Promoting Excellence: Good to Great, NYC’s District 2, and the Case of a High Performing School District

Bowers, Alex J.

This paper compares two celebrated studies - New York City Community School District 2 (Elmore & Burney, 1999), and Good to Great (Collins, 2001) which examined sustained success in American corporations - to the case of a single high performing school district. The question of interest concerns how school districts achieve and maintain high performance. The study focuses on five central issues from a combined theory from District 2 and Good to Great: 1) An organization-wide disciplined system that provides boundaries for participants but allows for creativity and innovation within those boundaries. 2) A central defined organizational focus that drives day-to-day decisions and is separate from an organization’s vision and mission. 3) Getting the right people into the organization through innovative hiring and training practices. 4) Funneling budgetary resources to district priorities through multi-pocket budgeting. 5) And a long-term commitment to success through continuous improvement while maintaining a focus on the current challenges facing the organization.

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Leadership and Policy in Schools

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Education Leadership
Published Here
July 25, 2013


This document is a pre-print of this manuscript, published in 2008 in the journal Leadership and Policy in Schools. Recommended citation:
Bowers, A.J. (2008) Promoting Excellence: Good to Great, NYC's District 2, and the Case of a High Performing School District, Leadership and Policy in Schools, 7(2), 154-177