Simply Better

Simply Better

Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success

By: Bryan Goodwin

Publication date: 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4166-1295-7

We all want—and strive for—student success. But increasing student success isn’t as much about doing more or working harder as it is about doing the right things—especially when resources available are limited.

Bryan Goodwin presents research findings and real-life examples to show how “less is more” in education reform. Understand why five specific principles—instruction, curriculum, student support, high-performance school cultures, and data-driven districts—are key to helping all students succeed. Learn how strategic “touchstones” can challenge and nurture students, standardize yet personalize curriculum, counteract negative out-of-school factors, and reduce variance in teacher quality.

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Title information

This book identifies five key principles at the heart of what it takes to help all students become successful learners. Drawing from available research, McREL CEO and author, Bryan Goodwin, provides a system framework that focuses school and district improvement efforts on what matters most to change the odds of success for students:

-Guaranteeing challenging, engaging, and intentional instruction.
-Ensuring curricular pathways to success.
-Providing whole-child student supports.
-Creating high-performance school cultures.
-Developing high-reliability district systems.

To guide your implementation of these What Matters Most principles, Simply Better offers strategic touchstones to keep focused on what matters most, such as:

-Why teachers must both challenge and nurture students in order to boost achievement.
-How curriculum can be standardized across systems, yet personalized to individual student needs and interests.
-What to do to counter the negative effects of poor motivation, health issues, unsupportive home environments, and insufficient background knowledge.
-How principals can take immediate steps to reduce the variance in teacher quality in their schools.


Pages: 184
Language: English
Publisher: ASCD, McREL International
Edition: First
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Bryan Goodwin

Bryan Goodwin is president and CEO of McREL International. For 21 years at McREL, he has translated research into practice, scanning the world for new insights and best practices on teaching and leading, and has helped educators everywhere adapt them to address their own challenges. A frequent conference presenter, he is the author of Out of Curiosity: Restoring the Power of Hungry Minds for Better Workplaces, Schools, and Lives and Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success, as well as co-author of Curiosity Works: A Guidebook for Moving Your School from Improvement to Innovation, Unstuck: How Curiosity, Peer Coaching, and Teaming Can Change Your School, Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning: Tools for Achieving Success in Your School, and The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day. Before joining McREL in 1998, Bryan was a college instructor, a high school teacher, and a business journalist.

Education: M.A. Rhetoric and Communication Studies, University of Virginia; B.A. Professional Writing and Environmental Studies, Baylor University