Publication Date: August 8, 2009
Series: series on school reform
Americans have been trying to redesign the American high school since it was first invented. One of the latest approaches—funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation —is to find inventive high school designs that work well in one location and can be replicated in others. The authors of this book followed a design team from Big Picture Learning, recording the challenges it faced and the strategies it employed in pursuit of this goal. Their accessible and entertaining account of Big Picture’s work is laced with stories about “scaling up” by other school design teams and in other enterprises beyond high school, and includes commentary throughout by Greg Farrell, founder of Expeditionary Learning Schools Outward Bound and Howard Wollner, former senior vice president of Starbucks. Based on careful research, the book is both a practical guide to a new dimension of school reform and an engaging read for anyone interested in school change.
The book is organized according to the eight challenges of going to scale with new school designs, complete with advice for how to address them:
1.;Fidelity Challenge. Balancing fidelity and adaptation.
2.;Teaching Challenge. Teaching and learning the design.
3.;Ownership Challenge. Instilling shared ownership of the design.
4.;Communication Challenge. Communicating effectively across contexts.
5.;Feedback Challenge. Using experience in new settings to improve the design.
6.;Resource Challenge. Obtaining and managing resources.
7.;Political Challenge. Negotiating the politics of local adoption.
8.;Mindset Challenge. Coping with the difference that difference makes.
Joseph P. McDonald is professor of Teaching and Learning at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Emily J. Klein is an assistant professor at Montclair State University of New Jersey in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Meg Riordan is a school designer for Expeditionary Learning Schools Outward Bound, a national organization that conducts professional development for teachers and other school leaders.
“A practical guide for educators trying to use our nation's best schools as a model for change.”
—Pedro A. Noguera, New York University
“Readable and much needed.”
—Deborah Meier, education reformer
“The big challenge in education is quality at scale—a function of talent, model, and execution. Going to Scale with New School Designs is an important summary of one of the most innovative school networks in the world, Big Picture Learning, which has achieved remarkable scale and impact.”
—Tom Vander Ark, Revolution Learning
“Bravo! I’ve followed the adventures of Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor—two heroes in American Education. This book about why and how they are creating brighter futures for America’s youth is a must read.” —Don Shalvey, teacher and co-founder of Aspire Public Schools.