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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.


Trish Brennan-Gac
Learning Point Associates

The Race to the Top (RTTT) grant competition incentivized 41 states to put their best foot forward and demonstrate the significant progress they have made in improving their education systems and the academic achievement of their students. Every application shares a rich story of each state’s efforts over time and provides specific examples of their success. From these applications, state education agency (SEA) staff can learn about successful strategies and emerging trends in other states. These strategies and trends may offer insights or connections to aid SEAs in similar work in which they are engaged.

Learning Point Associates staff reviewed these initial applications and analyzed specific topics related to each of the assurance areas. The first product from this effort is a report that was jointly published by Learning Point Associates and the Council of Chief State School Officers: Preliminary Review: CCSSO Strategic Initiatives Identified in State Phase 1 Race to the Top Applications. The report reflects only a portion of the work we have done in analyzing these applications. We have gathered specific information on a variety of topics that are listed below.

As we continue our analysis, we are eager to learn how we can use this information to support the staff of the SEAs we serve. So, what should our next steps be? Are you interested in webinars or topic-specific analysis? Would you like to talk with representatives from other states? Would you like an analysis of your state’s application and scoring?

Following is a list of the topics we researched. Did we miss something? Is there a topic in which you are particularly interested? Please share your thoughts with us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

RTTT Topics Researched

  • Traditional teacher certification
  • Alternative certification
  • Teacher evaluation
  • Teacher compensation
  • Local education agency/union engagement
  • Alternative certification for principals
  • Principal certification
  • Principal evaluation
  • Principal compensation
  • Alternative certification for administrators
  • Administrator certification
  • Administrator evaluation
  • Administrator compensation
  • Technology
  • Individualized instruction
  • Data
  • School improvement
  • Student involvement
  • Assessment consortium