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Small Schools and Urban Youth

Small Schools and Urban Youth
Using the Power of School Culture to Engage Students

  • Gilberto Q. Conchas - Pennsylvania State University, University of California-Irvine, University of California, Irvine, University of California, Irvine, USA
  • Louie F. Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, USA

Foreword by Hugh Mehan

October 2007 | 168 pages | Corwin
This book explores in-depth the unique aspects of school culture and student personalization characteristic of small learning communities in order to offer insights and suggestions to school reformers, particularly those in urban centers, at all levels and in any kind of school. The authors share conclusions from their original research based in four small learning communities in Boston, MA and Oakland, CA, offering student voice, implications for practice, and suggestions for improving school reform based on the school culture and personalization found in these small learning communities.
Foreword by Hugh “Bud” Mehan
Purpose of the Book

Comparative Research Design

Organization of the Book

Who This Book Is for

About the Authors
1. Digging Beneath the Layers of School Reform: Size, Culture, and Personalization
2. California Career Academies: How Structure and Culture Create Optimism Among Low-Income Urban Youth
3. Structuring Competition and Teamwork: Reproducing the Status Quo and Challenging Inequality Side-by-Side
4. The Case of Boston: How "Small" Schools Forge Academic and Relational Possibilities in the Urban Context
5. Beneath School Structure: How School Culture Shapes Relational and Academic Engagement of Urban High School Students in Boston
6. Conclusion: Towards a Critical Understanding of School Culture

"This book is critical for anyone working to change urban schools to effectively serve all students. Too often we succumb to the notion that substantive change is not possible at the high school level, but this book proves how wrong-headed that concept can be. These authors bring the voices of real teachers and real students to the table to demonstrate how small schools focused on relationship building and 'personalization' can perform miracles!"

Lisa D. Delpit, Executive Director and Eminent Scholar
Center for Urban Education and Innovation, Florida International University

"Finally, educators leading the movement to smaller high schools have a resource they can draw upon for guidance and direction. This book offers clear, practical advice on how to create small schools that are effective in meeting student needs."

Pedro Noguera, Professor
New York University

"The strengths include the book's readability. The examples are vivid and the students' quotes are powerful. The qualitative research style brings a personal feel that is effective."

Gary Peters, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Research
University of Southern Mississippi

"The book reports on an actual research project and presents numerous quotes from students to support the points being made. It provides a good model of data-driven recommendations."

Harold E. Wilson, Professor of Educational Leadership
Ashland University

"I love the themes of relationships, community, respect, personalization, and small schools."

James L. Drexler, Education Department Chair
Covenant College

"Relevant, individualized, and an insightful read. This book will be useful for any school system working to develop academies."

Nancy Betler, Teacher Mentor
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, NC

"The need for a book on this topic is urgent, and the contributions from the volume are significant. The writing is excellent, the data is engaging, and the conceptualization is insightful, individualistic, and challenging."

Lila Jacobs, Professor and Coordinator
Urban Leadership Program, California State University, Sacramento

“This book will be a very helpful and needed addition to the research that clearly establishes how large numbers of our students, particularly big-city students, are being systematically lost because of the size and purposelessness of the schools that they are forced to attend. Relationships are critical, and small schools have shown themselves to be most attentive to and proficient at using small size to personalize educational experiences for urban youth.”

Rodney Muth, Professor
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center

"An excellent survey of the cultural and structural features of small schools in two major urban cities. This narrowed focus allows for an analysis of school culture and student involvement on a macroscopic level, creating a fine sociological investigation suitable for both education and sociology libraries."

The Bookwatch, March 2008
Midwest Book Review

"It is the voice of students in two separate urban centers, Oakland and Boston, that make the book unique. Here, the authors allow students to speak for themselves, and there is honesty in their words that makes the reality surrounding urban school reform resonate in a way that quantitative studies cannot. For anyone wishing a clear and concise introduction to the issues surrounding the restructuring of large urban schools into smaller learning centers, this book is a good place to begin."

CHOICE Magazine, June 2008, Vol. 45(10)
American Library Association

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ISBN: 9781412939348