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Critical Social Justice Issues for School Practitioners

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Teachers -- United States, School improvement programs -- United States, Educational leadership -- United States


In times of crisis there are opportunities for innovation. Teacher preparation, leadership preparation, and education in general are facing a time of crisis. Teacher and principal preparation and performance are no longer just the fodder of educational journals and elite academics. When mainstream publications such as Newsweek run a cover image of a chalkboard with repeated lines of text, "We Must Fire Bad Teachers" as the solution to "saving American Education" (2010), we know the public perception of teacher preparation, teacher professionalism, and leadership in schools is in a crisis.

This chapter examines a case study of a school committed to change the way teachers learn and collaborate in practice. Chavez Middle School built on decades of reform and research in teacher and leadership preparation, but offers an innovative twist to include simultaneous preparation (of preservice teachers and administrators), professional development (of preservice and inservice (tenured) teachers and administrative interns), and finally simultaneous system change in the school-university partnership (SUP) model invoked from Dewey to Teitel (Dewey, 1916; Teitel, 2004). By preparing in practice while in a setting committed to social justice for students who are often ignored (students with disabilities, students learning English, and students of poverty), Chavez Middle School forged new innovative strategies that inform the future of teacher and principal preparation. Chavez's story illustrates how to prepare, support, and challenge good teachers at all stages of their careers to teach and lead for social justice.


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