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Leaving to Learn: How Out-of-School Learning Increases Student Engagement and Reduces Dropout Rates

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ISBN-13: 978-0325046044
ISBN-10: 0325046042
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski rightly identify student disengagement as the central cause of our nation s dropout crisis. Their solution leaving to learn connects education to the real world of life and work, creating highly engaged learners in the process. Their strategy redesigning schools in fundamental ways is made understandable by this vivid and compelling account.
Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University

Leaving to Learn puts forth a provocative and powerful argument: A significant number of capable young learners are dropping out of high school not because they can t meet their schools expectations, but because schools don t meet theirs. The authors have worked with these young people and have some exciting insights to share about student engagement and intrinsic motivation. If you re concerned about the dropout problem, you owe it to the young people in your life to pick up this book.
Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

Washor and Mojkowski make a vital contribution to reinventing high schools for the 21st century in this important book. They understand, far better than most, how critical it is to engage and motivate students to give them a reason to want to stay in school and to learn. This book is a must-read for anyone who truly wants to leave no child behind.
Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap


This book is for anyone who wants to understand how schools can ignite the passions and interests of all children and help them make a difference in their world. Supporting learning out in the world is the key to unleashing their potential and to learning who they are and what they want to become.
Susi Amis Cameron, Founder, Board Chair, MUSE School California


School isn t something that kids are trying to do. Rather, they want to succeed at important things. Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski show the remarkable transformations in schools and their students when this becomes their focus.
Clayton Christensen, Harvard business professor and author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns and How Will You Measure Your Life?

I applaud Elliot and Charles for their passion in serving students, impacting positive change, and ensuring we truly think about the education of our nation and beyond. This excellent book resets expectations and reengages us in the core of leadership in learning!
Stedman Graham, educator, entrepreneur, and author of Identity: Your Pathway to Success


The authors get inside young people s heads and hearts in order to understand why and how they disengage from learning and often drop out. It s deeper than you think, the authors say, and they are right. Their solution is spot on start with students interests to break the cycle of failure. Here s hoping schools will listen. --Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, New York University

About the Author

Elliot Washor co-founded and co-directs Big Picture Learning. Involved in school reform for more than 35 years as a teacher, principal, writer and speaker, Elliot has worked all over the world designing and developing innovative schools that provide engaging learning environments. Elliot's interests lie in how schools connect with communities to credit learning that occurs both in and outside of school. The George Lucas Foundation has selected Elliot as one of The Daring Dozen - The Twelve Most Daring Educators.

Charles Mojkowski has worked as a consultant to education and business organizations for over 30 years. He works primarily in the areas of school, program, and curriculum design; leadership and organizational development; and innovative applications of technology in these areas. He has authored numerous articles on unconventional designs for schools and schooling. Charles is a former English teacher, elementary school assistant principal, and administrator in the Rhode Island Department of Education. He was also an Associate Professor in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Johnson & Wales University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (March 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325046042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325046044
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Frishman on March 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
If you are an educator, administrator, policy maker, social entrepreneur, parent or high school student, this book offers powerful insights into what is possible in education. If you are looking to read one book which will fundamentally shift the way in which you think about learning and teaching, to question taken for granted assumptions, see possibilities with new eyes, and support the success of "one student at a time", then Leaving to Learn is the book to read and share with your friends, colleagues and students.

Far too many critiques of the education system, are just that - critiques. In Leaving to Learn Elliot Washor and Charlie Mojkowski have moved beyond critique of the status quo to issue a clarion call for the re-imagination of high school in the United States. Over the course of 10 concise chapters, the authors clearly and directly describe a set of principles, policies and practices that promise to transform and improve learning experiences and create lifelong learners who will become the positive, productive, innovative and entrepreneurial citizens our communities so desperately need.

Washor and Mojkowski support their points with careful attention to the bodies of research focused on how people learn both in schools and the world beyond the classroom walls. Drawing on the insights of luminaries as disparate as Howard Gardner, Alma Powell, Oliver Sacks, Pedro Noguera, Dan Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Rothstein, Clayton Christensen and countless others, they identify the ways in which high schools currently do not adequately address issues of student connection and motivation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris Unger on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a NECESSITY if you work in education today. The "data" is clear: 3 million dropouts each year; 50% in urban settings; and a third prior to 10th grade. The result: ineligible for 90% of US jobs; low pay, if any; and a life for many that may be unfulfilled and challenging. Besides that, many, many, many kids are simply bored, no matter the community, and not finding any meaning or value to their learning.

In this book, Elliot Washor and Charlie Mojkowski share the possibility of how to engage and reengage our youth in their learning, no matter where, by making it meaningful, purposeful, and useful ... by taking students' learning OUTSIDE the school. Based on the work of Big Picture schools and beyond, Elliot and Charlie provide clear and excellent advice as to how ANY school system can reengage their youth through out of school learning - whether it be internships, after school programs, work, or online learning.

My own daughter, oldest of three and now 22, hated high school (and she went to a supposedly good school!). An Honors student, she did her assignments as quickly as possible and homework on the bus. In short, she went through all the motions and when all was said and done, said she didn't want to go to college because she couldn't take sitting in chairs, reading material that didn't matter to her, or discussing material for which she saw no real purpose. Smart? Yes. Creative? Yes. Energetic and engaged otherwise? YES! When outside of school. How much would she have gained if her high school (again, one known throughout the state as one of the best) would have figured out a way to engage her real interests, passions, and talent. But no, and cynically I say, educators can't get out of their own way to do something better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephan Mccrea on February 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has vital material for teachers and principals in the fight for resources to deliver good programs to kids: The key is to make school personal for students. Build the programs around each student's interests.

For example, look at this quote:
"Researchers have calculated the cost to society of dropouts but have missed the significantly larger cost of disengaged students who graduate from high school but are nonetheless unprepared for lifelong learning and whose talents and potential have been sadly ignored, often because those talents lie outside the traditional subject matter focus of a cognitive/abstract curriculum."
P. 120

Elliot Washor and Charles Mojkowski have written the book that could aid those principals who are waiting for the right vocabulary to hit their desks. This book is the sledgehammer that principals need to tear down walls separating the workplace from classrooms. This book is the scissors needed to cut through red tape.

Parents can use this book to get the personalized school that will serve their children.

SUMMARY: Leaving to Learn...
Great title.
Excellent procedures (pages 108-116 plus policies 123-124)
Vocabulary for teachers and principals... just the right amount of documentation to persuade a superintendent to allow a change in procedures....

Hey, parents and students,
School can be fun again -- and worth your time. Find out how: step one: Photocopy pages 108-116 and pages 123-124.
step two: deliver those copies to your principal.
step three: get a petition started to support these programs.
step four: deliver the signed petition to your principal's bosses.
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