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Douglas Reeves

Education Expert on Assessment & School Reform


Dr. Douglas Reeves is the founder of Creative Leadership Solutions. The author of more than 30 books and 80 articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness, Doug has twice been named to the Harvard University Distinguished Authors Series. He received the Contribution to the Field Award from the National Staff Development Council (now Learning Forward) and was named the Brock International Laureate for his contributions to education. Dr. Reeves has worked in every state in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries.

His volunteer activities include, providing free and non-commercial support for doctoral students, and The SNAFU Review, publishing the essays, poetry, stories, and artwork of disabled veterans. Doug lives with his family in downtown Boston.


Assessing Creativity: A New Approach for Students, Teachers & Educational Leaders

One of the great myths about creativity is that it is a quality immune from objective assessment. In fact, creativity can be assessed – indeed, assessment is an essential element of any educational environment that seeks to foster creativity. The challenge is that most assessment of creativity is dead wrong. These assessments are not only inconsistent with the best research on the subject, but actually stifle the risk, error, and failures that are essential to creative endeavor. This workshop provides practical guidelines about the best (and worst) practices in assessment and offers participants the opportunity to make personal application of these principles to their specific professional responsibilities.

Great to Greater: How the Best Schools & Education Systems Keep Getting Better

Although many schools and educational systems have made improvements in the past several years, the typical pattern after several years of improvement is a plateau in performance. Based on data from a global sample of public and international schools, the presenters combine quantitative data with deep qualitative inquiry. The presenters will use interactive technology to maintain audience engagement and participation throughout the presentation. They present new research published in 2017 and will identify:

  • How to define “great to greater” schools and systems
  • How to use Next Generation Accountability indicators to move from greater to greater
  • How to leverage the opportunities of ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) to make the transition from great to greater
  • How to gain board, community, and faculty support for great to greater leadership

High Impact Leadership: How Leaders Improve Achievement, Enhance Creativity & Redefine Accountability for 21st Century Schools

In this interactive presentation, Dr. Douglas Reeves provides participants with the latest research on the specific leadership actions that have the greatest impact on student achievement. With a combination of case studies, quantitative analyses, meta-analyses, and syntheses of research studies, participants will consider how to resolve conflicting research claims and how to apply research findings in schools and districts. In addition, participants will receive practical tools for gaining greater focus on high impact strategies so that students, teachers, and administrators have the time necessary for successful implementation. “With the demise of the No Child Left Behind Act,” Dr. Reeves suggests, "school leaders have an historic opportunity to redefine educational accountability to include not only academic results, but also creativity, critical thinking, community service, communication, and a variety of other indications of success that are uniquely important to each school.” This presentation offers opportunities for real-time interaction with the presenter through the use of texts, Tweets, e-mails, and face-to-face conversations. Every participant is eligible for a full year of one-to-one support and follow-up so that the knowledge and skills acquired during this presentation can have a lasting impact on the schools and districts of each participant.

High Impact Leadership: How to Regain Your Focus & Defeat the Law of Initiative Fatigue

What could possibly be wrong with "best practices" – the foundation of many reform programs? Viewed in isolation, each best practice is a sparkling diamond, standing alone casting its brilliance on everyone who sees it. But educational institutions are rarely content to polish a diamond, nurturing the impact of a particularly effective practice for students and schools. Soon after the first diamond is in place, another best practice is added to the mix. Then another, and another, and another, until the diamond is invisible, buried by a nondescript pile of rocks. The stunning evidence is that a best practice can rapidly become an ineffective practice, not because the practice itself was bad, but because any professional practice depends upon the context of support, monitoring, and improvement. This presentation is based on the latest book from Dr. Reeves, From Leading to Succeeding: The Seven Elements of Effective Educational Leadership (2016, Solution Tree Press).

How Can You Be Creative in a Standards-Based Environment?

In this highly interactive workshop, Douglas Reeves considers the mixed messages sent to educational leaders, teachers, and students. On the one hand, leading educational authorities, such as Sir Ken Robinson, have been extolling the virtue of creativity and decrying the standardization in schools for several years. More than twenty years ago, Grant Wiggins led the call for “standards, not standardization.” However, the daily reality around the world is that creativity is not only undermined by the usual suspects - standardized testing and checklist evaluations of teachers and administrators – but also by curriculum and assessment practices that claim to advocate and encourage creativity. The workshop includes practical examples and time for personal application to the needs of individual participants.

Next Steps in Grading Reform: A Three Step Process for Success

This workshop is geared towards districts and schools that have already taken the first steps in grading reform. Perhaps they have read and studied “On Your Mark” and could have participated in grading workshops from Solution Tree, Rick Wormeli, and others. Now comes the “tough stuff” – applying these ideas in a way that will gain support from parents, faculty, board members, and other stakeholders.

This workshop is a three step process that includes “service plus” – that is, a full day of professional development plus pre-assessment and post-workshop support.

1) Before the workshop: Grading pre-assessment to determine precisely where the school and district are with regard to grading policies, professional learning, and stakeholder support.

2) On site workshop: “Next Steps in Grading” - workshops and conversations focused on the unique needs of that school or district. This may include school-wide and district-wide workshops, small group conversations with parent and community leaders, teacher association leaders, student leaders, and other key stakeholders.

3) After the workshop: Policy review and support, including individualized reviews and support for the grading policies at the department, school, and district levels.

Each participant receives a set of ST resources, including Elements of Grading (2nd ed.) and FAST Grading: A Guide to Implementing Best Practices.

Transforming Data into Better Leadership, Teaching & Learning

Data Analysis is not new - in fact, many schools are drowning in data. They spend a great deal of time looking at data, analyzing trends, creating charts, and establishing and revising goals. They hold district, building, and grade-level meetings. Nevertheless, the missing link is often transforming all of this analysis into action. This interactive seminar provides practical tools for principals to establish clear objectives not only for student results, but for teacher actions that can be objectively observed. In the first part of this two-part seminar, participants will observe how other schools have identified learning goals, established hypotheses, gathered data, tested their hypotheses, and drawn conclusions to improve teaching and learning. In the second part of this seminar, participants will apply these principles to specific learning objectives in their own schools. The work in these two sessions is based on the book by Dr. Reeves, “Reframing Teacher Leadership” published by ASCD. Principals are strongly encouraged to bring their current school plans and be prepared to work with goals and objectives that are directly related to their individual professional responsibilities.

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