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Winter 2016



Achieving Coherence in District Improvement
Susan Moore Johnson, Geoff Marietta, Monica Higgins, Karen Mapp, Allen Grossman

What's the best way to manage the relationship between a central office and schools? Surprised at how little research was out there on the intersection of the two, this team of Harvard professors, lecturers, and alumni set out to analyze and understand how large, urban school districts manage that relationship, offering real-life stories from five districts, as well as tips and best practices that make Achieving Coherence useful to practitioners.

Becoming a School Principal
Sarah Fiarman

In this first-person account, Sarah Fiarman, Ed.M.'05, Ed.D.'09, shares what it was like starting out as a new principal after many years working in schools as a teacher. It's her way, she writes, to talk to other principals, to provide a sense of camaraderie by saying, "This happened to me, too!" or "You'll never believe what someone just said." Also valuable is the practical advice she gives, such as recommending that you communicate more than you think you need to and know when to delegate and get out of the way.

Confessions of a Headmaster
Paul Cummins

Kirkus Reviews called Paul Cummins' new book "a memoir and manifesto for education reform." It received praise from notables like novelist Mona Simpson and John Densmore, the drummer for the Doors. And it's entertaining, filled with funny insights from the 31 years that Cummins, M.A.T.'60, ran the progressive Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California — a school he founded that included a bevy of celebrity students like Jack Black, Zooey Deschanel, and Zosia Mamet.

Failing Our Brightest Kids
Chester Finn, Brandon Wright

In his new, co-authored book, Chester Finn, M.A.T.'67, senior fellow and president emeritus at the Thomas B. Fordman Institute, argues that the United States in recent years has made modest progress in ensuring that young people from poor and minority backgrounds reach a minimum level of academic achievement. However, the same isn't true for students already performing above the minimum — "those for whom reaching 'proficiency' is no challenge." These students also "deserve an education that meets their needs."

Reading, Writing, and Rhythm
Rosalie Fink

In Reading, Writing, and Rhythm, Rosalie Fink, Ed.D.'92, a professor emeritus at Lesley University, offers teachers a new way to teach reading and writing to students using the arts, particularly rhythm, rhyme, and rap. For example, she writes, not only is rap fun, but "by integrating rap into the regular curriculum, teachers can use students' out-of-school interests as assets to learning academic subjects in school."

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