Community, Collaboration, and Collegiality in School Reform

An Odyssey Toward Connections

By Nina G. Dorsch

Subjects: Educational Administration
Series: SUNY series, Restructuring and School Change
Paperback : 9780791435984, 238 pages, December 1997
Hardcover : 9780791435977, 238 pages, January 1998

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Table of contents


Welcome to Connections: An Introduction

1. A Prologue to the Connections Journey

2. Launching the Connections Odyssey: Spring and Summer, 1993

3. First Day, First Impressions: August 24, 1993

4. Second Impressions: September 14, 1993

5. The Best of Times

7. June 1994: The Odyssey's Epilogue?





A "tale from the trenches" of educational reform, this book chronicles a year in the life of four teachers as they implement an innovative new program.


This remarkably candid "tale from the trenches" follows four teachers as they implement "Connections"--an interdisciplinary, inclusive program option for ninth-grade students at "Cedar City" High School. As Sheryl (English), Dan (science), Bernie (social studies), and Tim (special education) forge bonds of community, collaboration, and collegiality, their experiences take on the dimensions of an epic journey, or odyssey. Interpreted through an ecological lens, this book offers important insight into the world of teaching in an era of school reform.

The Connections journey was marked both by stories of triumph and tales of crisis. The stories reflected an emerging vision not only of Connections as an interdisciplinary program, but of the teaching team as a collaborative, collegial community. By illuminating the real world of Connections, this book offers insights for teachers and administrators, policy makers and students, and all who value community, collaboration, and collegiality in schools.

Nina G. Dorsch is Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Northern Illinois University.


"A remarkable vignette of an 'anywhere' suburban high school filled with 'everywhere' conflicts and opportunities. High schools are at the top of many reform agendas nationally. Tales of problems associated with the changing role of teachers are legendary, but tales that reflect on these problems and offer readers some lessons to consider are rare. The author's writing style is light and conversational, and yet packed with rich and important descriptive details that bring authenticity to the story." -- Linda Shelor, Center for Leadership in School Reform, Louisville, Kentucky

"The reader is drawn along with the Connections' teachers on their most interesting journey. Dorsch's writing strategy, portraying the events of individual days as well as a story-like retelling of the best and worst of times, is very novel. Rarely does educational research get framed in so rich a format, where characters and their lives come so vividly to life. It's a real page turner." -- Karen Hunter Quartz, UCLA Graduate School of Education