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Annotated bibliography


(from NSDC http://www.nsdc.org/standards/learningcommunities.cfm)
NOTE: When resources in this list are available on the web, a link is provided. Many of these publications are available through the NSDC Bookstore.

Calhoun, E. (1994). How to use action research in the self-renewing school. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Order from ASCD's web site: http://www.ascd.org
Emily F. Calhoun presents her practical definition of action research for organization improvement: "Let's study what's happening at our school (through the collection and utilization of data) and decide how to make it a better place." She outlines a model for a quick start to action research. She then says that action research (1) uses student data to inform us about success, (2) must be focused on student learning as a collective mission, (3) can develop the school as a learning community, (4) can build organizational capacity to solve problems, and (5) can be a form of personal as well as professional development.

Collins, D. (1997). Achieving your vision of professional development. Tallahassee, FL: The Regional Educational Laboratory at SERVE.
Download in PDF form at http://www.serve.org/publications/htayv.htm.
This "how-to" resource guide offers many tips to help at each stage of building an effective professional development system. The guide reports SERVE's six strategies for implementation: developing a vision, creating a context for change, planning, investing resources, providing continual assistance, and assessing and monitoring progress. It also includes summaries of the 1997-98 winners of the U.S. Department of Education's National Awards Program for Model Professional Development and five examples of model schools.

Corcoran, T. (1995, June). Helping teachers teach well: Transforming professional development. CPRE Policy Briefs. Rutgers, NJ: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, 69-79.
Download in PDF form at http://www.cpre.org/Publications/rb16.pdf
To meet rising expectations, teachers need to deepen their content knowledge and learn new methods of teaching. They need more time to work with colleagues, to critically examine the new standards being proposed, and to revise curriculum. Corcoran reviews what is known about professional development--where it is now and where it needs to be. The brief discusses professional development's organization, costs, and effects on practice. The brief also suggests some principles to guide professional development in the future and offers a framework for designing and assessing policies and programs.

Covey, S. (1990). Principle-centered leadership. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Order from Simon & Schuster's web site: http://www.simonsays.com
Stephen Covey outlines key leadership traits from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In developing principle-centered leaders, he emphasizes the need for trust and patience as individuals become involved in paradigm shifts. Principle-centered leadership introduces a new paradigm, one founded on the belief that there are certain "true north" principles-trustworthiness, trust, empowerment, and alignment-that should guide personal and interpersonal relationships and form the foundation of effective leadership. In this new paradigm for leaders, it is possible to defuse overloaded bureaucracies and empower staff to participate in a process that leads to quality decision making.

DuFour, R. & Berkey, T. (1995). The principal as staff developer. Journal of Staff Development, 16(4), 2-6.
Read at http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/jsd/dufour164.cfm
Rick DuFour and Timothy Berkey discuss their research on the principals' role to nurture and develop teachers' professional growth as part of the school culture. The authors remind us to create consensus, promote shared values, ensure systematic collaboration, encourage experimentation, model commitment, provide one-on-one staff development, offer purposeful staff development programs, promote self-efficacy, and monitor the sustained effort.

DuFour, R. & Eaker, R. (1998). Professional learning communities at work: Best practices for enhancing student achievement. Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service and Alexandria, VA: Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Order from the NSDC Bookstore.
Rick DuFour and Robert Eaker offer recommendations for those who seek to transform their schools into professional learning communities as characterized by mutual collaboration, emotional support, personal growth, and a synergy of efforts. References to and brief summaries of directions for curriculum, teacher preparation, school leadership, professional development, school-parent partnerships, and assessment practices are included, along with sample vision statements.

Fink, E. & Resnick, L. (2001). Developing principals as instructional leaders. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(8), 598-606.
Order through Phi Delta Kappa. Contact Terri Hampton at (800) 766-1156
The authors describe how New York City's District 2 improved student achievement by combining a strong sense of accountability with a culture of learning among principals. Principals in District 2 are responsible for creating cultures of learning in their schools as the district has devolved decision-making authority and resources to schools. The authors tell how a community of principals was formed built on strong interpersonal relationships and a sustained focus on teaching and learning. Principal learning is supported through various means: monthly principals' conferences, principals' study groups, literacy support groups, new principals' support groups, intervisitation, buddying, and individualized coaching.

