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Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I recently read Strategic Inquiry (Panero & Talbert, 2013).

The book was an explanation, a defense, and a promotion for a systemic process of school improvement they call the Scaffolded Apprenticeship Model (SAM).  

The SAM process is built on a three-phase approach that focuses, in order, on:
  1. Move students - by targeting small groups of underperforming students, building a small teacher team around those students, analyzing deeply the antecedents of their academic (not social) shortcomings, and purposefully deploying mindful interventions specifically at those deficit-causing root causes.  Learning, not teaching, is the focus of the intervention efforts.
  2. Move a system - through implementing structural changes within the organization such as schedules, staffing patterns, time for professional collaboration, intentional data analysis, dialogue/debate around next steps.  In essence, moving away from the "busyness" of school and focusing time/people/resources on the "business" of school - learning.
  3. Move colleagues - leveraging items 1 and 2 above, foster the conditions in which the culture of the school and it's supporting community/stakeholders come to understand that school is not where we work and not what we do, it is the single-minded and passionate commitment to optimizing the learning of every child.

Strategic Inquiry was an excellent read.  I find the principles promoted to be applicable and transferable to any organization that is committed to continuous improvement.  

Essentially, the message is this:  define clearly why you exist and what your mission is, then reframe every act, conversation, thought, and intention to focus on that mission with relentless energy.

A very nice recipe for organizational (and personal) efficacy.  Thanks for the rec, Dr. G.

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