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"This book is critical for anyone working to change urban schools to effectively serve all students. Too often we succumb to the notion that substantive change is not possible at the high school level, but this book proves how wrong-headed that concept can be. These authors bring the voices of real teachers and real students to the table to demonstrate how small schools focused on relationship building and 'personalization' can perform miracles!"
"Finally, educators leading the movement to smaller high schools have a resource they can draw upon for guidance and direction. This book offers clear, practical advice on how to create small schools that are effective in meeting student needs."
"The strengths include the book's readability. The examples are vivid and the students' quotes are powerful. The qualitative research style brings a personal feel that is effective."
"The book reports on an actual research project and presents numerous quotes from students to support the points being made. It provides a good model of data-driven recommendations."
"I love the themes of relationships, community, respect, personalization, and small schools."
"Relevant, individualized, and an insightful read. This book will be useful for any school system working to develop academies."
"The need for a book on this topic is urgent, and the contributions from the volume are significant. The writing is excellent, the data is engaging, and the conceptualization is insightful, individualistic, and challenging."
“This book will be a very helpful and needed addition to the research that clearly establishes how large numbers of our students, particularly big-city students, are being systematically lost because of the size and purposelessness of the schools that they are forced to attend. Relationships are critical, and small schools have shown themselves to be most attentive to and proficient at using small size to personalize educational experiences for urban youth.”
"An excellent survey of the cultural and structural features of small schools in two major urban cities. This narrowed focus allows for an analysis of school culture and student involvement on a macroscopic level, creating a fine sociological investigation suitable for both education and sociology libraries."
"It is the voice of students in two separate urban centers, Oakland and Boston, that make the book unique. Here, the authors allow students to speak for themselves, and there is honesty in their words that makes the reality surrounding urban school reform resonate in a way that quantitative studies cannot. For anyone wishing a clear and concise introduction to the issues surrounding the restructuring of large urban schools into smaller learning centers, this book is a good place to begin."
"Conchas and Rodriguez’s work is very encouraging in its suggestion that intentional and relational school cultures have some potential to narrow educational achievement disparities."