This book was required reading by my organization, ostensibly to serve as a model for providing professional development for school personnel. It is well laid out and provides a plan for implementing data driven instruction. It is, however, typical of tomes written by charter school people, who seem to think that they are the originators of all things education. The ideas are good; they are not original. In addition, the charts and tables in the Kindle edition are not large enough to be legible. Although the text font is changeable, the images are not. For the price, this was a huge problem.
After teaching for fifteen years, I had the opportunity to teach at North Star Academy in Newark, NJ. It is a challenging place to work, but it is worth it because you know you are making a difference. In a district where less than 5% of students make it through college, North Star sends 100% of its graduates to college and is on course to have over 75% of its alumni complete a degree. And it does all of this without being selective about the students who attend.
One of the main reasons North Star is successful is because it is "driven by data". Decisions on what happens in the classroom are not made arbitrarily, but are determined by careful examination of interim assessments of students. With this information, teachers are able to craft a classroom experience that helps all students maximize their performance to the point where North Star has closed the achievement gap and because one of the most successful urban schools in the nation.
Paul Bambrick-Santoyo is the master of data driven instruction. I am a principal at a charter school in Washington, D.C. and Paul's workshops have been enormously influential. Over the last three years our student achievement results have sky-rocketed. I attribute much of our gains to the data cycle that Paul describes in this book. Under Paul's guidance, our teachers have become experts at using interim assessments to pinpoint student misunderstandings and re-teach critical concepts. I am thrilled to see that Paul has synthesized his wisdom in a book. Whether you're a principal or a teacher, I highly recommend you buy a copy for your school desk and another for your nightstand.
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