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The Differentiated School: Making Revolutionary Changes in Teaching and Learning


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Looking for advice and guidance on how to implement differentiated instruction throughout your school? Learn from the experts. Administrators and teachers alike will find viable ideas and answers to questions as leaders at two schools share milestones and vignettes from their real-life experiences in converting entire faculties to this dynamic approach to teaching and learning.

Table of contents



Leadership for Change Toward Differentiation

The Nature of Professional Development for Change Toward Differentiation

About the authors

At the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education, Carol Ann Tomlinson is William Clay Parrish, Jr. professor and chair of Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, teaching post-graduate students, mainly in the areas of curriculum design and differentiated instruction. She is also co-director of the university's Institutes on Academic Diversity, where she strives to help educators understand the principles of differentiated instruction and develop competence and confidence in creating responsive classrooms that meet the diverse learning needs of today's students.

As an educator for more than 21 years, Tomlinson has worked as an elementary and a secondary public school teacher. She was named Outstanding Professor at Curry School of Education in 2004 and received an All-University Teaching Award in 2008. In 2016, she was ranked #16 in the Education Week Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings for "university-based academics who are contributing most substantially to public debates about schools and schooling," and as the #3 voice in Educational Psychology. She's written more than 300 books, book chapters, articles, and other materials for educators.


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Kay Brimijoin is currently associate professor of education and chair of the Education Department at Sweet Briar College in central Virginia, where since 2000 she has taught in the teacher education program and helped to launch a master's program in differentiated curriculum and instruction. More than 20 years of classroom teaching and school administration, doctoral research on differentiation, and more than 10 years of work with schools and school districts convinced Brimijoin that teacher education programs must equip new teachers with the knowledge, understanding, and skills to differentiate curriculum and instruction. She completed her PhD in educational psychology with a concentration in curriculum and instruction and gifted education at the University of Virginia. She won a High School Curriculum Award (1999), a Research and Evaluation Award (2000), and a Doctoral Student Award (2002) from the National Association for Gifted Children. She also won a Doctoral Dissertation Research Award from the Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in 2001. She coauthored a unit in Carol Ann Tomlinson and Cindy Strickland's Differentiation in Practice: Grades 9–12, published by ASCD in 2005. Brimijoin is the author of numerous articles, including a 2003 review of the literature supporting differentiation. She has written curriculum with elementary, middle, and high school teachers and presented at numerous local, state, and national conferences. She consults with schools and districts across the country on differentiation, curriculum design, gifted education, mentoring, and teacher education. Brimijoin can be reached at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA 24595, or via e-mail at

Lane Narvaez has been the principal at Conway Elementary in the Ladue School District, St. Louis, Missouri, for the past 12 years. She has served as an administrator at the elementary, middle, high school, and district levels. Narvaez has worked in the public school systems of New York, Arizona, and Missouri, and has 28 years of teaching and administrative experience. She has worked in at-risk as well as affluent school communities. Her degrees include a bachelor of arts from Hunter College in New York, a master's in reading from Manhattan College in New York, and a doctorate in reading from Arizona State University. Her research interests include mentoring the beginning teacher, curriculum and instruction, and schoolwide differentiation. She has presented at the national conferences of the Association of Teacher Educators, American Educational Research Association, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She has also presented at the Summer Institute of Academic Diversity at the University of Virginia and the Oxford Round Table in Oxford, England, on her work involving schoolwide differentiation. For the past three years she has worked with Henry County Schools in Virginia to help implement differentiation throughout the district's schools. She has served as a coach in differentiation for schools in Virginia and California, working with teachers and administrators as they implement differentiation. Narvaez can be reached at Conway Elementary School, 9900 Conway Road, School District of the City of Ladue, St. Louis, MO 63124, or via e-mail at

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