FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2010

Contact:
Amy Vogt (AASA)
703-875-0723
avogt@aasa.org

Nancy Shin (HOPE)
812-355-6000
nshin@hopefoundation.org

ARLINGTON, Va. – The American Association of School Administrators (www.aasa.org) has partnered with the HOPE Foundation (www.hopefoundation.org) to make the HOPE Foundation’s Transformational Model with a decade-long track record available to AASA’s school district members. The Failure Is Not an Option approach, as implemented by the HOPE Foundation, focuses on helping leadership teams build a framework for sharing best practices, transforming school cultures and sustaining student success.

AASA is partnering with HOPE in a distribution effort aimed initially at AASA’s 11,000 school superintendent members.

“AASA is pleased to offer a powerful tool like the Failure Is Not an Option approach to our membership,” said AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech. “We are impressed to see how entire districts using this process are able to collaborate in the face of significant challenges.”

AASA members who use the Failure Is Not an Option approach enthusiastically support it.

“One reason we have been able to make substantial progress with all of our employees in creating an achievement-oriented culture is because the HOPE training has given us a common language across the district that nearly everyone has internalized,” explained Dan Bickel, area administrator for Elementary Schools of Fort Wayne Community Schools. “Contract talks have moved smoothly, more quickly and with high levels of support because, in part, so many employees had a common understanding of what everyone was trying to accomplish.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of record federal funding by the U.S. Department of Education for improving the nation’s lowest-performing schools. While many schools will be closed down, Alan Blankstein, president of the HOPE Foundation, and author of Failure Is Not an Option, argues against that option. “In most cases, helping leadership teams to change the school culture will produce better student outcomes than will massive firings and school closings.”

An example of the kind of “change” Blankstein talks about can be found in one formerly low-performing school in Brooklyn, N.Y. It was rated “D” by the Board of Education and slated for closing until its new principal, Marion Wilson, began turning Jackie Robinson Public School 375 around. Three years later, the school received an “A” rating. “We are a real-live example,” said Wilson. “These principles really do work. In addition, AASA is a great partner.”

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, please visit www.aasa.org.

About the HOPE Foundation:
Since 1989, the HOPE (Harnessing Optimism and Potential through Education) Foundation – a non-profit 501(c)(3), whose Honorary Chair is Archbishop Desmond Tutu – has led the way in creating learning communities where student success is the only option. HOPE helps to develop high-performing leadership teams and school cultures where Failure Is Not an Option® for any student. Please visit us on the web at www.hopefoundation.org. For more information on the district-wide Courageous Leadership Academy click here.

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