Improving America’s Schools Together

Improving America’s Schools Together: How District-University Partnerships and Continuous Improvement Can Transform Education is the first definitive text on continuous improvement in school district-university partnerships, covering improvement methods, theory, research, and real cases across the United States with practical improvement tools that can be adapted to any setting. Through an array of in-depth stories, this book demonstrates how improvement science—as a shared method—can help universities, districts, and schools foster leaders and educators and enhance students’ learning and opportunities.

Among other topics, readers will benefit from reading about how these partnerships developed programs and courses for aspiring school leaders centered on local problems; strengthened improvement capabilities within districts and schools; leveraged improvement science to transform how teachers are professionally supported; and spanned institutional boundaries through shared tools, frameworks, and practices. Through rich stories and detailed artifacts, including protocols, MOUs, and other practical tools, the authors provide insight and guidance on the mechanics of place-based, problem-focused, and improvement-minded district-university partnerships. Readers can assess their readiness and ability to establish continuous improvement partnerships; identify the enabling conditions in their locales; and recognize the kinds of resources and strategies that allow for mutually beneficial collaborations.

This volume brings together a dream author team—a mix of scholars and scholarly professionals with complementary research and practice-based expertise who have figured out how to work productively together in research-practice partnerships. Their contributions provide inspiration and concrete guidance for educational leaders in schools, districts, and institutions of higher education. The rich cases of higher education–school district partnership reveal innovative structures and collaborative practices that enable joint work to build capacity for continuous improvement in service of creating more effective and equitable systems. For all these reasons and more, this book is on the cutting edge of the continuous improvement movement in education and is a must-read for educators seeking to transform U.S. education and create more equitable learning opportunities for students.
— Jennifer Lin Russell, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

The idea that school district-university partnerships for educator preparation should be mutually beneficial is almost universally acknowledged, but often poorly articulated by practitioners when asked to provide evidence of such a partnership. If you’ve wondered what ‘mutually beneficial and co-constructed partnerships’ look like in practice and how they can be authentic and sustainable over time, this book is for you. With one fell swoop, it silences those resistant to change who wield the argument that ‘it can’t happen here’ as their justification for not innovating.
— Sean Kottke, PhD, Office of Educator Excellence, Michigan Department of Education