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A laser-beam focus on improving instruction to improve learning!
If we want to change how students write, compute, and think, then
teachers must transform the old “assign-and-assess” model into
engaging, coherent, and rigorous instruction. The authors show
school leaders how to make this happen amidst myriad distractions,
initiatives, and interruptions. Unlike other books that stop at evaluating teachers and instruction, this work demonstrates how to grow schools’ instructional capacities with a three-step process that involves:
(1) Envisioning what good teaching looks like
(2) Measuring the quality of current instruction against this standard
(3) Working relentlessly to move the quality of instruction closer and closer to the ideal
This book is for principals who are ready to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to create lasting school improvement. Drawing on 35 years of experience as a teacher and principal, Alan Jones offers a powerful new vision for our troubled school systems—a prescription for the development of Strong Instructional Leaders. Jones describes the challenges administrators face and then lays out a plan for moving beyond keeping up appearances and daily routines to having a meaningful impact on student learning and achievement. His plan shows administrators how to respect the abilities of teachers and students while building staff investment in a shared instructional worldview. Representing an important next step in school reform, this inspirational book:
  • Analyzes the failure of our schools to help students grow intellectually, socially, and emotionally, and provides the foundation for change.
  • Juxtaposes two paradigms of instructional leadership, the traditional one that defines school leadership as a management function versus another that views school leadership as an educational function.
  • Describes the process and the qualities necessary to become a Strong Instructional Leader.


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“Jones writes with the voice of experience and as a friend of young people. He consistently challenges what he sees as the ‘business as usual’ of schooling, including the current dominant model of school reform—raise standards, test children, reward and punish teachers and principals.”

Robert V. Bullough, Jr., Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling (CITES), Brigham Young University

“Finally a book that really gets inside the deep, human meaning of what it means to become an instructional leader. From someone who has lived it, but who also sees the big picture, Becoming a Strong Instructional Leader is insightful, practical, and uplifting. ‘Be an instructional leader not an instructional manager,’ says Jones. And then he shows us what this means, philosophically and strategically.”

Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, OISE/University of Toronto

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