Making Lasting Change in Schools

By Douglas B. Reeves

It is a rare board member or school leader who believes, “My mandate is to keep things as they are and ensure that we do not improve.” Almost everyone wants change, whether it is helping students meet the demands of global competition, helping teachers and administrators improve their skills to improve student performance, or helping systems leaders operate more efficiently to conserve resources in profoundly challenging times.

While the appetite for change is great, the leadership literature on systems change can be overwhelming and profoundly frustrating. Scholars of the highest rank have outlined the elements of successful change leadership in comprehensive and accessible fashion, but the vast majority of efforts fail.

Here are five suggestions for how we can shift and make successful changes in our systems:

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