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Paul Kimmelman, Ed. D.
Senior Advisor, Learning Point Associates

Education leaders must be responsive to compliance needs, but that alone will not guarantee continuous improvement. Leadership must create conditions that foster innovative solutions and engage all educators in systemic reform to offer the best chance for success. These concepts are the basis of a new book, The School Leadership Triangle: From Compliance to Innovation, which I wrote on behalf of Learning Point Associates and was released by Corwin Press in March 2010.

The book is intended for school-based professional study groups to read and then collaboratively work on implementing authentic innovative approaches to their improvement work. The School Leadership Triangle includes contemporary ideas on distributing leadership throughout a school or district. The book is not a “cookbook” of solutions; instead, it is a framework to assist leaders in understanding why compliance has become so important to federal policymakers, how theory treats leadership as a behavioral science that supports the importance of teachers as school leaders, and what the process of innovation actually looks like.

The School Leadership Triangle provides a rare glimpse into the thought processes of members of Congress (including three of the primary leaders involved in passing the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, other federal and state policymakers, education practitioners, and innovation experts who are highlighted in their own words.

Educators who recognize the importance of innovative solutions in overcoming the obstacles of successful reform efforts should gain an understanding of approaches that will help them engage in the process of innovation. The insight of leaders and policymakers, practical applications, and a framework to support innovation are three things that can help leaders implement innovative reform.

One Response to “The School Leadership Triangle”

  • Nick Pinchok:

    Innovation as I understand it is using more creative and collaborative attributes of problem-solving to improve systems, products and processes. Technology by itself is not innovative, for instance, but how it is used and relates to every day needs and problems makes it a vehicle for innvation. Those that use these innovative problem-sovling characteristics well have achieved phenomenal success in business, the classroom and other settings. I believe the framework Dr. Kimmelman lays out in his book can help education leaders at all levels be more responsive and creative in solving our education problems. What if the same framework could be applied to research, too?

    I just got back from the Midwest Regional Conference on the Achievement Gap sponsored by University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. There was an interesting panel discussion around over 30 years of research on the achievement gap. This very important longitudinal research examined the factors that have contributed to the gaps and the importance of the changing nature of families and schools (i.e., students’ parent-levels of in-home education and income). Von Sheppard, a very successful and inspirational former teacher and principal and current Assistant Superintendent who has turned around schools in various, difficult settings, asked the audience why aren’t we studying the impact attitudes, relationships and values/belief systems we have about all children being studied more rigorously? Knowing that no matter what curriculum, technology or assessments you have, if the quality and strength of the relationships and attitudes of the adults in the building aren’t extremely positive and managed, that learning environments can suffer significantly.

    I hope Dr. Kimmelman’s book can inspire more innovative leadership, programs, teaching and research across our entire education community.

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