Invitational Education at Cooper Elementary

Ann W. Kalec, Kennesaw State University


In the summer of 1998, this author was appointed Principal at Cooper Elementary, one of 21 elementary schools in the Livonia Public Schools' district, the 5th largest district in the state of Michigan. Like many first-year principals, she was full of fresh ideas, lofty goals and endless enthusiasm to inspire students, staff and parents. Her mandate: increase student achievement scores at the lowest performing school in the district. In this article, the author relates her experience of attending a workshop held by Dr. William Purkey, co-founder of the International Alliance for Invitational Education, and how this experience assisted her in reshaping the culture of Cooper Elementary to the invitational education model. She states that the practice of Invitational Education enabled the staff to organize in ways that enabled them to promote the untapped potential of students and staff, and made a significant difference to the culture and climate of Cooper Elementary.