What You Need to Know From the Lighthouse Project

By Hilary Lamont and Mary Delagardelle

Are school boards in high-achieving districts different from those in low-achieving districts? If so, how can all school boards become more like those in districts with high achievement?

These two questions are at the heart of the Lighthouse Project, a research effort of the Iowa Association of School Boards now in its 11th year. And the answers are promising.

The first study in this research effort, conducted from 1998 to 2000, showed that boards and districts with higher levels of student achievement were different from those with lower levels, when controlling for a wide range of variables. The second study, conducted from 2002 to 2007, looked at how boards learn to lead their districts to become high performing.

We now have embarked on the project’s third study, which will result in a well-tested approach to building board leadership for student achievement. Once this phase is completed, we will have proven results in more than 60 districts across the country.

Let’s take a look at what we have learned so far.

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