Design-Based School Improvement

Design-Based School Improvement A Practical Guide for Education Leaders

Rick Mintrop
cloth, 280 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-903-7
Price: $66.00

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paper, 280 Pages
Pub. Date: April 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-902-0
Price: $34.00

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Pub. Date: April 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-904-4

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At the heart of the effort to enact and scale up successful school reforms is the need for more robust links between research and practice. One promising approach is design development, a methodology widely used in other fields and only recently adapted to education, which offers a disciplined process for identifying practical problems, assessing evidence of outcomes, accounting for variability in implementation and results, and establishing a foundation for broader understanding of the problem and proposed solutions.


In a rare melding of theory and on-the-ground experiences, Mintrop shows how school leaders can tackle equity-related problems of practice at a local level. Examples of inclusive and context-specific ‘design’ steps provide concrete support for leaders intent on translating a deep commitment to educational justice into actions that change students’ lives and learning. A superb contribution to the field of education leadership! — Jeannie Oakes, Presidential Professor Emeritus, UCLA, and president 2015–2016, American Educational Research Association

In this smart volume, Mintrop and colleagues bring together the best thinking in research and practice about design-based school improvement. This book is a must-read for any educator who wants to lead for equity-focused improvement. — Meredith I. Honig, associate professor, Educational Policy, Organizations & Leadership, and director, District Leadership Design Lab (DL2) and Leadership for Learning, University of Washington, Seattle

Our district has embraced design-based improvement as we transition to more rigorous academic standards. Mintrop’s book provides an insightful guide to this dynamic, learner-centered approach. — Stan “Data” Dobbs, superintendent and CEO, Hayward Unified School District, California

An all-around good read for those who want to bridge the research-practice silos in education. — Louis Gomez, professor, Department of Education, UCLA, and senior fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement Teaching

Design-Based School Improvement is a concise primer for leaders who are confounded by the volume and complexity of persistent problems in education. It systematically provides a template for identifying problems and changing conditions to bring about a solution. — Daniel J. Osborn, Journal of Education

Designed-Based School Improvement is challenging and messy — accurately reflecting the work of education leaders...It is the author’s refusal to understate the complexity while articulating a hopeful and coherent path to improvement that makes it a book worth celebrating. — Mary B. Herrmann, School Administrator

Design-Based School Improvement serves as a practical guide for school leaders who want to create lasting change and improve schools from the inside. — Jen Thomas, National Association of Elementary School Principals

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About the Author

Rick Mintrop, currently on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, was an educator at the school level in various capacities in both the United States and Germany before he entered into an academic career. He received an MA in political science and German literature at the Freie Universität Berlin and a PhD in education from Stanford University.

He was the faculty co-director of the Principal Leadership Institute at UCLA and has been the director of the doctoral program in Leadership for Educational Equity (LEEP) at Berkeley since 2006. LEEP aims to prepare strong leaders for high-need urban schools, and design development studies are the signature pedagogy of this program.

As a researcher, he explores school change and improvement at the nexus of educational policies, teachers’ work, and broader institutional changes. He examined these relationships, first, in East German schools that underwent fundamental changes after the collapse of authoritarian socialism. A number of articles and a book, Educational Change and Social Transformation (with Hans Weiler and Elisabeth Fuhrmann, 1996), resulted from this work. He coauthored (with Bruno Losito, CEDE, Italy) The Teaching of Civic Education (2001), which looks at the conditions of civic education teaching in twenty-eight countries. His interest in design-based thinking began in a project that was inspired by the work of the late Ann Brown and produced, among other publications, an article, “Educating Student and Novice Teachers in a Constructivist Manner: Can It All Be Done?” (Teachers College Record, 2002), which was the Top Featured Article in the 2002 volume.

He has written various publications about his research on school accountability; these include Schools on Probation: How Accountability Works (and Doesn’t Work) (2004); “The Practical Relevance of Accountability Systems for School Improvement” (with Tina Trujillo, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis); “Predictable Failure of Federal Sanctions-Driven Accountability for School Improvement—And Why We May Retain It Anyway” (with Gail Sunderman, Educational Researcher, 2009); and “Bridging Accountability Obligations, Professional Values, and (Perceived) Student Needs with Integrity,” (Journal of Educational Administration, 2012), which was named Commendable Paper for the 2012 volume.

Table of Contents


E-book available through online booksellers

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