the magazine of the harvard graduate School of education Summer 2011

Close a School?
also inside | school lunch | high school quiz shows | soldiers and schools

How Do You

the appian way

the big picture

March 8, 2011
For the nearly 800 students at TechBoston Academy, it was the opportunity of a lifetime: President Barack Obama chose to visit their school as part of his recent trip to the Bay State. Headmaster Mary Skipper, Ed.M.’06, gave Obama a three-hour tour, with several Ed School student interns in tow. While visiting classrooms, the president shook hands and asked students what they hoped to study in college. Later, during a speech in the auditorium, Obama touted the school’s turnaround academic success and highly praised Skipper, whom he said was doing “unbelievable work.”
Watch a video interview with mary Skipper.



• summEr 2011

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education

michael rodman


Closing Time
The reality is, school districts close schools for many reasons: tight budgets, low performance, underenrollment. Once the decision is made, the question becomes: How do you do it right?

Quiz Kids
Lightning rounds. Head-to-head. Quizmasters. Buzzers. The high school quiz show is still as popular and fun as ever.

Lunch Line


A look at the 65-year-old National School Lunch Program and the new legislation that says goodbye to french fries and hello to farro.


a click away

stories and links found only online www.gse.harvard.edu

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4 6 38 48 49 letters the appian Way alumni news and notes recess investing

Proving that education can be fun, Gary look for this logo Knell, presithroughout the dent and CEO magazine highlighting related videos, of the nonedcasts, web profit Sesame stories, and more. Workshop, braved a New England snowstorm and came to Cambridge this past February. While here, he spoke with the Harvard EdCast about taboo topics on Sesame Street, taking criticism from Elmo, and why he most identifies with Grover. Just weeks after Ed. magazine ran a profile about his year-long efforts to start a new American international university in Cairo, Norman Smith, Ed.D.’84, fled Egypt during the civilian protests that toppled the Mubarek government this past winter. In an online follow-up interview, Smith talks about his decision to leave. events www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/events twitter www.twitter.com/hgse facebook www.facebook.com/harvardeducation youtube www.youtube.com/harvardeducation flickr www.flickr.com/photos/harvardeducation scribd www.scribd.com/harvardeducation
courtesy of norman smith ap photo/ Bizvayehu tosfaye

What’s this?
SEniOr WriTEr/EdiTOr Lory Hough lory_hough@harvard.edu PrOduCTiOn MAnAgEr/EdiTOr Marin Jorgensen marin_jorgensen@harvard.edu dESignEr Paula Telch Cooney paula_telch@harvard.edu dirECTOr OF COMMuniCATiOnS Michael rodman michael_rodman@harvard.edu COMMuniCATiOnS inTErn Mateo Corby COnTriBuTing WriTErS Mateo Corby Erica Mosca, Ed.M.’11 Laura Pappano Mark robertson, Ed.M.’08 umesh Sharma, Ed.M.’05 Mary Tamer PHOTOgrAPHErS Jill Anderson Briget ganske Elena gormley Tanit Sakakini Martha Stewart iLLuSTrATOrS Lynn rowe reed daniel Vasconcellos COPyEdiTOr Abigail Mieko Vargus

Called a QR code, this two dimensional barcode used in Ed. is readable by mobile phones with cameras or scanners and takes readers directly online.

© 2011 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Ed. magazine is published three times a year. Third-class postage paid at randolph, Mass. and additional offices. POSTMASTEr: Send address changes to: Harvard graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44r Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138 To read Ed. online, go to www.gse.harvard.edu/ed.

dagmar nelson

The new format of Ed. is terrific. The weight and fiber content of the paper is perfect, makes the pages easy to turn and, frankly, makes for a very classy publication. The pictures have amazing clarity and clearly reflect the advancement of publications technology. Of course, the articles continue to be timely, informative, and expertly illustrated, e.g. “Reading 101.” I applaud the new look of Ed. Keep up the good work!
— Carolyn Miller, Ed.M.’90

I want to compliment you on the recent changes in layout and design of Ed. magazine. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the winter 2011 copy! I found it much more reader-friendly and definitely spent more time reading and thinking about the articles. — Kerry Aderman, Ed.M.’09

You need /r/ /ee/ /d/ to read
The mention of schools in Finland (“You Need /r/ /ee/ /d/ to Read,” winter 2011) not focusing on teaching children to read until age seven reminded me of the Waldorf school philosophy. Why do we in the United States insist on adding these pressures when simply encouraging other

activities would allow children to flourish with a lot less aggravation and frustration? I also wonder if there are fewer “learning disabilities” identified in early grades where children are given time to develop neurologically before being introduced to reading curriculum. — Karen Ruel

missing enumeration?
As the serial control coordinator here at Indiana University Libraries, Bloomington, I scoured the winter 2011 issue of Ed. magazine for the enumeration but could not find it anywhere. I believe the numbering should be V. 54, No. 2. Please let me know if I am correct and if the numbering will return to future issues. — Heidi Busch Editor’s note: We’re sorry you had to spend so much time looking for something that wasn’t there. When we redesigned the magazine, starting with the winter 2011 issue, we decided to let go of the numbering. 4

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I was very happy to see recognition given to the significance of continued direct and explicit reading instruction provided by a fantastic young reading specialist. This is a subject close to my own heart and deserves much greater attention in the academic community. However, I am shocked to see such a poorly written article on a Harvard website. The amount of information crammed into this short article completely obscured its purpose. Was it written to laud the work of this teacher? To introduce the subject of phonemes? To inform the audience about this recognized system to teach reading? To introduce new research into how the brain learns to read? Even

the title did a poor job of presenting or introducing the subject of phonemes! However, the biggest shock was the quality of the writing itself. If this writer were paid based on the number of commas or passive verbs used, the fragmented sentencing, or the ridiculous number of sentences begun with conjunctions, her paycheck just might threaten Harvard’s endowment! I expect better than this from Harvard. — Tami Littleton I do wonder about “how readers turn squiggles into sounds and then ... words” because I am in the kindergarten stages of learning to read Arabic! It still mostly seems like squiggles to me. — Marian Conning

I do envy this businessman (alumni profile, Atif Rafique, Ed.M.’03, fall 2010) for his academic record and his other achievements in life. — Tiroid Do not envy him, emulate him. Atif is a really nice guy who deserves to be successful. We were at Harvard together, and I always knew he would do well. One of those good guys that you hope would eventually be in a position to do some good in the world. Congratulations. — Sara Wilford

By now, most of you know that the Ed School has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/harvardeducation. (And if you didn’t know, go “like” us now!) What you may not be aware of is that Ed. magazine has been using the page more and more to connect with readers, and not just to repost stories that we’ve already written. We’re using Facebook to get ideas. For example, we recently starting asking readers to tell us what one question they would ask an Ed School faculty member if given the opportunity. We pick one of the posted questions, have a member of the faculty write an answer, and then we publish the exchange in an issue of the magazine. We’ve also been posting questions to readers regarding stories we’re thinking of including or ones in progress. With the winter 2011 issue, readers actually chose the cover story, a piece that explores what it takes to get an emerging reader reading. For the fall 2011 issue, we have asked readers working in education what they think of teachers and students using Wikipedia in the classroom or for research. The comments proved useful and provided the writer with several people to interview for the story. readers also chose this issue’s cover photo! So please “like” the school’s Facebook page if you haven’t already, then check in on us from time to time — you may just end up in a future issue of the magazine!

