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Five Big Ideas for Leading a High Reliability School

By: Robert J. Marzano, Philip B. Warrick, Mario I. Acosta

No matter your school improvement plan, data-driven leadership is key. These five big ideas will dispel popular myths long held by school and district leaders, reinvigorate your commitment to focus on the right work, and guide you in supporting the daily practices that matter most in achieving high levels of student success.

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Data-driven approaches for becoming a High Reliability School

Gain key insights on leading a High Reliability School from experts who have years of experience guiding schools and districts through the process. HRS success requires strong leaders who understand the five big ideas shared in this book. With data-driven approaches and research-backed strategies, the authors demonstrate not only how to help schools thrive but also why their methods succeed.

This book will help administrators of current or aspiring K–12 High Reliability Schools:

  • Understand the roles of all educators in high reliability organizations
  • Unpack the five big ideas of high reliability leadership and how these ideas relate to their own school or district
  • Utilize practical tools to better apply the HRS framework
  • Improve school culture, student achievement, and organizational efficacy
  • Sustain highly effective school systems

Related Topics

LeadershipSchool Improvement


Additional Information

Product Code: BKL074, EKL065

ISBN: 9781943360826

Published By: Marzano Resources

Page Count: 168

“This is the book we’ve been waiting for. Here, we learn the five ‘big ideas’ that are essential lenses for those who are committed to leading a high reliability school or district. Marzano, Warrick, and Acosta clearly define each of the five ideas, provide specific examples as to how that big idea manifests in K–12 schools, and brilliantly offer suggested actions that readers can implement immediately. The HRS framework and the five big ideas presented in this text are exactly what leaders need in order to create a school where each student finds success.”

Tina H. Boogren, best-selling author and educational presenter

“Introducing the five big ideas of HRS, Marzano, Warrick, and Acosta provide a succinct review of the HRS tenets with a practical application for school leaders to consider. At first glance, the HRS process can seem daunting, even overwhelming; however, by following the recommendations of the five big ideas, any school can make high reliability status a reality. This is a must-read for every school leader who is seeking a better way to improve student outcomes through a systematic continuous improvement process.”

Brian J. Kosena, coauthor of Leading a Competency-Based Elementary School

“School leadership is often an opaque and vague concept that can leave principals and other leadership team members grasping at any concept. Five Big Ideas for Leading a High Reliability School pulls back the curtain to provide readers with practical and actionable steps leaders can use to develop and maintain the discipline and consistency needed for continuous school improvement. The authors lay out each big idea in a clear way. First, they back each concept with research and then provide successful examples of its use in a K–12 school. Finally, they provide specific actions current leaders can take to implement that particular idea. This book is a boon to campus leaders looking to put high reliability practices into play on their campus.”

Melanie Lewis Magee, educational presenter and coach

“The book makes a well-structured and easily understood argument, supported by both research and practical experiences, on how leaders can be aware of implementing initiatives intended to improve the learning experiences for all stakeholders. Marzano, Warrick, and Acosta clearly show the critical role the leader of a High Reliability School plays in identifying the lagging and leading indicators and the processes and procedures for capturing quick data to keep the school within a zone of continuous improvement, or as they say, growth phase. This is a good book for any leader looking for big ideas to understand a framework for improvement.”

Bill Zima, director of implementation, Marzano Academies

“As an educator who has been through the school certification process and now assists others in their journey to becoming a High Reliability School, this is a must-have resource. Marzano, Warrick, and Acosta remind us that becoming a High Reliability School is a measurement process. Critical leadership tools—leading indicators, lagging indicators, and quick data—are explained in detail. The examples and tools in the book will assist school leadership teams in understanding these concepts and provide a systematic road map to determine the degree of effectiveness of their programs and practices. No matter where a school is on the HRS journey, this resource suggests many avenues for taking the next step in becoming a high reliability organization.”

Shelley Gies, educational presenter

“In this era of accountability, schools everywhere need a credible and plausible model for continuous improvement. Dr. Marzano’s High Reliability Schools framework provides clear direction for schools and districts as they strive to get better. In Five Big Ideas for Leading a High Reliability School, the authors provide valuable insight to why and how to effectively foster conditions for a High Reliability School. Each of the five ideas presents information, ideas, and actions for any school improvement team’s consideration. To me, the best part of the book is each 'HRS in Practice' portion, where a reader can gain a deeper understanding of what the big idea can look like when implemented in a school. This book is a valuable resource for educators who are committed to contributing in a meaningful way to improving student learning in a school!”

Jan K. Hoegh, educational presenter and author

“Through high-quality relevant research and real school-based examples, Five Big Ideas for Leading a High Reliability School shows how the understanding of these five big ideas is an important lens through which leaders can further the work of becoming a highly reliable school. The understanding of these ideas, combined with the high reliability framework, is pivotal in transforming a school into one in in which leaders can use HRS as a measurement process for data-driven leadership.”

Kristin Poage, educational presenter

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