Fullan, M. & Hargreaves, A. (1991). What's worth fighting for in your school? New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Order from the Teachers College Press hotline: (800) 575-6566.
Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves discuss the importance of collaboration linked with norms and the opportunities for continuous improvement and career-long learning. When teacher improvement is seen as collective rather than individual, teachers are more likely to trust and value advice and expertise. The authors present research suggesting that a more collaborative environment reduces teachers' uncertainties and their sense of powerlessness and increases their sense of efficacy.

Fullan, M. (2001). The new meaning of educational change (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Order from the Teachers College Press hotline: (800) 575-6566
Michael Fullan reviews the literature of planned educational change over the last 30 years to provide some clear insights about the do's and don'ts of bringing about change in elementary and secondary schools. Fullan distills from his experience the most powerful lessons about how participants can cope with and influence educational change. He compiles the best theory and practice in order to explain why change processes work as they do and to identify what would have to be done to improve them.

Garmston, R. & Wellman, B. (1999). The adaptive school: A sourcebook for developing collaborative groups. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.
Order from the NSDC Bookstore.
An adaptive school is one that not only meets today's challenges but can also effectively handle problems that emerge in the future. This sourcebook provides tools to support school leaders in developing and facilitating collaborative groups to improve student learning, a critical step in redesigning schools and creating better learning environments. The authors utilize systems thinking and learnings from the new sciences to ground their work. The book offers practical guidelines for development of skills and processes that help leaders facilitate adult interaction and establish a collaborative working environment where learning is the goal for all community members, educators as well as students.

Haslam, B. (1997, Fall). How to rebuild a local professional development infrastructure. NAS Getting Better by Design. Arlington, VA: New American Schools.
Download in PDF form at http://www.naschools.org/respub/haslam.pdf
Bruce Haslam argues that too many schools still see professional development as something that is delivered to teachers without opportunities for follow up, little or no time for individual or collective reflection, and little testing of new ideas and information. He outlines a six-step school transformation strategy for districts: (1) convene a professional development task force, (2) map the local professional development infrastructure, (3) agree on broad principles and attributes to guide local practice, (4) report on current professional development programs and policies, (5) redesign current professional development programs and policies to support school transformation, (6) and monitor progress continuously.

Hord, S. (1992). Facilitative leadership: The imperative for change. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.
Read at http://www.sedl.org/change/facilitate/
The text contains research that supports six categories of actions that are used by effective leaders to facilitate change. These include developing a culture of readiness for change, promoting the vision, providing the necessary resources, ensuring the availability of professional development, maintaining checks on progress, and providing the ongoing assistance necessary for change to occur smoothly.

Hord, S. (1994). Staff development and change process: Cut from the same cloth. Issues...about Change, 4(2). Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.
Read at http://www.sedl.org/change/issues/issues42.html
In this paper, Shirley Hord describes the Joyce and Showers staff development model and relates it to a change model derived from school improvement studies. Noting the fit of the two models, Hord suggests successful strategies for a comprehensive approach to changing teachers' practices which include developing and articulating a vision, planning and providing resources, investing in training, monitoring progress, providing continuous assistance, and creating a context conducive to change.

Hord, S. (1997). Professional learning communities: Communities of continuous inquiry and improvement. Austin, TX: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 18-19.
Read at http://www.sedl.org/pubs/change34/
Shirley Hord summarizes the research, articulating the requirements for effective professional learning communities: (1) the collegial and facilitative participation of the principal who shares leadership, power, and authority through inviting staff input in decision making; (2) a shared vision that is developed from the staff's unswerving commitment to students' learning and that is consistently articulated and referenced for the staff's work; (3) collective learning among staff and application of the learning to solutions that address students' needs; (4) the visitation and review of each teacher's classroom behavior by peers as a feedback and assistance activity to support teachers; (5) physical conditions and human capacities that support such an operation.