We Weren’t monkeying around
While this isn’t a letter, we thought it was worth mentioning that the video that we produced to go along with the Recess story (winter 2011) about current Ed.D. student Anjali Adukia, Ed.M.’03, and her monkey dissertation adventure was picked up not once, but twice, by the Chronicle of Higher Education. It ultimately ended up with more than 5,000 views on YouTube. Not bad for a piece that included bananas Watch the and a kid in a toomonkey video small Halloween for yourself! costume.
Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


courtesy of atif rafique


Briget ganske

elena gormley

Briget ganske

the appian way


lecturehall Assistant Professor Katherine Masyn

he fell in love with math at an early age. She eventually discovered statistics while in college and was even more enamored. But it was actually a veterinary school that introduced Katherine masyn to something that would take her through three Ph.d. programs to the real passion of her life: latent variable models. at the time, she was a doctoral student in the school of engineering at cornell university studying something she wasn’t really interested in — operations research. at the suggestion of a friend who knew she missed working with data, she took an elective methods course at the university’s vet school on epidemiology, the study of health and illness patterns. “We talked about study design and implications for answering research questions,” masyn says. “i loved it.” the professor asked if she had ever heard of biostatistics — an area of statistics focused on biology and public health. She hadn’t, but her interest was piqued. this took her to the university of california–Berkeley, where, in another epidemiology course, she learned about latent variable models. “i thought, ‘this is fantastic!’ Something clicked,” she says. “this is how i think about the world. this is awesome.” now in her second year teaching at the ed School after four years teaching at the university of california–davis, masyn, with her dog Byron by her side, spoke to Ed. in february about “stattoos,” magic chairs, and why even her mom has a hard time describing what she does.

Your mom has spent the last 10 years practicing a phrase to explain what you do. What’s her phrase? These days she leads with, “My daughter is a professor at Harvard.” Then asked what I do, she says “social research quantitative methodologist.” I asked her what she says if someone wants to know what that actually means and she said no one ever goes there. how does the hand-painted chair in your office tie into this? My students at Davis gave it to me when I left for Harvard. It made me cry. When students came to meet with me in my office, they would sit in a chair across from my desk. They realized that when they sat in this chair, they understood everything. But when they got up and left, it all went away. It was like we had never met. So they started calling it Masyn’s Magic Chair. initially you wanted to be a high school math teacher, but that changed after you took a statistics course. Statistics is all about modeling uncertainty in the world. With math, there’s a right or wrong answer and a Truth

with a capital “T.” With statistics, even if you believe there is a single truth, you can’t necessarily derive it theoretically. You need to collect data and make inferences based on it. I loved it and I decided I wanted to do more of that.

This is how I think about the world. This is awesome.”

how did you first learn about latent variable models? I had to do a reading with latent variable analysis, which looked at the effect of quality of life issues and aging populations, trying to get at how to measure and quantify “quality of life.” and the latent variable part? The idea is that you can’t measure it directly. There isn’t a quality-oflife-o’meter. Quality of life is a latent variable; it’s not directly observed. What you can observe is what you think are manifestations of this underlying variable. You can ask people about their ease or difficulty doing certain activities of daily living. You can get reports from family members. No one measure is going to give us a perfect read, but ask this range of questions and do this range of observations and maybe, if you combine all of this information, you’ll get a better idea of this underlying thing that we can’t directly observe.

Speaking of what can be observed, tell me about your “stattoos.” Since math and stats are my passion, and since my deep connection to my work derives from the fact that I instinctively and reflexively see my world as one giant statistical model, it’s no surprise that my creative forms of expression often take some sort of math/stat form. I got each of my tattoos and piercings to commemorate important events and transitions, to reconnect with myself after a difficult time, or to remind myself of challenges and achievements. For example, I got my first stattoo when I graduated from college with my B.S. in mathematics. My other stattoo is in memory of my dad. He died eight years ago on March 14, which is “Pi Day,” hence the Pi tattoo on my neck. I already have a stattoo planned for if/when I get tenure. link to a video
— Lory Hough
of masyn and stat raps.

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


the appian way


Why Erica Mosca Cares

At 16, the most important event in my life occurred: My family moved out of a lower-income southern California neighborhood to a middle-class community. I went from earning a GPA ranking me sixth out of more than 300 students to earning the first C on a report card in my life. I went from being a straight-A Spanish student to retaking Spanish II. The D on my first AP English paper, covered in my new teacher’s red ink, showcased my lack of formal grammar instruction. At 16, I did not have the knowledge to attribute my new problems to the achievement gap — that I was behind because my family moved. My new high school was my seventh school in all, and even though I had done everything right at each of them, I was still behind. Yet I was lucky. My parents continued to remind me that hard work and a college education would change everything. And it did. As the first person in my family to graduate from college, I have had opportunities and experiences I could never dream of as a child. Not all young people are as lucky. Today only one in 10 low-income students will reach the American dream through an excellent education. This excruciating fact is what brought me to the Ed School to study education policy and management. But it’s not just the statistics that brought me here; it’s the faces of my former fifth-graders. After graduating summa cum laude from Boston University in 2008, I joined Teach For America in Nevada’s Las Vegas Valley with the goal of inspiring students with similar backgrounds to mine to use education as the way out of the circumstances they had been born into. Faced with the highest high school dropout, foreclosure, and unemployment rates in this country, only one out of 10 students in the state of Nevada will earn bachelor’s degrees. But as hard as I taught, and as focused and hardworking as my students were, the fact remains: The state they live in ensures less than half of them will even graduate from high school. Those fifth-graders are now seventh-graders, and none of them are enrolled in prealgebra, which means none of them will take calculus in high school. Their feeder high school has failed to make adequate yearly progress in the last five years. As their teacher, I had no power to remove these 8

barriers for my students. Today I feel like a criminal: I told a class of 10-year-olds for a whole year that hard work would lead to success and that college would transform their lives and the lives of their families. But I never told them what to do if teachers held low expectations for them or what to do when stuck in a failing school. During this past winter break, my parents and I took a dozen of my former students ice skating, the first time skating for many of these children. When asking them their hopes and dreams, they all shared that they want to go to college and be successful. And though these are the same hopes and dreams as their higher-income peers — the same dreams I once had — the simple fact they live in their part of Las Vegas slowly closes opportunities day by day. I used to wonder what would have happened to me if I had been doomed to stay in my failing high school. Now the question that gets me up in the morning goes beyond me: What will happen to my 56 former students who face such daunting odds? I will return to Nevada for the same reason I came to Harvard: to ensure that obtaining an excellent education does not rest on luck. — Erica Mosca, Ed.M.’11, will graduate from the Education Policy and Management Program in May.

