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PART I: Key issues and concerns in school reform and school change
Week 1 - September 5: Why change? Why not?  

Overview of the course and key issues in school change. Participants will be introduced to the debates around whether or not schools have improved.

Printable Syllabus (word)

Designs for New Schools

Week 2 - September 12: What's involved in change?
The nature of change and the complexity of the “change process”


  • Fullan, M. (2006). “Change” In Turnaround leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 35-68.
  • Hargreaves, A. (2009).  The fourth way of change.  In A. Hargreaves & M. Fullan (Eds.) Change Wars.  Solution Tree.
  • Senge, P. (1990). “The art of seeing the forest and the trees.” In The Fifth discipline. New York: Doubleday, 127-135.


  • Hatch, T. (2009). “It takes capacity to build capacity” and “Changing conditions, changing times.” Chapters 1 & 2 from Managing to change:  How schools can survive (and sometimes thrive) in turbulent times.  New York:  Teachers College Press.

Due in class: 3-4 page letters

Resources on Change

Week 3 - September 19: What has changed? What hasn't?
A brief history of key events and issues in school reform: "Incremental" vs. "radical" change; how reforms change schools and schools change reforms; predictable failures; and the grammar of schooling.


  • Tyack, D. & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering toward utopia: A Century of public school reform. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Chapters 1-4.


History Resources


Week 4 - September 26: What should change?
An examination of the theories and assumptions behind school reform efforts.


  • Hatch, T. (1998). “The differences in theory that matter in the practice of school improvement,” American Journal of Education 35 : 3-31.
  • Cohen, D. K., & Moffit, S. (2009).  “Title 1” & “Epilogue” (pp. 179-231) in The ordeal of equality: Did federal regulation fix the schools? Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.


Due in class: 1 page description of a reform effort to serve as the basis for the reform critique

Background Resources

Week 5 - October 3:  How can schools change?   
            An exploration of the theories behind a variety of approaches that seek to redesign schools and/or learning (such as Core Knowledge, Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, KIPP, or the Big Picture Company)


  • Websites and selected program documents and evaluation reports from one of the school designs.


Due in class:  Bring a brief (1-2 paragraph) description of your initial view of the theory of action underlying key aspects of one of the designs.


School Designs

Week 6 - October 10: Why don’t schools change? The perils and the promise of school reform.
A consideration of the key problems with current reform efforts.


  • Cohen, David (1990). “A Revolution in one classroom: The Case of Mrs. Oublier.” Educational Evaluation Policy Analysis, 12.
  • Elmore, R. (2003). “Change and improvement in education.” In David Gordon (Ed.). A Nation reformed? Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.
  • Payne, C. (2008).  “I don't want your nasty pot of gold From social demoralization to organizational irrationality” In  So much reform, so little change.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.


  • Evans, R. (1996). “Reach and realism, experience and hope.” In The Human side of school change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 289-299.

Due: Lists of group members for school design project

Centers for Research and Evaluation

Center on Education Policy

PART II: How can we design new schools?

Week 7 - October 17:  What can new schools look like?
Initial discussion of new school designs and the school design process.


Due: 4-5 page reform critiques

Week 8 - October 24: Purposes, key elements and approaches to school design
Why have a school? What purposes does it serve? Who will it serve? How will it be designed?


  • Darling-Hammond, L. (1997).  “Structuring learner-centered schools” and “Staffing schools for teaching and learning.”  In The Right to learn. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass, 148-210.
  • Hatch, T. (2009).  “Key practices for managing change.”  Introduction to Part II  in Managing to change:  How schools can survive (and sometimes thrive) in turbulent times.  New York:  Teachers College Press.


  • Hatch, T. (2009). “Developing common purposes and shared understanding.” Chapter 3 in Managing to change:  How schools can survive (and sometimes thrive) in turbulent times. New York:  Teachers College Press.
  • Meier, D. (1999). “Habits of mind: Democratic values and the creation of effective learning communities” in Common schools, uncommon futures: A working consensus for school renewal.  New York:  Teachers College Press.

Resources for designing charter schools and small schools


New Visions school design resources

Resources for Budgeting:

Week 9 - October 31: Theories of learning.
What theories of learning underlie the design of a school? What are the goals? How will they be achieved?


  • Resnick, L. & Hall, M. (1998). “Learning organizations for sustainable organizational change. Daedulus, 127, 89-118.

