"Gonsalves and Leonard's new book offers a strategy for educators and school officials to use that moves beyond traditional solutions like curricular changes, more rigorous academic content in the classroom, or school restructuring designed to maximize the impact of the classroom. The authors assert that effective and lasting change must come from cultural change….By examining the trends, policies, and challenges of Dorchester High School in Boston, much like those of high schools all over the United States, the authors capture the lessons learned from Dorchester's history that should be instructive to educators and school officials today. They also examined Dorchester High in the context of community partnerships. This book will engage the reader. The authors do a good job of helping readers to connect the characters, time, and context of the Dorchester case with the needs and experiences of the readers' own students and communities."
"Gonsalves and Leonard provide a case study of Dorchester High School in Boston (where both the authors have worked), which they consider in the context of national and local history from 1945 to 2006, as well as the geographical and sociological context of the local neighborhoods and community partnerships. They then present lessons learned and recommendations for urban high school reform work through their framework, which is based on the theories of Urie Bronfenbrenner and his ecological systems approach. The impact of community partners, challenges urban teenagers face, and the role of school leaders in cultural change are discussed."
Reference & Research Book News
"This book is the story of Dorchester High School in Boston. The groundwork for this case study is represented in great detail with a general history of schooling from 1945 to 2006, along with a thorough description of the impact of government mandates and their effects on schools like Dorchester High School, beginning in the late 1980s. There is little doubt that education since the 1960s has become more complex and unsettled. Such factors as a growing diversity in student population, students with special educational needs, and students with bilingual issues are all affecting our schools and testing educators, including those at Dorchester High. Authors Gonsalves and Leonard believe that the average urban high school is unable to fix itself. They state that the circle of responsibility extends far beyond the rolls of the school, and that a cultural reform strategy in this expanded community is a requirement for real school improvement. They intend to demonstrate how an alignment of forces, including businesses, legislative leaders, and involved educators, could significantly reform a school. They present numerous and varied stories that underscore the importance of how community partners facing unique challenges can work together to renew and reform our schools. Recommended. All levels."
This book on high school reform addresses why the U.S. dropout rate is still too high despite many reform efforts, why far too many graduates are not prepared for college, and why our high school students still fall short on international competitions.