How can schools—teachers and students-- organize more actively around this question?
It is a question embedded in the daily practice of the classroom—not hidden in an summer in-service or discussed abstractly in a school board meeting.
When teachers grapple with what the actual work should look like, they come to see more clearly all the other ways it is being defined in the school house. Messages and expectations come from district initiatives, Federal guidelines, and their own hidden expectations. In dialogue with each other and their students and the community teachers get a new chance to articulate what worthy student work.
Bringing this focus on the work gives teachers a grounded---yet visionary process for forward motion. By defining excellent work themselves, teachers bring into play the best of educational philosophy and their deep beliefs about the purpose of education.