Joyce, B. & Calhoun, E. (1996). Learning experiences in school renewal: An exploration of five successful programs. Eugene, OR: ERIC Clearinghouse on Educational Management.
Order from ERIC Clearinghouse's web site: http://www.eric.uoregon.edu
The authors present five case studies of programs used to build improved learning communities. Each of the five programs presented focuses on unique components of school renewal. Technical and social aspects of school renewal are examined, and the goal of building a learning community for the whole school remains a central theme throughout. The programs include the use of staff development as a tool for school improvement, the effective use of governance structures, the use of an initiative to create a culture of readers and writers, the use of staff development to increase the capacity of inner city schools, and the use of action research as a tool for school improvement.

Kaufman, M. (1997). A professional development stance for equity. SSI Perspectives, 2(3), 4-5.
Read at http://www.terc.edu/handsonIssues/f96/equity.html
The author describes a professional development process that assists teachers in implementing successful instructional strategies by using equity as a framing tool for decision making. Teachers are able to improve the educational outcomes for all students by creating a framework around which to initiate change. Teachers learned to approach change using the following elements: (1) a stance of critique and inquiry; (2) data-driven decision making; (3) investigation of best practices, including instruction, curriculum, and materials; and (4) teacher leadership development. This framework is a means of eliminating the fragmentation that typically accompanies the implementation of reform.

Kruse, S., Louis, K., & Bryk, A. (1994). Building professional community in schools. Madison, WI: Center on Organization and Restructuring Schools.
Download in PDF form at http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/archives/completed/cors/Issues_in_Restructuring_Schools/ISSUES_NO_6_SPRING_1994.pdf
Sharon Kruse, Karen Seashore Louis, and Anthony Bryk argue that if education is to improve, the school must be the focus of change. They argue that teachers in a strong professional community must demonstrate reflective dialogue, de-privatization of practice, collective focus, collaboration, and shared norms and values. They outline five structural condition of a professional community: time to meet and talk, physical proximity, interdependent teaching roles, communication structures, and teacher empowerment and school autonomy. Finally, they discuss the social and human resources that enhance professional communities: openness to improvement, trust and respect cognitive and skill base, supportive leadership, and socialization.

Lambert, L. (1998). Building leadership capacity in schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Order from ASCD's web site: http://www.ascd.org
Linda Lambert outlines five key assumptions which form the conceptual framework for building leadership capacity: (1) leadership means providing the reciprocal learning processes that enable participants to construct and negotiate meanings leading to a shared purpose of schooling; (2) leadership is about collective learning that has a shared purpose and leads to constructive change; (3) every member of the school community has the potential and right to work as a leader and can learn to do so, (4) leading and learning must be shared because school change is a collective endeavor, (5) leadership requires the redistribution of power and authority.

Lieberman, A. & McLaughlin, M. (1992). Networks for educational change: Powerful and problematic. Phi Delta Kappan, 74, 673-677.
Order through Phi Delta Kappa. Contact Terri Hampton at (800) 766-1156
Networks of teachers offer a new approach to staff development as teachers grow professionally and assume new leadership roles. Networks have a clear focus yet offer a variety of activities. In networks, the knowledge of teachers is respected. However, several problems can arise including failure to assess and modify their practices, difficulty in assimilating networks into schools, maintaining stability, uncontrolled growth, the threat to outside groups from the powerful ownership by teachers, lack of knowledge about change, lack of new models of leadership and accountability, and goals created outside of the network. Teachers support networks because they offer challenges and give them incentives to change their practice.

Lieberman, A. & Miller, L. (1999). Teachers--Transforming their world and their work. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Order from ASCD's web site: http://www.ascd.org.
Ann Lieberman and Lynne Miller share insights and wisdom gathered from educators across the country whom they have met during the past decade and a half. They argue that teachers should be at the center of all efforts to improve, rethink, and redesign schools. The authors enrich the current dialogue on teaching and schools by focusing on the constraints as well as the possibilities that are embedded in practice.