• summEr 2011

daniel vasconcellos

The College Search Made Easier
The campus visit is a significant and memorable occasion for students and parents involved in the college search, but organizing the adventure can sometimes be a nightmare. When Kevin Preis, Ed.M.’07, witnessed family members struggling with the challenges of finding information about campus tours, keeping track of admissions details, and getting reliable advice on their college searches, he immediately went online to look for an itinerary planning tool for college visits. To his surprise, he came up empty. He began thinking about his own college admissions process — both the good moments and the difficult ones — and decided to use his computer programming knowledge to build a website that would make the college search a more engaging, enjoyable experience. The result was Go See Campus, a free website that helps students and parents plan campus visits online and make the most of the college search. Among other resources, the site includes what Preis believes is a first-of-its-kind web tool that connects users to campus tours, information sessions, and other admissions activities. “Now students and parents can go to a single website,” he says, “choose the schools they want to visit, learn about admissions activities on campus, build an itinerary for their trip, and get resources like campus maps, parking directions, nearby dining options, and events calendars.” By compiling all this information in one place, Go See Campus saves users the headache of scouring each individual college website for admissions details. In addition to students and parents, Preis says that high school counselors have used the website as a complement to their work advising students throughout the college search process. Since Preis made it one of his goals to provide as many helpful resources as possible for counselors, Go See Campus has a growing library of advice articles on topics like deciding how many colleges to visit, what questions to ask during campus tours, and how to prepare for admissions interviews. “Counselors have told me that they often refer their students to these articles. In addition, some counselors plan trips to visit campuses with their students or as part of their own professional development,” he says. “They’ll use Go See Campus to plot their routes, get campus maps, and find contact information for admissions officers.” New initiatives include a counselor’s newsletter that began last fall to provide updates on new site features and relevant professional development opportunities. Preis, a graduate of the Technology, Innovation, and Education (TIE) Program, senses that digital media is quickly becoming a larger part of the college search. “Students are still learning about schools through college websites, but they are also exploring them through third-party sites and social media,” he says. “As a result, some of the decisionmaking about whether to apply to a specific college happens away from the school’s official channels. I imagine we’ll soon see colleges investing in new technology and platforms to reach potential applicants.” To enhance the site’s utility, Preis plans to add a number of new features. For example, the College Trip Planner’s Map Creator currently allows users to plot and save a driving route from one school to the next; a future update will give the option to find nearby colleges along the route. Several years post-graduation, Preis still maintains relationships with his Harvard classmates and professors, many of whom have provided helpful advice and feedback on his business ventures. “More generally,” he says, “the Ed School’s TIE Program allowed me to explore emerging technologies and to think about how they could apply to learning and communication. Go See Campus is a product of that exploration.” — Mateo Corby is a senior at Harvard College.
Part of Jewell-Sherman’s collection — Connect to Go See Campus at www.goseecampus.com.

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


the appian way

not the War umesh Sharma Expected
This is the story of a Harvard graduate who has taken the road less traveled. I came to the United States six years ago from Rajasthan, India, to attend Harvard. After obtaining my master’s in the International Education Policy Program, I decided not to return to India. I became a teacher in Washington, D.C. Then, in February 2009, the U.S. Army started a new program, MAVNI: Military Accession Vital to National Interest. I was able to join the Army despite being a legal immigrant and not having U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. My father had served for 16 years in the Indian infantry before he started a K–12 school for his children and other kids. I decided to follow in his footsteps. In the summer of 2009, I left the comfort of my job as a teacher and joined the U.S. Army. Considering my qualifications, I could perhaps have gotten any job in the military, but I have always had a drive to push myself physically. I have competed in marathons, 10K races, and triathlons, so the demands of being a grunt, and family tradition, compelled me to join the infantry. It just seemed like a perfect fit. However, despite my desire to be just an infantryman, upon arrival to my unit in Hawaii, my superiors learned about my educational background and assigned me to a special, unconventional position to assist the commander with additional burdens of an “advise, train, and assist” mission. Our unit deployed to Iraq on the fourth of July 2010. A few months after our arrival in the Kirkuk province, combat operations (Operation Iraqi Freedom) officially ended. Operation New Dawn began on September 1 with the “advise, train, and assist” mission. Essentially, we stopped actively targeting and pursuing the enemy and started training Iraqi Security Forces. We also assisted local government officials by helping them rebuild infrastructure that had greatly suffered over the past seven years. This was not the mission I had expected when I first joined the Army. Many of us expected intense fighting like we had seen in the movies or heard from fellow soldiers with previous deployments under their belts. However, insurgent attacks against U.S. forces have become infrequent. So far, our Warrior brigade has lost five soldiers (KIA: killed in action) in the past six months, with many others wounded in action. Thankfully no one in my company, Reaper, has sustained serious injuries despite several close calls.

hearts and minds
The number of attacks had come down after U.S. forces introduced a new program in 2007 to win the hearts and minds of the people. The Commander’s Emergency Response Program allowed company commanders to identify areas in need of infrastructure improvement and work through the local government to hire local contractors. Company Reaper is responsible for the predominantly agricultural region of Kirkuk. As is the case in many agrarian cultures around the world, formal education is greatly underappreciated. Many of the local schools are little more than multiroom mud huts while the larger schools from the Saddam-era are in total disrepair. Restoration and rebuilding schools has been our unit’s specific focus. This past October, the newly reconstructed Fedika Girls Elementary School reopened for the first time since a suicide bomber destroyed it during the tumultuous elections of 2005. Besides overseeing the construction, we also provided school supplies — school bags, pencil boxes, and notebooks — for the Iraqi soldiers to distribute to the children. The little girls were thrilled with all the colorful bags they were getting but were very obedient in class. Afterwards they followed us around the hallway demanding that I, the designated Reaper photographer, take their pictures, which I did. Even the Iraqi grownups seemed to be caught up in the childish enthusiasm. It showed a more familial aspect of the Iraqi society: children and adults in a mellowed setting. Our most recent reopening was in December, the Al Tafaul Elementary School, which was also destroyed in 2005 by suicide bombers attempting to disrupt and discredit the election. At the opening ceremony, the city mayor thanked us for “helping remove the face of war from our city.” Although I had previously worked with school children in the United States and India, the ability to facilitate the improvement of education in Iraq as a way to win the hearts and minds and promote freedom through education, as the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen once put it, has shown me how education can dramatically change the lives of not only the students, but of the entire society.


