I'm pleased to share that a case study co-authored by my recently-retired WKU colleague Ric Keaster and me appears in a just-published book edited by D.D. Warrick and Jens Mueller called Lessons in Changing Cultures: Learning from Real World Cases (Rossi-Smith Publishing).
The book includes 28 real-world case studies exploring how leaders effectively worked to change organizational cultures in a wide variety of contexts, and is currently available in .pdf and .epub formats. It will soon appear on the iBook Store and also Kindle, and depending on sales may eventually be published in hard copy as well.
Our chapter is entitled "Transforming Education and Changing School Culture," and describes work carried out in the Simpson County (KY) Schools during 2009 and 201o to implement the instructional rounds learning protocol. At the time I was an instructional supervisor there and worked closely with Simpson County superintendent Jim Flynn to learn the rounds process and implement it throughout the district.
Instructional rounds is a collaborative method of inquiry developed by Richard Elmore and his colleagues at Harvard and designed to help schools gather and reflect on data about a vexing, school-wide problem of instructional practice. It is loosely based on the practice of medical rounds used in teaching hospitals.
The case study details how Jim and I travelled to Harvard with a contingent of leaders from the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative and some of its member districts, learning the rounds protocol directly from Elmore and his partners, and then worked to implement rounds as a district-wide form of professional learning. Among the key lessons we learned in the process was the great value of engaging classroom teachers in the vision and implementation of rounds from the very beginning.
We were pleased to pioneer a powerful tool of school improvement that was subsequently implemented in several other GRREC districts. The coop continues to sponsor regular rounds visits to schools throughout the region where superintendents, principals, district leaders, classroom teachers, university partners and others can learn together and provide specific, actionable, data-based feedback to schools on their improvement efforts.
The chapter includes questions for discussion and reflection, and like many other case studies in the book, could be used in various leadership courses, reading groups, or other professional development activities.