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The School Leadership Playbook: A Field Guide for Dramatic Improvement

ISBN: 978-1-119-04421-5
208 pages
April 2015, Jossey-Bass
The School Leadership Playbook: A Field Guide for Dramatic Improvement (1119044219) cover image


A proven framework for whole-school improvement

The School Leadership Playbook is a practical guide for education leaders looking to push their school's and students' achievement to the next level. Developed by renowned leadership preparation program New Leaders, the Transformational Leadership Framework focuses on the five categories that drive a school's success: Learning and Teaching, School Culture, Talent Management, Operations and Systems, and Personal Leadership. This book illustrates how each of these factors contributes to breakthrough gains, and outlines a plan for implementing changes in your own school. You'll learn how to accurately diagnose the current state of your school's academics and culture and create an action plan for the year ahead. The TLF is grounded in the latest research and case studies of the highest-gaining turnaround schools, and shows you the specific actions you can take to attract, retain, and support high-performing teachers; improve school culture; successfully involve parents and the community; and ultimately drive student success.

New Leaders developed the UEF to pinpoint what schools achieving significant student academic gains were doing, and how they were doing it. This book provides a practical breakdown of the framework to help you begin leading these changes in your own school.

  • Ensure rigorous goal- and data-driven teaching and learning
  • Build and manage a high-performance faculty aligned to the school's vision
  • Implement effective and efficient operations and systems
  • Model the tone you would like to see from students and teachers school-wide

By matching the needs of the school to effective principal actions and school practices, leaders can create a plan for transformational change.

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Table of Contents




Our Experience: Developing Transformational Leaders for High-Poverty Schools 3

The Transformational Leadership Framework 4

What Is the TLF? 5

CHAPTER ONE Learning and Teaching 13

Lever 1 Aligned curriculum 22

Lever 2 Classroom practices and instruction 26

Lever 3 Data 30

Lever 4 Student-centered differentiation 36

CHAPTER TWO School Culture 39

Lever 1 Shared mission and values 48

Lever 2 Relationships 56

Lever 3 Family and community engagement 62

CHAPTER THREE Talent Management 65

Lever 1 Recruitment and onboarding 76

Lever 2 Instructional leadership team 84

Lever 3 Performance monitoring and evaluation 88

Lever 4 Professional learning and collaboration 96

CHAPTER FOUR Operations and Planning 101

Lever 1 Goal setting and implementation 108

Lever 2 Time management 112

Lever 3 Budget 116

Lever 4 Community and district relations 122

CHAPTER FIVE Personal Leadership 127

Structure 132

Levers in the Personal Leadership Category 132

Lever 1 Belief-based and goal-driven leadership 137

Lever 2 Equity-focused leadership 138

Lever 3 Interpersonal leadership 139

Lever 4 Adaptive leadership 140

Lever 5 Resilient leadership 141


APPENDIX Methodology of the New Leaders Research Study145




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Author Information

JEAN DESRAVINES is CEO of New Leaders, an innovative school reform organization that develops and supports highly effective leaders.

BENJAMIN FENTON is co-founder and chief strategy officer at New Leaders. A recognized expert on principal quality, Ben leads New Leaders' human capital consulting initiatives.

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Press Release

August 27, 2015
The School Leadership Playbook

Become a transformational school leader with the powerful Transformational Leadership Framework from New Leaders. Develop and implement effective practices to improve student achievement and help navigate the changing landscape of your school.

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