When we first arrived in July to our small base, which we shared with an Iraqi Army battalion, it was more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The morning that I write this — January 4, 2011, the halfway point in our one-year tour — it’s 32 degrees. We still wear the same uniform with the obligatory 40-pound body armor. It used to be a burden in the unbearable heat, but now it feels more comfortable. 10

• summEr 2011

children and soldiers near a mine-resistant, ambush-protected tank in hawijah

I recently read an article in The New York Times by Nicholas Kristof (online, of course), in which he argued that it would be better for the United States to fund schools in Afghanistan and Iraq than to keep U.S. soldiers on the ground. My experiences have shown me otherwise. Many U.S. and international organizations are involved in developmental work to help modernize Iraq and bring peace and stability in the region, with a modern education system being the cornerstone of a modern Iraq. However, security concerns keep most of them from frequently visiting the smaller and remote towns and villages needing the most attention. For instance, in my last six months here, I saw USAID only once visit the two school projects they funded here. We provided them security as construction of al Bessil School they went about their project inspections. On the other hand, during the same time period, U.S. forces have funded $5 million of infrastructure in the district. We have visited our projects almost every week. We have a much better understanding of the local situation (political ambitions, tribal affiliations, corrupt officials, urgent local issues). We stay here in remote areas, close to the people, and meet them frequently, despite terror attacks on our convoys. Thus, U.S. forces are uniquely positioned to interact with and help the local populace on a regular basis, despite the terror attacks. Without proper security, schools cannot be built and students cannot study. I cannot adequately describe the experience without mentioning our support for Al Anwar Widows and Orphans organization. This local NGO supports local families whose fathers have been killed during the war. Our unit funded the reconstruction of the organization’s headquarters building, which was previously an abandoned

local government officials distribute backpacks

building next to the city council’s building. Despite being attacked on the way to its opening ceremony, our unit has continued providing sewing machines and other items that support vocational training to the widows. A few days after Christmas, I even played the role of Santa Claus when we distributed more than 500 bags of humanitarian aid including food, winter clothing, and blankets. This is Operation New Dawn. This is not the war I signed up for, but it has made me realize that the “advise, train, and assist” mission is a way soldiers can establish long-term peace and fight terrorism, while also being educators of mankind and promoting modern democratic societies. Of course, we do need our weapons to protect ourselves and the society. — Umesh Sharma, Ed.M.’05, is a specialist in the Alpha Company1-14 Infantry Battalion.
Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


tarik elkhatiB

courtesy of umesh sharma

Soldiers and Schools

the appian way

studybreak ryan Shepard, Ed.M.’11
Education Policy and Management
Tool for Change: Hometown: Los Program:



ids need to be given chances. Student government Association president ryan Shepard knows this. He’s seen it in the classroom during his two years with Teach For America. He’s seen it in his own life. it’s what drew him to the Ed School. “Access can transform lives,” he says. “i have faced significant obstacles, but my success is a direct result of the chances i have been given.” it started his freshman year in high school, when his parents lost their home in Los Angeles and, for a year, their family, which includes five kids, floated from one relative’s house to another. “it’s one of those things that typically surprises people because the stereotype of homelessness in America tends towards the extreme,” he says. “We were a middle class family with five kids and two hardworking parents who did everything they could to hold things together. unfortunately, our situation got worse before it got better.” But the next year, his mother helped get him into a program in the city that allowed kids to enroll at high-performing public schools on conditional bases. “El Segundo High School was only 10 minutes from my house, but seemed like a different world. The opportunities at the school were eons greater than the prospects at my assigned school.” By the time he was a senior, he had moved from remedial math to AP courses, even becoming a math coach for a struggling student. College as a goal seemed, for the first time, possible. He eventually enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta and became, he says, “like a scout” for friends back home who didn’t have the same opportunity to leave but wondered what life could be beyond California.




• summEr 2011

martha steWart

your parents struggled but also played a key role in your ability to have chances.

Most important acronym in the history of education: r nCLB r ESEA 3 r idEA r other Lots of u.S. presidents have called themselves the “education president.” Who really was/is?

During elementary school I attended a churchsponsored private school that charged about $300 a month. Between my parents working multiple jobs and contributions from my grandparents, my family found a way to make the payment each month. I know how tough it was for my mom to make ends meet, but she never complained. If she had to pick up an extra shift when she worked at McDonald’s or put in overtime on her city job, she did it.
Besides your family, what motivates you?

your long-term plan is:

The moving hands on the clock. It reminds me that good or bad, nothing last forever.


To move back to Los Angeles. I’d like to dive into local politics as an advocate for education. I haven’t figured out what title I want, but my dream role will allow me to craft and influence policy that improves access to quality education for the most disadvantaged students in L.A.
you’re a big L.A. sports fanatic. if

if you could meet with President Obama and convince him to implement one education policy, what would it be?

you were starting a new team, Wilt Chamberlain or Bill russell?

I think the federal government is limited in its impact on education, but I’d encourage the president to use his influence to promote increased accountability in public education. Race to the Top is a great start.

Wilt. Better scorer and rebounder. Plus he scored 100 points in a game.

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


the appian way

homeroom Larsen Hall Classroom





igns across Harvard tout the university’s newest slogan: green is the new crimson. That is certainly the case with the Ed School’s new 80-seat Larsen Hall classroom, which is so green that it recently received something usually reserved for stellar students and impressive faculty: a worldrecognized award. The space was given the highest certification level possible — platinum — by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental design (LEEd) green building certification program, and the distinction of being the first LEEd-Ci platinum classroom in the world.


What better way to commute to a worksite than with a green machine — an electric bicycle like the battery-powered Pietzo used by Kevin Bright, an assistant program manager at the Harvard green Building Services, which served as a sustainability consultant during the renovation. Tiny occupancy control sensors on the ceiling can tell when people are in the room and adjust ventilation and temperature.



nearly all of the wood used (83 percent) comes from forests certified to be sustainable and 25 percent of the total material cost of the project includes materials made within 500 miles of Cambridge. Paints and carpet adhesives are low in harmful air pollutants called volatile organic compounds.

• summEr 2011





using energy efficient florescent bulbs and a dimming system that turns off lights when natural light is sufficient, wattage is reduced by 27 percent. (This even happens in the nearby janitor’s closet.) in addition, renewable energy certificates were purchased from a wind power company equivalent to 100 percent of the anticipated electrical use.

