Cover image for Getting to excellent : how to create better schools
Getting to excellent : how to create better schools
Langer, Judith A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Teachers College Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
x, 129 pages : illustrations 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LB2822.82 .L36 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Getting to Excellent is for everyone - educators, parents, civic leaders - who want students to think sharply, like learning, and have the high literacy skills that will open the path to success in school, work, and life. Using data from her groundbreaking study of diverse middle and high schools, Judith Langer shows us what makes the difference between highly effective schools and typical, business-as-usual schools. This very accessible volume: Provides research-based guidance from schools in California, Florida, New York, and Texas, four states with diverse students and different testing demands. Features many examples of schools in action, identifying particular features that are present in effective schools but don't exist in others. Examines the extent to which teachers and administrators are affected by the larger environment, leading to professional growth or malaise. Includes models for providing rich and exciting learning environments that undergird success for all students. Includes self-inspection checklists to help administrators, teachers, and others place their own school, on the continuum from typical to excellent, and identify areas that need improvement.

Author Notes

Judith A. Langer is Distinguished Professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she is founder and director of the Albany Institute for Research in Education and director of the National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
1 Successful Schools Follow a Different Drummerp. 1
The National Focusp. 2
What Else?p. 3
2 Tests Are Used to Enrich the Curriculum, Not to Narrow Itp. 8
Using Tests as an Opportunityp. 10
Setting Broad Learning Goalsp. 12
Preparing for Testsp. 14
Building Curriculump. 15
Spending Time and Moneyp. 16
Excellent Schools: What's the Difference?p. 17
3 Investing in Professionalism Pays Offp. 19
A Professional Community at Schoolp. 21
Professionalism Within and Beyond the Schoolp. 24
Making Things Happenp. 25
Respect for Learningp. 27
Professionalism in Schools That Workp. 28
4 The Academic Program Gets Frequent Tune-Upsp. 30
The Academic Program Within the Departmentp. 31
The Academic Program Within the Interdisciplinary Teamp. 33
Organizing What Gets Taught: The Big Picturep. 34
Extra Helpp. 37
Academic Programs in Effective Schools: How They Workp. 40
5 Instruction Aims High and Is Responsive to Studentsp. 42
Aiming Highp. 43
Teaching Students What to Dop. 46
Teaching Skillsp. 48
Improved Instructionp. 51
6 Parents, Community, and Schools Work Together--Reallyp. 53
School Managementp. 54
Children's School Livesp. 57
School Offerings Within and Beyond the Schoolp. 59
The School as a Community Resourcep. 62
Caring Counts, Toop. 63
7 Good Schools Are Possible Everywhere: One Neighborhood, Two Schoolsp. 65
The Neighborhoodp. 66
The Schoolsp. 66
The Parents and Communityp. 68
Different Responses to Testsp. 69
Different Notions of Professionalismp. 71
Different Academic Programsp. 72
Different Kinds of Instructionp. 73
The Two Schools: A Re-Viewp. 75
8 The Road to Changep. 77
What Teachers Can Dop. 81
What School Administrators Can Dop. 83
What Parents Can Dop. 85
What Next?p. 86
9 Frequently Asked Questionsp. 89
Home Decisionsp. 90
Connecting with Schoolp. 95
Why Things Get Taught That Wayp. 99
Special Needsp. 103
In Closingp. 106
Appendix About the Studyp. 107
Notesp. 113
Indexp. 119
About the Authorp. 129