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The School Leader's Guide to Student Learning Supports

The School Leader's Guide to Student Learning Supports
New Directions for Addressing Barriers to Learning

Edited by:
  • Howard S. Adelman - Center for Mental Health in Schools, Dept. of Psychology, UCLA
  • Linda Taylor - Center for Mental Health in Schools, Dept. of Psychology, UCLA

September 2005 | 408 pages | Corwin
Everyday, a wide range of learning, behavioural, physical, and emotional problems interfere with the ability of students to participate effectively and fully benefit from the instruction teachers provide. Such barriers to learning encompass both learning disabilities and special needs as well as a wide range of external factors stemming from restricted enrichment opportunities.

This guide for school leaders, and its companion volume for site-based staff, emphasizes frameworks and strategies for dealing with the entire range of learning, behaviour, and emotional problems seen in schools within a context that emphasizes student and staff strengths, resilience, assets, and protective factors.

The authors provide a four-pronged approach to addressing barriers to learning, emphasizing adopting an intervention framework that is comprehensive, multifaceted and cohesive; rethinking infrastructure and policy; and using a sophisticated approach to facilitating major systemic changes.

Built on decades of research, and endorsed by more than 20 professional associations, the authors' approach provides specific tools and strategies for understanding and assessing the gap between what students need and what they are receiving, as well as creating the analyses and implementation frameworks that will lead to new and better directions for addressing barriers to learning.

A series of orienting questions at the start of each chapter will help readers visualize how the content applies to their own specific schools and districts and can also be used to guide discussions with colleagues and community, and as a focus for staff development sessions.

More than 75 figures, guides, and tools for analysis and capacity building are also included in the book, as are cartoons, quotations, and case studies.

List of Guides: Tools for Analyses and Capacity Building
About the Authors
Part I. Why Learning Supports Are Imperative and What’s Wrong With the Way We’re Doing It Now
1. Why New Directions Are Imperative
2. Which Students Need Learning Supports?
3. Complex Problems, Limited Solutions
4. Controlling Behavior at the Expense of Motivating Learning
Part II. New Directions for Learning Support at a School Site
5. Addressing Barriers to Learning in Schools
6. A Schoolwide Component for Learning Support
7. Rethinking Infrastructure: Starting at the School Level
8. School-Family-Community Connections: With a Special Focus on School-Community Collaboratives
9. Using and Extending the Research Base for Addressing Barriers to Learning
10. Coda: Building Prototypes and Going-to-Scale
Part III. Resources
11. More About Understanding and Labeling Student Problems
12. Student Support and Behavior Problems
13. Reframing the Roles and Functions of Student Support Staff
14. About Surveying How a School Is Addressing Barriers to Student Learning
15. Natural Opportunities to Promote Social and Emotional Learning and Well-being
16. About Mental Health in Schools
17. New Directions for Student Support Initiative Brief: Assuring That No Child Is Left Behind
18. Examples of Policy Statements
19. Our Published Works and Center-produced Resources on Addressing Barriers to Learning
20. Internet Sites for a Sampling of Major Agencies and Organizations Relevant to Learning Supports

“Offers a broad view, and a systemic approach missing from most books on school reform and improving student outcomes, especially for the student who is not achieving.”
-Susan Wooley, Executive Director
American School Health Association, OH 

Susan Wooley, Executive Director
American School Health Association, OH

“I have not read any other book that is as comprehensive in explaining how the fragmentation of services limits our ability to service children, as well as provides the 'how to.' In this era of data-based decision making, the authors continue to present well-researched material that perhaps many educators have only read about in isolation.”
-Sandra Screen, Director
Office of Psychological Services, Detroit, MI

Sandra Screen, Director
Office of Psychological Services, Detroit, MI

“Provides a roadmap for how schools in collaboration with community partners have a role to play and can address barriers to student learning.  The book recognizes how difficult this work is, but also provides critical information for undertaking it…I am not aware of any other book that contextualizes the barriers in sweeping system reform, then provides a step-by-step guide on how to effect it.”

Linda E. Miller, Consultant
Iowa Department of Education