Since recycling is a top priority at the Ed School, the project reused or recycled as much as possible, diverting about 80 percent of the construction waste from local landfills. About 23 percent of the material value used was made of postconsumer and/or preconsumer recycled content.


Jason Carlson, director of operations, and the school’s green Team, were the driving force behind the renovations, which included another classroom on the second floor, new low-flow restrooms, upgraded mechaniWatch a video cal and electrical interview with systems, and filtered the green team. water fountains.
Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


tanit sakakini

the appian way

lessonplan nonie Lesaux
We asked our Facebook fans to tell us what one question they would ask an Ed School faculty member if given the opportunity. The one we chose for this issue was from Maria Marimar.

Our vision for young people and their futures has been too narrow. That’s one of the conclusions found in the newly released Pathways to Prosperity Project report, Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century, which asserts that there should be many more

Maria Marimar How is Obama’s education policy
working for English language learners?

Associate Professor nonie Lesaux The Obama
administration has certainly been focused on education reform, but i don’t know of a policy that focuses explicitly on English language (EL) learners. While federal education legislation during the last administration focused on the important goal of improving young children’s foundational reading skills, these skills alone will not inoculate children against later academic difficulties. This is particularly the case for EL learners, who typically master decoding and build reading fluency during the primary grades when basic stories are used, but who are more likely to struggle as the language of middle and high school text becomes more complex and more discipline specific. There are several policies (proposed, underway, or in place) by the Obama administration that broaden the focus on reading and academic development, increasing attention to knowledge building and language growth, from early childhood through adolescence — and those expansive policies may be especially beneficial for EL learners. For example, the blueprint for the next iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (current version is the no Child Left Behind Act, 2002) proposes more accountability-based emphasis on assessment and instruction that support content learning and higher-order skills. in addition, the Common Core Standards include significant attention to language development for the overall school population, with a section focused exclusively on standards for EL learners. Another Obama effort, The Striving readers Comprehensive Literacy grants program, assists states in creating or maintaining a comprehensive literacy plan for children birth through grade 12; creating quality learning environments across the age span has the potential to promote academic outcomes for all children, including EL learners. Finally, there is the proposed drEAM Act, and the White House’s initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, both of which relate to a large proportion of EL learners in today’s classrooms. Analyzing how federal education policies may impact particular groups of students is an important task. Thanks for raising this question about the large and growing EL population. Want to see your question answered in a future issue of the magazine? Visit the Ed School on Facebook and become part of the conversation: www.facebook.com/HarvardEducation.

options beyond just the four-year college. Smart thinking. in January, Professor Kurt Fischer was given an honorary professorship at East China normal university in Shanghai, the largest school for training teachers in China. Fischer helped launch a new Mind, Brain, and Education Program at the university. We Make the road by Walking. This was the theme of the school’s annual Alumni of Color Conference, held in March, which included keynote speaker Patrica Hill Collins, M.A.T.’70. The national Academy Foundation recently added Professor Robert Schwartz to their board of directors. Since the late 1980s, the new york– based foundation has been partnering business leaders and educators. Professor Hiro Yoshikawa was recently named academic dean, starting this fall. A developmental and community psychologist, he joined the Ed School in 2006. Lecturer Rick Weissbourd, Ed.d.’87, was named director of the Ed School’s Human development and Psychology Program. Weissbourd replaces Lecturer Terrence Tivnan.
link to reports and related stories.



• summEr 2011

onmybookshelf Assistant Professor natasha Kumar Warikoo, Ed.M.’97
currently reading: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin. It’s a collection of interconnected short stories that move between New York and rural and urban Pakistan. first impressions: Fantastic. It’s an unconventional view on domestic life in Pakistan in a landowning family. last great read: A book that I loved that comes to mind right now, as we’re snowed in, is Orhan Pamuk’s Snow. The book is about politics and religion in Turkey, and takes place in a snowcovered village. The writing is very
evocative, and the images of trudging through snow stayed with me.

favorite spot to curl up with a good book: Most commonly, in bed! Ideally, [I would be] on a warm beach under an umbrella, with a full day and no schedule ahead of me. But that hasn’t happened in a while. noneducation genre of choice: South Asian fiction. Also, my version of the trashy novel is what seems to be a new genre of “pop social science” — Freakonomics, Nurture Shock, and Malcolm Gladwell’s books. They simplify social

science research into juicy tidbits of knowledge that are often counterintuitive. I like seeing how social science gets translated into information that nonacademics find interesting.

reading ritual: Because I read a lot when traveling, I often end up using tickets as bookmarks. I like to keep the bookmark in the book after finishing. When I come back to a book, often the ticket reminds me of where link to an edcast I was at the time and and story about how that shaped my Warikoo’s new book. reaction to the book.
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jill anderson


the appian way

Your Successful Preschooler
By ann densmore and margaret Bauman

Immigrants Raising Citizens: Undocumented Parents and Their Young Children’s Development
By hirokazu yoshikawa


nyone who has spent time with young children can tell you that not every child is naturally social. Some are simply more engaged with their friends than oth-

ers. Fortunately, the latest research shows that children can be taught — at very young ages — the skills they need to be both academically and socially successful. in Your Successful Preschooler, Ann densmore, Ed.M.’91, and Margaret Bauman identify and examine 10 important traits that successful children share as well as specific strategies for parents and teachers to help further the development of these traits. After years of studying and working with children, densmore and Bauman concluded that the most successful preschoolers demonstrate 10 qualities that allow them to socialize well with their peers and maintain healthy friendships: likability, achievement, happiness, strong moral character, resiliency, flexibility, organization, leadership, social engagement, and passion about learning. While most children eventually achieve competency in each of these areas, those with learning or developmental issues often have more difficulty acquiring these skills. Through parental perseverance and positive intervention during the early period of rapid brain development, the likelihood of future social and academic success increases tremendously. in a culture that continually emphasizes academic achievement alone, this book refocuses our attention on the value of games and social interaction in the preschool years. The authors show how facilitated play can improve a child’s emotional connection with peers, and suggest various approaches parents and educators can take to promote language growth during play. The strategies outlined are based on densmore’s theory of narrative play, which incorporates speech therapy with peer relationships in natural settings. This play-based approach to learning and social development is as effective as it is fun. “Many parents who have followed this program have told us that they were able to see their child in a totally different light and were able to deepen their own relationships with them,” densmore writes. “They were thrilled to experience their child’s joy in forming friendships that can last a lifetime.”


