November 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
Last Friday, I visited Morris Jeff Community School in Mid City. Morris Jeff is the only school in New Orleans that can legitimately claim to be a socio-economically diverse public school without entrance requirements. According to the 2011 NOLAPON parent’s guide, 59% of Morris Jeff students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Morris Jeff’s ethnic diversity mirrors the city: roughly 60% African American, 30% White and 10% a combination of Asian, Latino and other ethnic groups. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I recently finished reading “How To Walk To School” (HTWTS) by Jacqueline Edelberg and Susan Kurland. It is the true story of how a group of neighborhood parents (led by Ms. Edelberg) partnered with the principal of their local public school (Ms. Kurland) to build a neighborhood school. What transpires is an interesting series of events that demonstrate there are ways to reengage the urban middle class in public education besides launching a brand new school. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 2, 2011 § 1 Comment
Last Wednesday, I visited Citizens Of The World (COTW) Charter School in West Hollywood in Los Angeles. It was a quick visit, but an important one. COTW is the closest example of the school I am envisioning, and it was the first school I have visited this year where I thought, “This a the school I’d like my kids to attend.” « Read the rest of this entry »
November 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
One week ago, I visited High Tech High (HTH) in San Diego, California. HTH is a charter school organization that leads a cluster of schools throughout the San Diego area. HTH began as a High School in 2000, and has since expanded to serve over 4,500 students in grades K – 12.
October 26, 2011 § 5 Comments
I liked Rafe Esquith from our first interaction. I sent him an email and asked if I could stop by to see his classroom for a little while one afternoon while I was in Los Angeles on my 4.0 Schools’ trip. He replied, “If you can only stay an hour or two, you’d be wasting your time. You need to see an entire day. If you cannot do that, I understand, but the motto of our class is There Are No Shortcuts. That goes for us as well as the kids!”
Sure enough – upon entering, I see a large banner that reads, “There are no shortcuts” stretched atop the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. Rafe coined the term. Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin visited Rafe’s classroom in the early nineties and there are many aspects of Rafe’s room which influenced KIPP design from the onset and persevere to this day.
When Rafe told me, “I teach one lesson the entire day,” I nodded in agreement as I tried to hide my bewilderment. How can the ‘best teacher in America’ just teach one lesson the whole day? It didn’t make sense. « Read the rest of this entry »
October 24, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m in Southern California for much of this week. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time. Here’s what’s on the schedule for the next few days:
Tuesday: High Tech High in San Diego
Between those great edu-visits and crashing on my brother’s couch, it’s going to be a great few days.
September 15, 2011 § 4 Comments
On the second day of our Texas regional school tour, my 4.0Schools team and I visited St. John’s School in Houston, TX. As you might expect, achievement was high at St. Johns – I sat in on a BC Calculus Lab class that was filled with Juniors and Sophomores. Even attending public school in a wealthy Northern New Jersey suburb in the mid-nineties, I did not take Calculus until the 12th grade.
September 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting The Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, with four of my 4.0Schools colleagues. Hockaday is an all-girls independent school and, it was one of the most wonderful schools I have seen in a long time, and possibly ever.
I saw remarkable levels of autonomy among Hockaday students – girls took ownership for their own learning in every classroom we observed. Upper school (5th grade and up) students had multiple opportunities for unstructured time, which the regularly used to complete homework, to study or for further academic practice. I did not see a single student goofing off or not taking their academics seriously.