Stop Spinning Your Wheels: SLIMM Book Review

  • Posted on: 25 August 2014
  • By: Tina McCoy

Do you feel like your school is working on the same things year after year with very little discernable progress or improvement? Is the question, "What's the process for that?" often answered with shrugs or "I think Mrs. Smith does a good job with that... why don't you go and ask her?" Do new teachers have to learn most of the expected practices in your school through teachers' room talk? If so, your school is not unusual.  However, there is a way to rise above the chaos that characterizes many organizations: Use The Student Learning Integrated Maturity Model, or SLIMM (trademark) to evaluate your organization and guide real, continuous improvement over time. 

Authors Dr. Betsey Cox-Buteau and Brandon Buteau have teamed up to successfully apply a 'maturity model' approach to the field of education. The Student Learning Integrated Maturity Model provides a comprehensive means for schools to objectively evaluate the systems and processes that support student learning in their organizations. The SLIMM doesn't stop there, however. The model is a framework that offers guidance regarding specific goals and practices that schools can target to establish and maintain effective systems that support student learning. The SLIMM doesn't just tell your school it needs to improve.  It tells how your school can improve, and provides specific steps that outline 'how to get there'. 

Use of the SLIMM can help schools effectively address the reoccurring problems that all schools face by emphasizing a systemic and realistic approach to continuous improvement. It can be used to evaluate schools on a macro level or a very detailed level depending on the current needs of the organization. Alternatively, the SLIMM can be used to evaluate targeted aspects of a school (ex. one or more departments). 

Coherent, continuous improvement must be on the minds of all effective leaders.  The Student Learning Integrated Maturity Model is a reference manual that outlines a comprehensive approach to school improvement as it relates to what should be the highest priority of all schools: student learning. As someone with a passion for organizational improvement, I highly recommend the use of this model to move schools forward in ways that will directly benefit students. Properly used, the SLIMM can help your school stop spinning its' wheels, and actually 'get somewhere'!

The SLIMM (trademark) is not yet available in print. Learn more about the SLIMM and download the model at no cost at