Curing Student Underachievement

Clinical Practice for School Leaders

By (author) Philip Esbrandt, Bruce Hayes

Publication date:

15 December 2011

Length of book:

206 pages


R&L Education

ISBN-13: 9781610485364

Cure Student Underachievement is the culmination of the authors' research, practice, and experience as principals, superintendents, graduate professors, and consultants in efforts to improve school performance and increase student achievement. Searching for the real causes of underperformance, the authors explored problem-solving strategies in several fields.

The authors find that clinical practice identifies the root causes rather than the symptoms of problems, focusing valuable time, resource, and energy on prescriptions with greater promise for improved performance health. The concepts of diagnosis, prescription, and prognosis establish a foundation for improved planning and problem solving. This book introduces practicing leaders and leaders-in-training to the protocols of clinical practice by taking the reader through the twelve steps of the clinical cycle with specific strategies and exercises to provide practice in the application, use, and assessment of the model.
This book provides penetrating views into the workings of districts and schools. From the superintendent’s cabinet level to the principal and classrooms, clinical practice in education encourages the use of a common vocabulary and problem solving practice that support performance improvement.

Vital sign performance indicators (VSPI) have been developed for education and they report current performance levels that quickly generate an understanding of performance health. Clusters of related vital signs can be read to make sense of complex problems and help narrow the diagnostic options used to improve performance.

New superintendents and principals will find the use of health diagnostic inventories very helpful. They assist in the discovery of organization strengths and needs; the formation of prescriptions that improve school and district performance; and they provide valuable lessons in how staff members can address persistent problems. This process forms the foundation of organizational renewal.

The diagnostic process not only confirms the wisdom of leaders that know when districts and schools are not performing up to expectations, but it also provides the process and training that help educators build a body of professional knowledge of what works well and what needs further research.

A note of caution should be used in reading and using this book. Consistently high performance in grades PK-12 schools is difficult and very time consuming. Trying to introduce all of the clinical practice tools and strategies presented here is almost impossible. Just like the steps in the diagnostic process that narrow the recommended courses of action to the few most effective ones, educators should pick clinical practice strategies that are most likely to lead towards desired levels of performance.

With thorough preparation in graduate school, ongoing training in clinical practice while on the job, and increasing numbers of clinical practice experiences shared among colleagues, a more comprehensive use of clinical practice in education becomes feasible.