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Noteworthy Books

New Books

Recommended reading for district leaders.

What Next? Education Innovation and Philadelphia's School of the Future

Harvard Education Press, $29.95

Edited by Microsoft Education Group executive Mary Cullinane and American Enterprise Institute scholar Frederick M. Hess, this detailed study examines the first three years of the School of the Future, the result of an ambitious collaboration between the School District of Philadelphia and Microsoft. A select group of researchers and experts offers analyses of the effectiveness of the $63 million urban high school, which opened in 2006 and was designed to integrate technology into every aspect of teaching and learning, as well as how the reforms inspired by the school in the use of technology, leadership and community engagement can be applied in other schools and districts.


Why Great Teachers Quit, And How We Might Stop the Exodus

Corwin Press, $28.95

Experienced educator and teacher mentor Katy Farber offers an analysis of the reasons teachers leave the profession, with a perspective intended to help district administrators both attract and retain talented staff. Farber presents a detailed study of the "classroom exodus," including challenges to teacher endurance such as tight budgets, difficult parents, lack of respect and unsafe schools. She also provides practical strategies for administrators and success stories from districts that have fostered environments that retain talented teachers.


Leadership for Family and Community Involvement

Corwin Press, $25.95

A joint publication by the nonprofit HOPE Foundation and the American Association of School Administrators, this collection of articles is the newest volume in the Soul of Educational Leadership series. With contributions from Alan M. Blankstein, Pedro A. Noguera, Mavis G. Sanders, Paul D. Houston, Edward H. Moore and other school leadership experts, the book presents ideas and strategies for building family and community partnerships that will promote students' social, emotional and academic learning, and ultimately contribute to school and district success.


Peer Review and Teacher Leadership: Linking Professionalism and Accountability

Teachers College Press, $31.95

Author Jennifer Goldstein, associate professor in the Baruch College School of Public Affairs at the City University of New York, examines what some researchers have called "one of the most important innovations in the last half century" in school administration: peer assistance and review (PAR). Goldstein profiles the Rosemont (Calif.) Unified School District, which partnered with a teachers union to implement a professional accountability program built upon PAR, an alternative approach to evaluation in which expert teachers evaluate their peers in the district, achieving more positive results than traditional evaluations. The author presents a detailed analysis of various elements of a PAR implementation to guide other districts seeking to create such a program, including its processes, challenges and outcomes.


Teaching Talent: A Visionary Framework for Human Capital in Education

Harvard Education Press, $29.95

Drawing upon a two-year study by the Aspen Institute Education and Society Program and edited by Department of Education official Judy Wurtzel and consultant Rachel E. Curtis, this volume identifies the elements of an effective human capital strategy for leaders of school systems. These expert authors and editors believe that while strengthening human capital—the capacity to recruit, develop and retain top teaching talent—is vital to all school improvement and particularly that of urban school systems, most administrators are just beginning to recognize that it should be their top priority. The book outlines a practical human capital framework built upon teacher recruitment and career development, and identifies the roles principals and districts play in ensuring and fostering high teacher quality.


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