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Start at the Top: How Central Office Reform Is Improving Student Achievement

This webcast, Start at the Top: How Central Office Reform Is Improving Student Achievement, was coordinated by The Center on March 26, 2009.

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Video from the webcast (WindowsMedia system requirements).
  • Complete video from the webcast.

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About the Webcast
The hour-long webcast is part of a series focused on stimulating change to create an education system that works for all learners. The webcast features Superintendent of the Year, Beverly Hall with national experts and a documentary showcasing the successes of central office reform in the Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

"Historically, we know that central offices restructure all of the time," says Stephanie Wood-Garnett Ed.D., Executive Director of The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, who is moderating the program. "What differentiates current initiatives is the reshaping of central office roles and responsibilities to focus directly on teaching and learning. I think participants will be intrigued with the new approaches and innovative strategies that are the focal point of the webcast."

The webcast opens with a look at national trends and the research supporting central office reform as a strategy for improving teaching and learning. You will hear from such noted experts as:

Classroom setting

Classroom setting
- Beverly L. Hall, Ed.D., superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools. Since coming to Atlanta 10 years ago from Newark, NJ, Dr. Hall has led reform efforts that have resulted in a significant rise in standardized test scores, renovation of aging facilities, and implementation of a blueprint for business operations. Dr. Hall is the American Association of School Administrators' 2009 National Superintendent of the Year.

- Michael Casserly, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a national coalition of large, urban public school systems. Dr. Casserly is an expert on urban education, governance, finance, and federal legislation and policy.

- Michael Copland, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington. His current research focuses on the professional development of school and district leaders, transformation of central offices, and distributed leadership in the context of education reform.

- Robin C. Hall, D.A.H., Principal of Beecher Hills Elementary School in APS. For more than 25 years, Dr. Hall has held numerous leadership roles in APS, including K-12 Language Arts Coordinator, Instructional Liaison Specialist, and Language Arts Department Chairperson.

- Meredith Honig, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington. Her current research focuses on how school district central offices innovate and collaborate to improve opportunities for all students to learn.

A major feature of the webcast will be learning about the central office reform initiative in Atlanta Public Schools, which has received nationwide recognition for improving student achievement. Through documentaries that capture ongoing efforts and live panel discussions, participants will gain an understanding of how APS has addressed significant challenges and achieved results by:

  • Establishing a clear directive for teaching and learning
  • Setting accountability targets
  • Organizing and implementing school reform teams
  • Providing support and constant feedback

During the live webcast, participants had the opportunity to e-mail questions to the experts who answered a selection of them live during the webcast.

Other Webcasts in This Series

  • The second webcast in this free series, REL Midwest and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality's Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: The What, How, and Why of Educator Evaluation, was held March 30, 2009. Click here to view the webcast.

  • The final webcast in the series, Leveraging Stimulus Funds for Lasting Change, was held April 8, 2009. Click here to view the webcast.

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