Little, J. (1982). Norms of collegiality and experimentation: Workplace conditions of school success. American Educational Research Journal, 19(3), 325-340.
Order from AERA by emailing subscriptions@aera.net
Interviews with 105 teachers and 14 administrators, supplemented by observation, provide data for a focused ethnography of the school as a workplace, specifically of organizational characteristics conducive to continued "learning on the job."

Little, J. (1997, March). Excellence in professional development and professional community (Working paper, Benchmarks for Schools). Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
View excerpt at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OERI/BlueRibbonSchools/profdev.html
Order complete paper from U.S. Department of Education. (202) 219-2149
The basic premise of the paper is that a school that is effective with students is also likely to play a powerful, deliberate, and consequential role in the support of teacher development. Professional development is moving toward a vision of professional communities that support teacher learning through diverse experiences. Little focuses on the environments (structures or practices, traditions or culture) that are conducive to teacher learning. She begins with an overview of a broadened conception of professional development, then describes the aspects of school organization and culture that affect professional development and concludes with a method for assessing the school's contribution to professional development.

Loucks-Horsley, S. (1996). Principles of effective professional development for mathematics and science education: A synthesis of standards. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI: National Institute for Science Education, NISE Brief 1(1). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 409 201)
Download in PDF form at http://www.wcer.wisc.edu/nise/Publications/Briefs/NISE_Brief_Vol_1_No_1.pdf
Susan Loucks-Horsely discusses some of conclusions from the Professional Development Project of the NISE. She presents seven principles that are found in excellent professional development experiences for science and mathematics educators: developing a clear, well-defined image of effective classroom learning and teaching; providing teachers with opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and teaching approaches; using instructional methods to promote learning for adults which mirror the methods used with students; strengthening the learning community of science and mathematics teachers; preparing and supporting teachers to be leaders; providing links to other parts of the educational system; and making continuous assessment part of the professional development process.

Louis, K., Kruse, S., & Raywid, M. (1996). Putting teachers at the center of reform: Learning schools and professional communities. National Association of Secondary School Principals Bulletin, 80(580), 9-21.
No longer available for purchase
Literature on organizational learning suggests three features of school culture and practice have an impact on teachers' ability to sustain an openness to learning: organizational memory, a shared knowledge base, and information distribution and interpretation. Professional communities are characterized by shared norms and values, reflective dialogue, de-privatization of practice, collective focus on student learning, and collaboration. The authors propose that organizational learning and professional communities, become linked through the concept of reflective practice. Using two school examples, they describe how one school became a thriving example of reform and the other did not.

Newmann, F. & Wehlage, G. (1995). Successful school restructuring: A report to the public and educators. Madison, WI: Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, 37-48.
Order from Document Service, Wisconsin Center for Education Research
1025 W. Johnson St., Room 242, Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-4214
Fred Newmann and Gary Wehlage present research concerning the conditions that enhance student learning and enable schools to function as professional communities. The structural conditions include shared governance that increases teachers' influence over school policy and practice, interdependent work structures which encourage collaboration, staff development that enhances technical skills consistent with school missions, deregulation that provides autonomy for schools, small school size, and parent involvement. Other conditions presented are effective human resources and leadership, external standard setting, school and teacher autonomy, and parent involvement.

Peterson, P., McCarthey, S., & Elmore, R. (1996). Learning from school restructuring. American Educational Research Journal, 33, 119-153.
Order from AERA by emailing subscriptions@aera.net
The authors analyze successful restructuring experiments from three elementary schools. Their study found that (1) teaching and learning are mainly a function of the teacher's beliefs, understandings, and behaviors within the context of specific classroom problems; (2) changing classroom practice is primarily a problem of continuous learning resulting in improved practice for teachers, not a problem of school organization; (3) school structures can provide opportunities for learning, but structures by themselves do not cause learning to occur; and (4) where teachers have a shared vision, teaching practice and student learning are successfully connected.

