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Standing and Delivering: What the Movie Didn't Tell (New Frontiers in Education)

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1607099437
ISBN-10: 1607099438
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Henry Gradillas laid the groundwork that enabled administrators, counselors, and teachers to work together in order to make Garfield High School a school with a future (Jaime Escalante, from the foreword)

Henry was the most successful principal that I have ever known. He has no equal. (Don Mroscak, former head counselor, Garfield High School)

Standing and Delivering is on the required reading list for anyone wishing to gain greater insight into the context and setting for the Escalante miracle. No one else is as qualified to provide perspective on the backstage supports that accompaniedone of the most endearing educational success stories of modern timessss (Omar Del Cueto, former Garfield High School principal)

A dedicated and enthusiastic professional with a great capacity for understanding and working with youth. (Paul Possemato, former LAUSD High Schools Superintendent)

Every principal and school board member who is looking for practical and effective ways of addressing the challenges posed by the toughest urban schools should read this highly readable book. (J. E. Stone, Ed.D., president, Education Consumers Foundation)

Stand and Deliver was a great film, but it did not have time to tell the story of the hero principal, an ex-Army Ranger with a huge heart, who made Jaime Escalante's achievements possible. Henry Gradillas took charge of Garfield High School just as the cheating charges dramatized in the movie were making headlines. He was the first to realize that the doubt and tension would soon turn to triumph and that Garfield would become one of the most important symbols of education reform the country has ever produced. Here for the first time is Gradillas's thrilling story and his practical advice for today's educators hoping to give their students the same challenges he and Escalante so successfully gave theirs. (Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist and author of Escalante: The Best Teacher in America)

Standing and Delivering is on the required reading list for anyone wishing to gain greater insight into the context and setting for the Escalante miracle. No one else is as qualified to provide perspective on the backstage supports that accompanied one of the most endearing educational success stories of modern times (Omar Del Cueto, former Garfield High School principal)

Dr. Gradillas' guiding principle is academic excellence, and he has the formula to achieve it! (Eileen Miranda Jimenez, member, West Covina Unified School District Board of Education, Garfield High School class of 1986)

About the Author

Henry Gradillas has served education as a teacher and administrator in California and Michigan, and as a speaker and consultant throughout North America. He and his wife Gayle live near Ashland, Wisconsin where he continues to work as a tutor, substitute teacher, and court interpreter. Jerry Jesness has taught English, ESL, Spanish, special education, and social studies in his thirty year education career. His writing has appeared in Harper's, Reason Education Week, Teacher Magazine, Principal Magazine, Intellectual Capital, Texas Education Review, and several newspapers.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Frontiers in Education
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: R&L Education (November 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607099438
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607099437
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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We recently had a school board election in Waco, TX. An African-American gentleman, a novice, ran for one of the positions. I voted for him because he is truly interested in how to turn around student performance for all students, but especially for the under-performing ones. I will suggest that, even though he didn't get elected, he read this book. As an activist citizen, he may be able to do more (by using the book as a guideline) than if he were sitting on the school board.

As a retired math teacher and principal with 19 of my 28 years in public education in high risk schools, I am tired of seeing our children destroyed by adult weakness and incompetence in leaders. Henry Gradillas writes with clarity about the very simple things that must be done to turn around a school's environment and academic opportunities. Unfortunately, the simple things for children's improvement are often made muddy by adults. What is maddening is that public education is the foundation of our country's future. Gradillas' book shows how that has to be built with common sense and strength among adults. This means not allowing bad decision-making and self-destructive behavior by students, parents, and educators (especially the leaders) for the sake of political correctness.
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Recently, I picked up a used copy of this book through Amazon.com. I haven't been able to put it down since. It is not only well-written and inspiring - but also offers a blueprint for turning around dysfunctional minority schools. It fits with my observations as a teacher in inner-city Phoenix high schools - that a large number of educators do not believe that poor minority children can achieve so they make few attempts to truly educate them. Instead, they separate them from the other children and then offer them low-level instruction - often in the form of English as a second language or bilingual education classes. Henry Gradillas and Jerry Jesness tell a true story that should resonate throughout America and embarrass educators into changing their attitudes and ways.
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Henry Gradillas was the principal at Garfield High School in Los Angeles from 1980 to 1987. It was during this time that the school gained fame for its math program that featured Jaime Escalante. The school's success was documented in the 1988 movie Stand and Deliver. This book is Gradillas' story of how he took a failing school and made amazing progress. Although Escalante was a key player, he claims that he couldn't have done it with out Henry's leadership. If you want a summary approved by the author go to [...].
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To his credit Henry Gradillas does not seem at all resentful of the fame of his most famous employee, Jaime Escalante. That alone is convincing testimony of Mr. Gradillas' good character.
But good character and good writing are not the same thing. Mr. Gradillas wants us to know how he brought Garfield High School in East Los Angeles from near collapse to academic success. In broad-brush strokes he lays out his own fights with parents, administrators, neighborhood businesses and other naysayers. He maintains that he de-emphasized football, installed high academic standards, reduced tardies, brought gang members in line, and generally made his school into a decent inner-city school. It's quite possible that he did all these things.
But in a book about schools I, as a teacher, want most of all to know what happened in individual classrooms. I want to hear from teachers and students and other administrators. I especially want to hear from people who disagreed with Mr. Gradillas. In a word I want balance. In this book there are only two people who get enough attention to allow me to get to know them: the author and Mr. Escalante. Every other soul at Garfield High is invisible; virtually every classroom is hidden from our view.
Mr. Gradillas says he solved the tardy problem by giving after-school or Saturday detention for third offenses, and parent conferences for those who skipped the detentions. My school does this. It has had no effect on tardies (kids skip the detentions and parents don't show up for the conferences). How did Mr. Gradillas--in a school of 3,000! --make this work? He doesn't say. And no one else is ever quoted, no other perspective is ever cited, to give the vital details that might reveal what really went on to make Mr. Gradillas' strategies effective.
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