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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2014
A useful book and apparently, the DVD too. However, it is a MONUMENTAL PAIN to get access to the DVD content if you buy this as an ebook for kindle. I'm still trying to get the publishers to give me access after about a month since buying it. I there fore can only give this a 2 as I can't get to the 'very important' content of DVD.I regret getting this as an ebook, beware if you do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is best viewed as an operations manual with a toolkit for those directly involved in public school education in the U.S. at a time when, on average, administrators spend about 10% of their time on "day-to-day instruction"; as for classroom teachers, their average is less than 40%. Various research studies suggest that exceptional schools are produced by great leaders who do everything humanly possible to facilitate and support great teaching. There are countless examples of schools with almost unlimited resources that are ineffective or, at best, mediocre, and countless other examples of schools with relatively few resources (and located within impoverished socio-eco0nomic conditions) that are effective, and in several instances where learning is outstanding.

With contributions from Brett Peiser, Paul Bambrick-Santoyo poses and then responds to a series of questions such as these:

o "What concrete actions does an excellent school leader take at each moment to make his or her school exceptional?"
o "What are the actions that lead not just to somewhat effective learning, but to phenomenal results?"
o "What do these leaders prioritize on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis?"
o "What has anyone done in a replicable way, moving away from the 'Superman' model of outstanding schools?"

In his previous book, Driven by Data, Bambrick-Santoyo focused on one critical lever of leadership: data-driven instruction. In this book, he focuses on seven: four "Instruction Levers" that include data-driven instruction ("Define the roadmap for rigor and adapt teaching to meet student needs"), observation and feedback ("Give all teachers professional, one-on-one coaching that increases their effectiveness as instructors"), instructional planning ("Guarantee every student well-structured lessons that teach the right content"), and professional development ("Strengthen both culture and instruction with hands-on training that sticks"). There are three "Cultural Levers": student culture ("Create a strong culture where learning thrives"), staff culture ("Build and support the right team for your school"), and managing school leadership teams ("Train instructional leaders to expand your impact across the school"). I have no quarrel or quibble with these seven levers for executing quality instruction and culture. On the contrary, I think they are eminently sensible, indeed admirable.

However, with all due respect to the value of the information, insights, and recommendations that Bambrick-Santoyo provides in this volume, the transformation that is needed in public school education must include (a) the process by which school administrators are formally and informally prepared for their duties before they are assumed and (c) a separate but related process by which teachers are formally and informally prepared before they become classroom teachers. It is a sobering thought that more than 90% of those now in the classroom will still be there in 20 years so Bambrick-Santoyo's great emphasis on in-service training for their professional development is obviously appropriate.

I appreciate the provision of a DVD whose substantial content supplements material within the four-part narrative. There are "heads-ups" strategically placed that suggest which video clips to watch. I also appreciate the material in Part IV: five "Professional Development Workshops" on observation and feedback, leading planning, leading professional development, student culture, and finding the time.

As for further reading suggestions, here are five: the aforementioned Driven by Data as well as Paul Tough's How Children Succeed, Daniel Siegel's Mindsight, Doug Lemov's Practice Perfect, and Tony Wagner's Creating Innovators.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2013
Although written with the US education system in mind there are many many wonderful practical ideas In here that will impact quickly on school improvement if adapted to suit a schools' own situation. The book is easy to read and can be dipped in and out of. I will be basing a lot of my practice around the ideas in the book.
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on 6 July 2014
I bought kindle version so did not get the DVD teaching materials and templates to use which is a shame as they would help to see the core practices in action. Some are available on YouTube though.
According to this book there are seven core practices (levers) which if put in to action will improve every school. What I took away from this book is on using time effectively, questioning to enhance rigorous learning which is always linked to an area of weakness in learner progress, observing teachers for fifteen minutes every week and providing feedback and planning time so they can build suggestions in to subsequent classes which will then be observed to assess improvement and progress, distributive leadership. A good read overall with useful ideas.
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on 3 September 2015
A really good read but it is so difficult to get access to the dvd material when downloaded as an ebook. The instructions contained in the book itself dont work. You have to personally request the content, attach proof of purchase and then wait for response.
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on 19 October 2014
This is a dense book from an American educator. It makes some very useful insights into leadership practices. It wasn't an easy read, in terms of style and readability, but it is well worth persevering.
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on 27 May 2013
This book told me everything I needed to know. I just wish I had read it sooner. I received training in New Jersey from the author and it really didn't disappoint. Excellent!
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on 3 August 2014
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2014
A useful book if only to read about strategies for developing your leadership skills further.
Useful ideas and case studies.
Worth a read.
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