oughly 4 million children born in the united States are being raised by undocumented immigrant parents. Policymakers often consider these immigrants to be an

economic or labor market problem to be solved, but few take into account the human side of the issue. For example, these parents are struggling to raise their children in the midst of financial difficulties and stressful work environments. The constant threat of discovery and deportation limits their social contacts and participation in public programs that could benefit their children’s health, social interactions, and academic life. in Immigrants Raising Citizens, Ed School Professor Hirokazu yoshikawa offers a compelling argument that the harsh experiences of these immigrant parents may have lifelong consequences for their children. rather than focus on undocumented immigrants as lawbreakers or victims, yoshikawa chooses to study their role as the primary caretakers of citizens whose adult productivity — critical to our nation’s future — largely depends on their childhood experiences. The book presents findings based on data from a three-year study of 380 infants from Mexican, dominican, Chinese, and African American families, which includes comprehensive interviews, inhome child assessments, and parent surveys. yoshikawa discovered that, in an effort to remain anonymous, undocumented parents regularly avoid interactions with civic officials who could offer resources to their children such as childcare or food subsidies. For the same reason, they often have fewer social ties, and many experience significantly more exploitive work conditions. As a result, long hours, low pay, and miniscule job benefits can result in constant stress, heightened risk of disease, and less energy to cognitively engage their children at home. These children subsequently lack in early skill development, which can negatively affect their school performance and future job prospects. With the future contributions of these young citizens at stake, Immigrants Raising Citizens is a timely study with far-reaching implications for immigration policy, labor law enforcement, and the organization of family-oriented public programming.
listen to edcasts with Yoshikawa, minow, and others.



• summEr 2011

A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools Soo Hong, Ed.D.’09; 2011 Customized Schooling: Beyond Whole School Reform Frederick Hess, Ed.M.’90, and Bruno Manno; 2011 Cutting Through the Hype: The Essential Guide to School Reform Jane David, Ed.D.’74, and Larry Cuban; 2010 Education for a Multicultural Society Ed.D. Candidates Kolajo Paul Afolabi, Ed.M.’10; Candice Bocala; Raygine DiAquoi, Ed.M.’11; Julia Hayden, Ed.M.’07; Irene Liefshitz, Ed.M.’09; and Soojin Susan Oh, Ed.M.’10; 2011 Education Reform: Ambitious Change in the Nation’s Most Complex School System Jennifer O’Day, Ed.M.’73, Catherine Bitter, and Louis Gomez; 2011 Equal Opportunity in Higher Education: The Past and Future of California’s Proposition 209 Eric Grodsky and Michal Kurlaender, Ed.M.’97, Ed.D.’05; 2010 Spotlight on Technology in Education Nancy Walser, Ed.M.’10; 2011 Teaching Talent: A Visionary Framework for Human Capital in Education Rachel Curtis, Ed.M.’94, and Judy Wurtzel; 2010

In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Educational Landmark
By martha minow


early six decades after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education court case established racial equality as a core commitment of American schools, the deci-

sion still shapes the way we think about the concept of equal opportunity in many diverse arenas. in her most recent book, In Brown’s Wake, Martha Minow, Ed.M.’76, dean of Harvard Law School, examines the ways in which Brown’s legacy continues to affect equality issues in public and in school choice programs, and argues that the terms placed on such initiatives have real repercussions for both the character of American education and civil society itself. in addition to supporting racial equality in schools, Brown gave rise to numerous social movements seeking educational equality for students across all lines of difference, including gender and sexual orientation, religion, language, physical handicaps, immigration status, and socioeconomic level. However, the debate among parents, schools, and policymakers as to whether the ruling calls for all-inclusive classrooms is still very much alive, Minow writes, with schools across the nation appearing more segregated than ever. While school choice has emerged in some districts as a strategy for racial mixing, self-separation by language, gender, ethnicity, and disability is becoming more prevalent in magnet and pilot schools, charter schools, and many private schools. in exploring these issues, the author engages deeply in public policy debates over separate versus mixed education, legislative interpretation, and social integration. Minow highlights Brown’s strength as a beacon in the struggle for educational equality for every type of student, not just in the united States, but also abroad. She ultimately traces the work of equality advocates in schools throughout northern ireland, South Africa, and Eastern Europe, investigating the various ways in which the case has become an inspiration for many agents of change. While Minow recognizes the difficulty and complexity of achieving social integration, she urges renewed commitment to the cause as the ripples in Brown’s wake continue to spread. — Briefs written by Mateo Corby

20UNDER40: Re-Inventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century Ed.D. Candidate Edward Clapp, Ed.M.’07; 2010 Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City Assistant Professor Natasha Kumar Warikoo, Ed.M.’97; 2011 Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning Renee Hobbs, Ed.D.’85; 2010 Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendship and the Crisis of Connections Niobe Way, Ed.D.’94; 2011 Differentiated Assessment: How to Assess the Learning Potential of Every Student 6–12 Evangeline Harris Stefanakis, C.A.S.’91, Ed.D.’95; 2010 The Handbook of Reflection and Reflective Inquiry: Mapping a Way of Knowing for Professional Reflective Inquiry Nona Lyons, Ed.D.’82; 2010 Life Sustaining Organizations — A Design Guide Michael Sales, Ed.D.’84, and Anika Savage; 2011 Prioritizing Urban Children, Teachers, and Schools Through Professional Development Schools Ronald Glass, Ed.M.’72, and Pia Lindquist Wong; 2009 The Shaping of Thought: ThinkLinks and Metacognition. A Teacher’s Guide to Thinking in Response to Literature Frank Lyman Jr., Ed.M.’60, Charlene Lopez, and Arlene Mindus; 2011 Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors: Fighting for the Soul of America’s Toughest High School Alexander Russo, Ed.M.’91; 2011 Through Veterans’ Eyes: The Iraq and Afghanistan Experience Larry Minear, M.A.T.’63; 2010 The Tin Ticket: The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women Deborah Swiss, Ed.M.’75, Ed.D.’82; 2010 Urban School Leadership Professor Thomas Payzant, M.A.T.’63, C.A.S.’66, Ed.D.’68; 2010 Whole Child Education John Miller, M.A.T.’67; 2010

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education




• summEr 2011

gaBy jalBert/istockphoto.com



BY laura PaPPano

Schools close for many reasons: tight budgets, dismal performance, underenrollment, and failing buildings. We often ask why and when, but rarely ever how.


n mid-November, just as Justin Vernon, Ed.M.’06, was settling into the academic year and his first solo principalship at the Farragut Elementary School in Boston, he received a phone call at home. His supervisor was giving him a heads up: At a principal’s professional development meeting scheduled for the next day, he should know that even though the Farragut hadn’t been on any lists — well, Vernon might learn that closing was a possibility. Sure enough, at the meeting he was told that his school was among 10 Superintendent Carol Johnson was recommending be shut down (six others would be merged with other schools). In stunningly short order, Vernon’s school year changed. And while his oft-stated goal that the Farragut make adequate yearly progress has not shifted in the months since, so much else has. For Vernon, an Ohio-bred educator who favors suits, bow ties, and the vocabulary of ed reform, the closure has changed the content and timbre of his work. Even as he guides his instructional leadership team to give kids more practice analyzing data — stuff he relishes — he tries to get ahead of feelings of uncertainty among staff, students, and parents. Speaking in his high-ceilinged office with rickety and mismatched BPS-issue furniture and nibbling on prepackaged Granny Smith apple slices, he says plainly that closing was not something he imagined or trained for. “This,” he says, “has been a learning process for me.” How does a principal lead in this setting? Do you fight? Relent? What happens to the kids? The families? The teachers? The quilt hanging in the office showing the handprints of an entire fifth-grade graduating class? Where does that go? Eager to drive instructional fixes, how do you alter the timeline when there is no next year? Bite off less? Or more?

