Publication Date: May 1, 2003
Series: series on school reform
Beating the Odds tells the story of how teachers, students, and leaders in three schools transcend obstacles to beat the odds of failure and achieve impressive success. The schools — a suburban vocational-technical school, an urban school for immigrant, new-English-language learners, and an urban second-chance school for students who have failed elsewhere —all operate as communities of commitment. With accessible language, multiple examples, and rich anecdotes, Ancess describes how these schools are organized, how they use adult-student relationships to leverage high levels of student performance, how they enact teaching and learning for making meaning, and how they confront the obstacles they encounter. Ancess also discusses the systemic conditions for sustaining and scaling up schools such as these three.
The high schools described in this volume—Urban Academy, International High School, and Hodgson Vocational-Technical—have come to represent models of successful reform despite their challenging student populations. In addition to telling their story, this book provides samples of school documents that illustrate the day-to-day operation of the schools and can be adapted by practitioners to fit their own circumstances.
Jacqueline Ancess is co-director of the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, & Teaching (NCREST) at Teachers College, Columbia University and is co-author of Authentic Assessment in Action: Studies of Schools and Students at Work.
“In this book, Jacqueline Ancess has given us a great gift. She has written an impassioned and well-documented study of how educators have created high schools that succeed in offering an education that supports both competence and community—one that cares for students successfully while it enables them to achieve intellectually.”
—From the Foreword by Linda Darling-Hammond
“What a compelling and inspiring book! Through powerful case studies, Ancess makes it crystal clear that high schools can be caring, intellectually vital, and responsive places.”
— Gerry House, Institute for Student Achievement, former superintendent in Memphis and Chapel Hill
" Beating the Odds is a must-read for all high school reformers! Jackie Ancess digs beneath the easy answers to reveal the essential elements of high schools where all students are both challenged and successful. Her description of ‘teaching for meaning making’ is an especially important contribution to the literature.”
—Tony Wagner, Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of Making the Grade: Reinventing America's Schools