Steps to Schoolwide Success

Steps to Schoolwide Success Systemic Practices for Connecting Social-Emotional and Academic Learning

Stacey A. Rutledge, Marisa Cannata, Stephanie L. Brown, and Daniel G. Traeger
paper, 232 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2020
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-459-5
Price: $32.00

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cloth, 232 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2020
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-460-1
Price: $62.00

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Steps to Schoolwide Success makes a powerful case for the implementation of a school reform that bridges academic and social-emotional learning systems in high schools. Based on a multi-year project in Broward County, Florida, the book describes how the biggest difference in academic success from school to school was not in instructional practice but in the systematic attention to personal relationships between adults and students. In the higher performing schools, educators made deliberate efforts to engage with students; established organizational structures to support students; and encouraged a language and culture of personalization.


Steps to Schoolwide Success is exactly the right book, at exactly the right time, in a country striving for educational excellence and equity. It will empower high schools and their communities to advance the intellectual growth and emotional development of students in a dynamic societal context. It will also inspire educational professionals and researchers to collaborate in new partnerships to tackle pressing problems of practice. — Donald J. Peurach, associate professor, University of Michigan

Those working in high school education reform will welcome this book. — Choice

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About the Authors

Stacey A. Rutledge is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the Florida State University. She is currently serving as the Florida State University investigator in the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools, a center funded by the US Department of Education and aimed at identifying the policies and practices of effective high schools. Her research explores how policies and approaches aimed at improving teaching and learning, such as test-based accountability, continuous improvement, and data use, shape the work of district and school administrators and teachers and, ultimately, students’ learning opportunities. She also studies the use of social media by students and educators in secondary schools. She has published articles in various journals, including the American Educational Research Journal, the American Journal of Education, and the Teachers College Record. She is a coeditor of The Infrastructure of Accountability: Data Use and the Transformation of American Education, published by Harvard Education Press, and coauthor of The Education Mayor: How Mayors Improve School Performance. She has also been a high school social studies and English teacher.

Marisa Cannata is a Research Associate Professor in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. As Director of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools, Dr. Cannata has overseen its district partnerships and has worked collaboratively with Broward County Public Schools to scale and sustain the PASL innovation. Dr. Cannata’s substantive expertise focuses on continuous-improvement research and scaling up, charter schools, teacher career decisions and evaluation, teacher leadership, and teacher experiences with reform. She is the coeditor of School Choice and School Improvement, published by Harvard Education Press, and Mapping the High School Reform Landscape, a yearbook by Teachers College Record. Dr. Cannata has a PhD in educational policy from Michigan State University and has published in the Journal of Educational Administration, the Educational Researcher, Education Finance and Policy, the Educational Administration Quarterly, the Journal of Educational Change, and the Elementary School Journal.

Stephanie L. Brown is an Assistant Professor at York College of Pennsylvania in the Department of Education. She currently teaches courses on assessment and the instructional needs of English language learners to preservice teachers. Dr. Brown’s research interests are rooted in her diverse experience as an elementary teacher in Broward County Public Schools and Seminole County Public Schools, a teacher of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in China, and a professional-development facilitator in Nigeria. These interests include qualitative investigations of research practice partnerships in education, intermediary organizations, and teacher policy and reform. Before joining York College, Stephanie worked with the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools (NCSU) and the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice. Dr. Brown has a PhD in foundations of education from Florida State University, with an emphasis on international and comparative education. Her dissertation focused on the relational dynamics of the NCSU partnership in its design phase. She has published articles in the Teachers College Record and the Peabody Journal of Education and has presented her work at multiple national and regional conferences.

Daniel G. Traeger has been working with the National Center for Scaling Up Effective Schools as District Liaison Representative with Florida Broward County Public Schools since 2012. He has served as a high school principal for thirteen years, as well as an assistant principal and a middle school principal. He also coordinated and supervised the implementation of Broward County’s districtwide secondary school redesign, working with thirty high schools serving diverse student populations, and he was appointed designee for the district’s Small Learning Community Grant. He was chosen as Principal of the Year in 2010 by the Florida Parent Teacher Association and in 2011 by the Florida Association of Student Councils. His two high schools, West Broward and Marjory Stoneman Douglas, were designated premier high schools in the nation by the College Board. Out of seven thousand high schools, West Broward High School was recognized for closing achievement gaps for Hispanics and African Americans; the school ranked fourteenth in the nation for Hispanic students and eightieth in the nation for African American students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses.

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