While districts have developed their own guidelines for when to close a school, Bryan Hassel, cofounder of Public Impact, an education consulting firm in Chapel Hill, N.C., says there has been less thought given to how closings should unfold. “Some districts have gotten very good at that analytical process,” he says. “But we are much lousier at engaging parents and the community and much lousier at … what we do for the students.” This has school and district leaders facing a task that is more emotionally charged than it appears. When Margery Yeager, special assistant for transformation management for the D.C. public schools, attended her first school closing meeting in 2008 — she’s now helped close 28 schools — the meeting was so contentious that, she recalls, “I honestly thought at the time, ‘I don’t know how we will make this happen because there is just such vocal opposition.’”

Emotional ups and downs
For Vernon, the Farragut’s inclusion on the closure list drew an immediate and emotional response that was suddenly a powerful force in his school. He broke the news in an adrenaline-charged staff meeting that one teacher said felt like a movie scene as they decided to band together and fight the decision. Suddenly, teachers were making signs, planning rallies, and speaking at school committee meetings. Vernon, along with teachers and parents, feverishly drafted a proposal for making the Farragut into an in-district charter school–like “innovation school.” The effort failed, and by mid-December the school committee voted to close the school. While there was a spirit of camaraderie, fourth-grade teacher Margery Mendenhall is not sure the fatigue and stirred-up feelings of anger were worth it. “If I had to do it all over again, I would try to close my ears and focus on my classroom and my children,” she says, adding that there is a big transition ahead for students. “I’m concerned about behavior problems — about a new school, new teachers, new friends, new commute. Parents are anxious about logistics.” Vernon has tried to anticipate concerns. In March, as families began planning for next year, he invited principals to the Farragut so parents could meet them. He organized field trips to visit schools. Still, aware that state standards tests were coming up, Vernon guided an effort to raise attendance, which had slipped to 89 percent. Thanks to a class versus class pizza party competition, it rose to 93 percent. In leading his staff, Vernon reflects more than usual and reads Ronald Heifetz, author of many leadership books, including Leadership Without Easy Answers. He feels himself

Better at When Than How
As school districts around the country grapple with turnaround strategies and fiscal realities, school closure (and consolidation) has become a popular option in districts from Baltimore to Detroit, from Boston to Denver, even in rural places like Maine and North Dakota. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1,515 elementary and seconary schools were closed during the 2008–09 school year, while just 149 were closed in 2007–08 and 242 in 2005–06. Districts, of course, shut schools for different reasons. In Baltimore City, closure is for poor performance, not cost-cutting; Washington, D.C., has closed schools to save money and better use district resources given that they have 150,000 seats and only 46,000 students filling them. School closure, in other words, has become an answer to falling enrollments, poor performance, and safety issues — or a combination thereof. 22

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nick findley

the place where their kid shows up every day. They think about the marching band.” While Cohen says closure is a key reform tool (“carrots alone will not get you there”), because of the divergent ways in which educators and families views schools, he says that how leaders engage the community matters — a lot. Professor Thomas Payzant, M.A.T.’63, C.A.S.’66, Ed.D.’68, former superintendent of Boston Public Schools from 1995 to 2006 and author of Urban School Leadership, learned this the hard way. Near the beginning of his tenure, Payzant says he decided to close the Wheatley Middle School in Roxbury because enrollments were sagging and the Dearborn Middle School was nearby. “I thought my logic was impeccable,” says Payzant. “Why have two middle schools so close together when the number choosing the Wheatley was fairly low?” The plan however, was met with outrage and looked, he recalls, like the new white superintendent closing a school in the heart of a community of color as his first big move. “I realized it was a mistake, and I had to admit that and back off,” he says.

don’t ‘Sneak up on the Community’
Payzant says the experience taught him “not to sneak up on the community.” And yet, says Lecturer Karen Mapp, Ed.M.’93, Ed.D.’99, director of the Education Policy and Management Program, this is precisely what districts continue to do. “We tend to make these decisions behind closed doors and deliver the information and then wonder why people are angry and upset,” she says. Too many leaders “have a deficit model” in which they “make the assumption that the community has nothing to offer the school improvement process,” she says. Engaging the community is one of those things in which it matters how it’s done. While some districts consider angry shouting meetings part of the school closure process that must be endured, Mapp says genuine community involvement can actually be useful. In the Baltimore City Public Schools, where under CEO Andres Alonso, Ed.M.’99, Ed.D.’06, the district closed 26 schools between 2008 and 2010 (one more is closing this year), leaders are relentlessly inclusive. “In Baltimore, there is a very clear sense that a school is an ongoing act of community imagination about what we want for our kids,” says Michael Sarbanes, director of the district’s Office of Community Engagement. “If you look at a school as a place where experts do expert intervention around education, when that is failing, what you do is kick out all the people who are supposed to be doing it. But there is not a community dimension to that model.” By seeking community input — not when a school is already recommended for closure by Alonso (to then be voted
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treading new ground, seeking academic gains (keep up the emphasis on writing!) while acknowledging emotions. “I have found myself speaking to my staff in a different way than I ever had before,” he says. He has vowed to help them find positions and in March was looking over resumes, conducting mock interviews, and networking with other principals. “I don’t know what the effects are of me saying, ‘I know this hurts’ or ‘I know this is difficult,’” he says. “But I think it’s important to do and to try. To say that we are in this together and we are having these emotions, maybe in some way just articulating it helps.”