Rényi, J. (1996). Teachers take charge of their learning: Transforming professional development for student success. Washington, DC: National Foundation for the Improvement of Education.
Read at http://www.nfie.org/publications/takecharge.htm
This report provides the results of the NFIE's national survey of more than 800 teachers and two years of observations, consultations, surveys, and other studies. Two major findings: (1) 74 percent of teachers said they engage in professional growth to improve student achievement, and (2) 53 percent said they participate in professional development to improve their teaching skills. The report explores the conditions and policies needed to incorporate teachers' learning into their daily work in schools and makes recommendations regarding incentives, processes, policies, and structures that support wise, shared decisions about teachers' learning.

Riel, M. & Fulton, K. (2001, March). The role of technology in supporting learning communities. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(7), 518-523.
Order through Phi Delta Kappa. Contact Terri Hampton at (800) 766-1156
The authors assert that both students and adult learners benefit from participating in communities of practice. Technology facilitates interaction within learning communities. Online mentoring, distance education, and state-supported electronic networks open up the isolation of classrooms and offer teachers access to one another for ongoing support and professional development and sharing. The use of technologies such as interactive lesson plan templates, multimedia databases, streamed video, web-conferencing, and e-mail can help teachers access other teachers for ongoing professional collaboration. The authors cite several examples of electronic communities of practice for educators.

Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, G., & Smith, B. (1999). The dance of change: The challenges to sustaining momentum in learning organizations. NY, New York: Doubleday, Inc.
Order from Doubleday's web site: http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday
Also available through the NSDC Online Bookstore.
A Fifth Discipline resource, the book offers in-depth accounts of efforts to sustain learning initiatives undertaken by corporations and other organizations. Ten unique challenges are identified as those "sets of forces that oppose profound change." These challenges are discussed in terms of three growth processes that sustain change. The challenge of initiating include not enough time, lack of support, irrelevance, and lack of participation. The challenges of sustaining transformation include fear and anxiety, assessing, and supporters vs. non-supporters. The challenges of redesigning and rethinking include governance, diffusion, strategy, and purpose.

Sergiovanni, T. (1994). Building community in schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Order from Jossey-Bass's web site: http://www.josseybass.com
Thomas J. Sergiovanni discusses the importance of building a learning community by reorganizing our educational values, beliefs, and practices, rather than just using the word "community" in our mission statements. He argues for an understanding of a community as a collection of individuals who are bonded together by natural will and who are bound to a set of shared ideas and ideals. This bonding and binding is tight enough to transform them from a collection of "I's" into a collective "we." As a "we," members are part of a tightly knit web of meaningful relationships sharing common sustaining sentiments and traditions.

Sparks, G. (1983). Synthesis of research on staff development for effective teaching. Educational Leadership, 41(3), 65-72.
Order from ASCD's web site: http://www.ascd.org
Georgea Sparks briefly summarizes some of the research on appropriate content for staff development, as well as the appropriate context for staff development. The major focus of the article, however, is on the training process of staff development. Sparks combines some of the research on effective training activities to form a list: diagnosing and prescribing, giving information and demonstrating, discussing application, and coaching. Finally, she presents some of the research concerning the importance of designing staff development programs that are adapted to fit various teacher characteristics and attitudes.

Sparks, D. & Hirsh, S. (1997). A new vision for staff development. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and National Staff Development Council.
Order from the NSDC Bookstore.
Dennis Sparks and Stephanie Hirsh describe three powerful ideas altering the shape of schools and staff development: results-driven education, systems-thinking, and constructivism. Major shifts in staff development resulting from these three ideas include movement from individual development to individual and organizational development; from fragmented, piecemeal improvement efforts to staff development driven by a clear, coherent plan; from a focus on adult needs and satisfaction to a focus on student needs and learning outcomes; from training conducted away from the job to multiple forms of job-embedded learning; and from staff development as a "frill" to staff development as indispensable. Sparks and Hirsh elaborate on these shifts and provide examples from around the country.

