One of the things that sometimes gets lost in all the talk about education is how complex schools are. Many of them are the size of small towns — complete with capital projects, transportation systems, food services, and recreation programs.

Even experienced school leaders can find themselves distracted from paying attention to the main point of school — to prepare the next generation to be educated citizens.

That is why it is important to study successful high-poverty schools for the lessons they have to share. How do they avoid the chaos that almost seems inevitable given all the factors pulling schools in different directions?

The thing I have observed about successful high-poverty schools is that they make all the systems work together rather than at cross-purposes, and in Huffington Post this week, I talk about a session at our national conference where three school leaders talked about coherence.