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Inside Urban Charter Schools: Promising Practices and Strategies in Five High-Performing Schools

ISBN-13: 978-1934742105
ISBN-10: 1934742104
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“What makes a great school? Kay Merseth and her colleagues have looked inside some of the nation’s best public charter schools and unlocked their secrets. Through engrossing case studies and thoughtful scholarship, this book shows how these schools use their freedom to realize the high expectations they hold for all students. This is a book with plenty of ‘lessons learned’ for charter schools—and for other urban public schools as well.” — Nelson Smith, President and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools


“Teachers, principals, and anyone else who is serious about closing the achievement gap should read this book. Merseth and her colleagues take you into the classrooms and corridors of five of the best schools in the country and paint a detailed picture of the very specific strategies, beliefs, systems, and cultures that make these schools really work for kids. It is an inspirational and practical how-to guide for school reformers.” — Dacia Toll, co-CEO and President, Achievement First


“Kay Merseth and her colleagues take readers on an insightful tour of some of the nation’s most innovative and inspiring schools.” — Thomas Toch, Codirector, Education Sector


“In this marvelously readable account, Kay Merseth and her team provide eye-opening portraits of five top-flight charter schools at work. Detailing just what these schools are doing when it comes to culture, staffing, organization, and instruction, the authors explore how and why these schools are succeeding. The result is a series of invaluable lessons for educators, policymakers, and reformers.” — Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

From the Back Cover

This book offers an unprecedentedly intimate glimpse into the world of charter schools by profiling five high-performing urban charter schools serving predominantly low-income, minority youth in Massachusetts. Interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations conducted over the course of two years flesh out rich and colorful portraits of daily life in these schools. Using an analytic framework grounded in the research literature on nonprofit management and effective schools, the authors show that these schools excel along the organizational dimensions of structure, systems, human-resource strategies, culture, and clarity of mission—functions executed with remarkable coherence.

By raising provocative questions for parents, educators, policymakers, and scholars, the book makes a powerful contribution to important conversations about the purpose of K–12 schooling in the twenty-first century and what it will take to enable all schools—whether charter or traditional—to successfully educate all students.

“What makes a great school? Kay Merseth and her colleagues have looked inside some of the nation’s best public charter schools and unlocked their secrets. Through engrossing case studies and thoughtful scholarship, this book shows how these schools use their freedom to realize the high expectations they hold for all students. This is a book with plenty of ‘lessons learned’ for charter schools—and for other urban public schools as well.” — Nelson Smith, President and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

“Teachers, principals, and anyone else who is serious about closing the achievement gap should read this book. Merseth and her colleagues take you into the classrooms and corridors of five of the best schools in the country and paint a detailed picture of the very specific strategies, beliefs, systems, and cultures that make these schools really work for kids. It is an inspirational and practical how-to guide for school reformers.” — Dacia Toll, co-CEO and President, Achievement First

“Kay Merseth and her colleagues take readers on an insightful tour of some of the nation’s most innovative and inspiring schools.” — Thomas Toch, Codirector, Education Sector

“In this marvelously readable account, Kay Merseth and her team provide eye-opening portraits of five top-flight charter schools at work. Detailing just what these schools are doing when it comes to culture, staffing, organization, and instruction, the authors explore how and why these schools are succeeding. The result is a series of invaluable lessons for educators, policymakers, and reformers.” — Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Dr. Katherine K. Merseth, the principal investigator of this study, has over forty years of experience in instruction, administration, and research in public education in the United States and internationally. She taught math in traditional public middle and high schools for ten years, has provided instruction in math pedagogy, and is the director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Teacher Education Program, which she founded in 1984.

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Inside Urban Charter Schools: Promising Practices and Strategies in Five High-Performing Schools
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