Our work begins with the assumption that there is a direct link between the caliber of schoolwork students are provided and the willingness of students to engage in schoolwork. When students engage in and persist with their work, they are much more likely to learn that which schools, parents, and the community deem important. However, the production of engaging experiences for students requires a commitment to continuous innovation and the constant creation of new ways of doing things-in the classroom and the principal's office, as well as in the central office and the boardroom.
A second assumption of our work is that the transformation of schools calls on all who work in and around schools to change their mental models regarding their roles and-based on these changes-to learn to do things they have never done before. For example, we believe school boards should function as community leaders and builders of communities around the schools, as contrasted with representatives of the disagreements that exist in the community; school boards should be consensus builders rather than conflict managers. Similarly, we believe that teachers should see themselves as designers of work and leaders of students in the conduct of that work more than as instructors and primary sources of information for students. Principals should view themselves as leaders of leaders, and superintendents should view themselves as intellectual and moral leaders who transform problems into opportunities and encourage others to seize these opportunities.
Pelham Elementary, Pelham City Middle and Pelham High School are partners and participants in the High School Redesign Initiative sponsored by PAGE.
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