Principal's turf

From the San Jose Mercury News, here’s a profile of a principal who’s turning around a middle school located at the borders of gang territory: Surenos on one side, Nortenos and Cambodian gangs on the other side.

(Glenn) Vander Zee knows his so-called “Mathson Family” must be about more than just its teachers, who lobbied to work an extra 50 minutes a day to focus on student needs; or its after-school and weekend programs, helping kids get a leg up in math or writing; or self-empowerment strategies, like students planting trees or designing their own cultural festivals. It needs student buy-in big time. For while it may be subtle, this truly is a battle for hearts and minds.

I was at the campus not long ago visiting a KIPP school located in one wing of the building. The footbridge where a student was stabbed is quite lovely; opposite the school is a park.

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  1. Sounds like one of the themes I’ve been thumping on: the best unit of education is an independent school.

    Districts bring no value to education and usually are funding sinks as well as morale destroyers.

    The arrival of a good principal can turn a crappy school around and their departure can signal the start of a downward spiral for that school. Since it doesn’t matter greatly to the school district whether a quality education is being delivered in a particular school, the quality of the principals is also immaterial.

  2. While the individual who was stabbed on that bridge was a student somewhere, your statement suggests he was a student at the school lead by this admirable principal. Such an insinuation is of course false, as I am sure you are aware. I wonder what purpose you hoped to achieve with the inclusion of that incident?