants in a class conference session delivering, hearing, and evaluating papers on school renewal/reform.
B. Students will analyze case studies related to instructional responsibilities
C. Students will analyze learning communities in their own school environments according to self-constructed matrixes.
VII. Text and Supplemental Materials
DuFour, Richard & Eaker, Robert. (1998). Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement. Bloomington, Indiana: National Education Service.
Barth, Roland. (1991). Improving Schools from Within. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Supplemental Materials and Readings:
Gordon, David. (1984). The Myths of School Self-Renewal. New York: The Teachers College Press.
Seymour Saarson. (1991). The Predictable Failure of School Reform. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Boyd, Richard et al. (1999). Are Ohio Schools at Risk: Urban and Suburban Schools in the Buckeye State. Bloomington, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa International.
Through the Eyes of Children: A New Vision for Ohio's Urban School Communities. (1997). Columbus, Ohio: Urban Schools Initiative.
VIII. Course Numbering Rationale
The "500" number designates the course as graduate level. It is sequentially numbered with the other core courses in the Master of Arts in Education graduate program.
IX. Date of Syllabus: Fall/99[an error occurred while processing this directive]