Inside Urban Charter Schools

Inside Urban Charter Schools Promising Practices and Strategies in Five High-Performing Schools

Katherine K. Merseth with Kristy Cooper, John Roberts, Mara Casey Tieken, Jon Valant, and Chris Wynne, foreword by S. Paul Reville
paper, 275 Pages
Pub. Date: January 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1-934742-10-5
Price: $33.00

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2009 Excellence in Advancing Knowledge, National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA)

Inside Urban Charter Schools offers an unprecedentedly intimate glimpse into the world of charter schools by profiling five high-performing urban charter schools serving predominantly low-income, minority youth in Massachusetts

Praise

What makes a great school? Kay Merseth and her colleagues have looked inside some of the nation’s best public charter schools and unlocked their secrets. Through engrossing case studies and thoughtful scholarship, this book shows how these schools use their freedom to realize the high expectations they hold for all students. This is a book with plenty of ‘lessons learned’ for charter schools—and for other urban public schools as well. — Nelson Smith, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Teachers, principals, and anyone else who is serious about closing the achievement gap should read this book. Merseth and her colleagues take you into the classrooms and corridors of five of the best schools in the country and paint a detailed picture of the very specific strategies, beliefs, systems, and cultures that make these schools really work for kids. It is an inspirational and practical how-to guide for school reformers. — Dacia Toll, co-CEO and president, Achievement First

Kay Merseth and her colleagues take readers on an insightful tour of some of the nation’s most innovative and inspiring schools. — Thomas Toch, Codirector, Education Sector

In this marvelously readable account, Kay Merseth and her team provide eye-opening portraits of five top-flight charter schools at work. Detailing just what these schools are doing when it comes to culture, staffing, organization, and instruction, the authors explore how and why these schools are succeeding. The result is a series of invaluable lessons for educators, policymakers, and reformers. — Frederick M. Hess, Director of Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute

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About the Author

Dr. Katherine K. Merseth, the principal investigator of this study, has over forty years of experience in instruction, administration, and research in public education in the United States and internationally. She taught math in traditional public middle and high schools for ten years, has provided instruction in math pedagogy, and is the director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Teacher Education Program, which she founded in 1984. Merseth holds a master’s degree in mathematics from Boston College, and both a master of arts in teaching and a doctorate in education administration, planning, and social policy from HGSE.

Kristy Cooper is a National Board Certified teacher who taught elementary school for six years in traditional public schools. She is an editorial board member of the Harvard Educational Review, holds a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Cooper is in her fourth year of doctoral studies in education policy, leadership, and instructional practice at HGSE.

John Roberts worked as a teacher in a traditional public high school for four years and as principal of a charter school for three years. He holds a master’s degree in administration, planning, and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and works as a consultant for a charter school in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is in his third year of the doctoral degree program in education policy, leadership, and instructional practice at HGSE.

Mara Casey Tieken has three years of experience teaching in a traditional public elementary school and one year teaching preschool as a Harris Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center. She is the cochair of the Harvard Educational Review editorial board, holds a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is entering her fourth year as a doctoral student in the culture, communities, and education concentration at HGSE.

Jon Valant has four years of experience working at charter schools, one year as a tutor and afterschool coordinator and three years as a data analyst and curriculum developer. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Valant currently consults with various charter management organizations and is a first-year doctoral student in administration and policy analysis at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.

Chris Wynne’s teaching experience includes three years in a traditional public middle school and four years in a charter middle and high school. He is an editorial board member of the Harvard Educational Review and holds a master’s degree in human development and psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Wynne is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in the education policy, leadership, and instructional practice concentration at HGSE.


Table of Contents (PDF)

Introduction (PDF)

Chapter 1 Community Day Charter Public School (PDF)

About the Authors (PDF)

Index (PDF)

Interview with Katherine Merseth

Charters, Tests, and the Tiresome Achievement Debate by Katherine Merseth

Merseth Honored by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers

Audio Excerpt: Inside Urban Charter Schools by Kay Merseth

Carnegie Foundation: Video Interview with Katherine Merseth

Other books in Charter Schools

Choices and Challenges

Priscilla Wohlstetter, Joanna Smith, and Caitlin C. Farrell, foreword by Michael W. Kirst

Other books in Charter Schools

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools

Peter Frumkin, Bruno V. Manno, and Nell Edgington, foreword by Frederick M. Hess

Other books in Charter Schools

School Choice and School Improvement

Edited by Mark Berends, Marisa Cannata, and Ellen B. Goldring

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