Stigler, J. & Hiebert, J. (1999). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world's teachers for improving education in the classroom. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Order from Simon & Schuster's web site: http://www.simonsays.com.
James Stigler and James Hiebert use the results of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study to show that although American teachers are often competent at implementing American teaching methods, these teaching methods themselves are severely limited. They propose a new plan for improving classroom teaching in America. Their proposal is based on six principles: (1) expect improvement to be continual, gradual, and incremental; (2) maintain a constant focus on student learning goals; (3) focus on teaching, not teachers; (4) make improvements in context; (5) make improvement in the work of teachers; (6) build a system that can learn from its own experience.

U.S. Department of Education Professional Development Team. (1994). Building bridges: The mission and principles of professional development. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
Read at http://www.ed.gov/G2K/bridge.html
The Professional Development Team used available research to create a set of principles for staff development. According to their study, high quality professional development: (1) focuses on teachers as central to student learning; (2) focuses on individual, collegial, and organizational improvement; (3) respects and nurtures the intellectual and leadership capacity of individuals within the school community; (4) reflects best available research and practice in teaching, learning, and leadership; (5) enables teachers to develop further expertise in subject content, teaching strategies, and technology; (6) promotes continuous inquiry and improvement; (7) involves collaborative planning; (8) requires substantial time and other resources; (9) is driven by a coherent long-term plan; and (10) is assessed by its impact on teacher effectiveness and student learning.

Weiss, I. R. & Pasley J. D. (2006). Scaling up instructional improvement through teacher professional development: Insights from the local systemic change initiative. Philadelphia, PA: Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) Policy Briefs.
Read at http://www.cpre.org/Publications/rb44.pdf
Weiss and Pasley share results from the Local Systemic Change Initiative (LSC) and conclude that PD to enhance mathematics and science teaching can be implemented effectively at scale. When carefully designed and energetically supported, ambitious PD focused on instructional content and materials and sustained over time can change what happens in classrooms; impacts on teachers and their teaching were typically evident after approximately 30 hours of PD, with further impacts detected through 80 hours of PD. The LSDC evaluation suggests some implications of importance to those considering similar large-scale instructional reform through PD. First, if PD is going to have an impact, it needs to be focused on clear goals and delivered over time by well-trained providers. Competing and distracting PD efforts should be discouraged. Second, if PD is to move beyond business as usual, it must be based on content and practice and planned as a coherent set of strategies to develop teachers' content and pedagogical knowledge. This work is difficult, but it does not require starting from scratch; most districts have internal capacity-such as teachers who can lead PD and principals who can align instruction with a reform vision-that can be used to move instructional change to scale. Third, alignment of district policies with instructional reforms and garnering the support of school/district administrators is crucial to the success and long-term sustainability of these reforms. Finally, stakeholders need to be aware that change takes time-and work to help teachers gain that time for learning. The findings from the LSC program thus supports the consensus view about effective PD: the importance of content-based PD, aligned with curriculum and assessment, focused on student learning, sustained over time, with collaboration among teachers, and administrative support. The LSC experience also points to some ways to make sure the common sense of that consensus becomes common in practice.

What matters most: Teaching for America's future. (1996). New York, NY: National Commission on Teaching & America's Future.
Download in PDF form at http://www.tc.columbia.edu/~teachcomm/WhatMattersMost.pdf</p>
This report offers one of the most important strategies for achieving America's educational goals: a blueprint for recruiting, preparing, and supporting excellent teachers in all of America's schools. The Commission offers five major recommendations for surmounting some of the barriers to achieving America's education goals: (1) get serious about standards, for both students and teachers; (2) reinvent teacher preparation and professional development; (3) fix teacher recruitment and put qualified teachers in every classroom; (4) encourage and reward teacher knowledge and skill; and (5) create schools that are organized for student and teacher success.