When eccentric school leadership works

  • Ever wonder how your local high school compares to others around the state or country?   Newsweek has recently published their yearly pick of top high schools across the nation.  Check out the complete list, as well as interactive features (you can search by city, state, or year) –36 Ohio schools make the cut. 
  • Will school libraries be the latest victims of looming budget cuts? As students return to school this coming fall they might be surprised to find that their favorite librarians are gone.  However, the American Association of Schools Administrators won’t be quite as shocked; they’re projecting that around 19 percent of the nation’s school districts will have fewer librarians next year. 
  • Ohio urban middle schools struggling with student achievement and discipline might learn a thing or two away from one Bronx principal. Pedro Santana took over a middle school in the South Bronx four years ago and, thanks to his unconventional ways, the school has turned itself around (seventh grade math scores went up by 50 percentage points!).  Students describe his office as “a beach house” where they can go to talk about their problems. (Santana’s analogies are even more eccentric – he’s a “mother sea turtle?”)  For a fascinating and amusing look at what else this nontraditional principal is doing, check out this article by the NYTimes.
  • Thirty social studies teachers recently got the opportunity to experience what it was like to be on the other side of the desk.  These teachers were part of a select group that traveled to Washington D.C. as part of the Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers.  Teachers got a behind the scenes look at the Supreme Court, came away with a new appreciation of the federal government and commitment to teaching the subject matter.  Sounds like something more teachers could benefit from.
  • Want an easy way to compare school districts around the state of Ohio?  Check out this database from the Ohio Department of Education for a look at each district’s academic performance, financial condition, expenditure per-pupil, and more.

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