    And one of several books: 

  • Garcia, O. & Kleifgen, J. A. (2010). Educating emergent bilinguals: Policies, programs, and practices for English Language Learners. NY: Teachers College Press.
  • Goleman, D. (2012). Ecoliterate: How educators are cultivating emotional, social, and ecological intelligence.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.
  • Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London:  Routledge.
  • Hehir, T. & Katzman, L. (2012).  Effective inclusive schools.  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.
  • Jackson, Y. (2011).  Pedagogy of confidence. New York:  Teachers College Press.
  • Thomas, D. & Seely-Brown, J.S. (2011). A new culture of learning.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Due in class:  Draft description of proposed school’s purpose, location, and students/community.

Resources for theories of learning:

John Seely Brown


Architectural design and learning:

Design Share

Week 10 - November 7: Community, & Culture
What kind of school culture(s) reflect your purpose and the learning you hope to support? Who is your community?  How are culture and community related?


  • Berger, R.  “The radon project.”  In A Culture of quality.  Providence, RI.  Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 13-51.
  • Stoll, L. (1998).  School culture.  School Improvement Network’s Bulletin, 9.
  • Hatch, T. (1998).  How community action contributes to achievement. Educational Leadership, 55 (8), 16-19.
  • Warren, M., Hong, S., Rubin, C. & Uy, P. (2009).  Beyond the Bake Sale: A Community-Based Relational Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools. Teachers College Record, 111(9),  2209-2254.


  • Evans, R.  (2001) “The Culture of Resistance.” In L. Iura (Ed.), The Jossey-Bass Reader on School Reform.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Due in class (for discussion in design teams): Initial draft/outline of the school’s curriculum

Due Monday November 12 at 6 PM: Drafts of the Executive Summary and supporting documents for key elements of the design (such as curriculum and instruction materials or hiring criteria and professional development plans, etc.)

Week 11 - November 14: Discussion of initial design proposals.

Due in class: Peer feedback for one design

Week 12 - November 21: No class.

Resources on Community Organizing and Community Involvement

Annenberg Institute

Coalition for Community Schools

Harvard Family Research Project

Week 13 - November 28: Professional Development. 
What do staff members need to know and do?  What kinds of support do they need?


Selections from:

  • Elmore, R. & Birney, D. (1997).  “Investing in teacher learning.” National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
  • Heneman, H.G., Milanowski, A., Kimball, S. M. & Odden, A. (2006). Standards-based teacher evaluation as a foundation for knowledge- and skill-based pay. CPRE Policy Briefs, 45. 
  • Odden, A. et. al. (2001).  Enhancing teacher quality through knowledge and skill-based pay. CPRE Policy Briefs, 34
  • Doyle, D., Han, J. & Public Impact (2012).  Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Look ‘Under the Hood’ of Teacher Evaluation in 10 Sites.  New Haven, CT:  ConCan & Public Impact.


  • Hatch, T. (2009). “Working on hiring and turnover” and “Creating a productive work environment.” Chapters 4 & 5 in Managing to change:  How schools can survive (and sometimes thrive) in turbulent times.  New York:  Teachers College Press.

Due in class (for discussion in design teams): Outlines of staff hiring and selection criteria and/or professional development plans.

Resources on Teaching and Professional Development

Week 14 - December 5: Assessment and Accountability
How should a school be assessed and to whom is it accountable?


  • Darling-Hammond, L. & Snyder, J. (1992). "Reframing Accountability: Creating Learner-Centered Schools" In Ann Lieberman (Ed.), The Changing Context of Teaching, Ninety-first Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, (11-36). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Ninety-first Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 11-36. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Furman, S. (1999) "The New Accountability" Consortium for Policy Research in Education University of Pennsylvania.
  • Abelman, C. & Elmore, R. (1999) "When accountability knocks, will anyone answer?
  • McDonald, J. (1993). The dilemmas of planning backwards. Providence, RI: Coalition of Essential Schools.


  • Hatch, T. (2009). “Managing the external environment.” Chapter 7 in Managing To Change: How schools can survive (and sometimes thrive) in turbulent times. New York: Teachers College Press.

Due in class (for discussion in design teams): Outlines of assessment and accountability plans.

Resources on Testing

Smarter Balanced Assessments

PARCC Assessments

Week 15 - December 12: Design Presentations & Reflections

Due: Final design portfolios.

Week 16 - December 19: No Class

Due by 9 PM: 4-5 Design analysis papers


Fall 2011
C&T 4004: School Change
Thomas Hatch, Teachers College


About Thomas Hatch