Why Closing is So darned Hard
To read the text of the U.S. Department of Education School Improvement Grant program with its four turnaround models, closing a school sounds easy. You shut it and move kids to a better one. The problem is that schools are not simply places where kids earn (or don’t earn) passing test scores. They are not even places where neat instructional practices unfold to deliver content knowledge and skills to students in inquiry-based curriculum. Well, they are, but not to students and families, says Justin Cohen, president of the School Turnaround Group at Mass Insight. “As an educator I think about instruction, policies, and processes driving instruction,” he says. “Parents think about


on by the school committee), but in the stage before, as leaders think through which schools to recommend to Alonso — in Baltimore, community ideas are more than decorative. As the result of such meetings, Sarbanes says the district was persuaded to give one struggling school another chance and to let a final senior class finish up, even as other grades were curtailed. Call it a “collaborative offensive,” but Sarbanes argues that “you can take more radical steps by engaging the community.” When school closures are embedded in a strategy to create better school choices for children, it feels like less of an attack. This is not to say that there aren’t angry shouting meetings in Baltimore — there are. “There is good anger in those angry conversations,” says Sarbanes. “But there is the widespread sense that the school system is trying to do the right things for kids. You can sort of be angry within the family.”

Honoring the History
It is not surprising that a school closure can make a community feel singled out and disrespected. What can leaders do to lessen tensions? In Baltimore, Sarbanes says district leaders must publicly take some responsibility for failed interventions or more that might have been done. And community discussions, he says, must acknowledge that even in troubled schools, good things are happening and there are gifted teachers. “You have to honor that,” he says. “You want to recognize that people in this school are trying really hard and doing their best. Then you say, ‘Let’s look at the data.’” In other words, schools being closed cannot be painted with a scarlet F. In fact, Sarbanes says the district created a policy last year aimed at recycling the names of closed schools. When new schools are opened, he says, they look at the list of closed schools to see if the name may be resurrected. These are details that school leaders say allow more latitude for reform. On the other side of the country, keeping a school name was not a question: It was essential to closing Sacramento High School (“Sac High”) in 2003 and reopening it as a charter school with four academies. “It was the second oldest high school west of the Mississippi and you have so many graduates and alumni who have a really strong connection to the institution,” says P.K.

Will the Kids Be All right?
When communities are outside the closure conversation, Mapp says it feels as if “reform is done to them, not with them.” That was what Ben Kirshner, assistant professor at the school of education at the University of Colorado– Boulder, found when he tracked the effect of an urban high school closing on its 550 displaced students. “There was a policy narrative — there are too many seats, budget problems, it’s a chronically bad school, so we are saving these kids by closing it,” says Kirshner. Yet, he says, students did not view the school — with a deep history in the African American community — as a horrible place. He says closure was “interpreted as an attack or something done against their will that was harmful to them.” Kirshner’s study, published last September in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, showed dropout rates among displaced students rose from 7 to 15 percent; the likelihood of graduating fell from 71 to 49 percent. Study coauthor Matthew Gaertner, who produced calculations for this article that were not part of the published study, said displaced student test scores dropped 12 percent in reading, 9 percent in math, and 19 percent in writing compared with what they would have scored had the school not closed (using modeling developed from historic test data). The study also included surveys and interviews with 115 displaced students in which 25 percent reported being mistreated by youths or adults at new schools, blamed on the stigma of coming from a failed school. Forty percent described a loss of friendships; 40 percent also reported weaker relationships with adults at their new school. Only 8 percent appreciated the new school’s greater program offerings. Because the study tracked students for just one year after closure it’s possible that they may perform better and feel happier as time passes. 24

• summEr 2011


Diffenbaugh, a current student in the Ed.L.D. Program and former principal at a Sac High charter academy. “It’s not as easy as saying, ‘Let’s close it and start fresh.’” Opposition to the closure was overcome because the incoming charter was run by St. Hope Corp., founded by former NBA star and Sac High alum Kevin Johnson. Diffenbaugh says leaders sought to show respect, keeping the school colors (purple and white), mascot (the dragon), hymn, and motto. “We really tried to tell the story as, ‘We are not getting rid of this horrible institution’ — although it was failing kids and was a huge injustice — but we tried to tell the public that, ‘We are revitalizing the school to restore its proper place in the community,’” he says. At the same time, some things had to change — and fast. “Kids had become used to a culture where they could pretty much do what they pleased,” he says. “When we got there, they had ‘Freshmen Fridays.’ Upperclassmen could dump [freshmen] in the trashcan, literally. That had become an accepted rite of passage.” When they halted it, Diffenbaugh recalls, “a lot of kids — and even parents — were pushing back.” When changing such troubling habits raises objections, it’s clear why it took several years to end open campus at lunch, require uniforms, have teachers greet each student with a handshake, make home visits routine, and place administrators beyond the school’s gates so students could safely walk to catch city buses. “Changing the culture of a school is probably the most difficult thing to do,” Diffenbaugh says. “You tell a story; the narrative has to be about restoring the school to prominence, yet your program has to be fundamentally different.”

How does a principal lead in this setting? Do you fight? Relent? What happens to the kids? The families? The teachers? The quilt hanging in the office showing the handprints of an entire fifthgrade graduating class? Where does that go?
her community feel heard and allowed the transition to move forward. Later, they organized a barbecue to bring together families from Montgomery and Walker Jones, which included an assistant principal from each school. Closing a school in any city demands keeping community members in the loop, if only to admit what you don’t know, says Yeager. She learned that lesson after arriving at one school closing meeting at which the community had no idea their school was being shut down at the end of the year, she says. “We had had done such a bad job of communication.” To prevent information voids, Yeager now forms a “transition team” at each school facing closuring or consolidation, drawing together principals, parents, community members, teachers, and students. She urges them to work through how events should unfold and how to communicate. She also encourages connections, as when students at two consolidating schools decided to meet before school opened. “Student government reps met at a McDonald’s and talked to other student reps about what the issues are. Kids at all levels are anxious about the transition.” Yes, on data sheets, schools are tracked on performance, enrollment, and judged against budget savings targets. But in living experience, they represent webs of relationships. Closing — no way around it — is a major disruption. One recent morning, four fourth graders who gathered in Vernon’s office snacked on leftovers from the celebratory student-of-the-month breakfast and shared conflicted feelings about the Farragut’s closure. Jasmani was excited about maybe taking a bus for the first time, but sad not to graduate from the same elementary school as his brother. Illannysh said it “might be a good opportunity.” Abigail was “kind of sad and kind of happy.” Nasir, a gentle-seeming boy with a deliberate way of speaking, may have captured it best. “I think this is a lot about the goodbyes,” he said, pausing to articulate his worry. “I’m kind of a hard friend-maker.” — Laura Pappano is freelance writer and author of Inside School Turnarounds. Ed.
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Lessening disruption
School closings are clearly about more than implementing policy, which is why so-called “angry shouting meetings” have come to feel like part of the process. Yet it’s important to realize that this is not just venting. “There are questions buried under that anger,” observes Yeager. Difficult as it may seem, she says, leaders must engage students, parents, teachers — and listen. Last year, for example, when the Scott Montgomery Elementary School in Washington, D.C., was consolidated into the Walker Jones Educational Complex, parents objected loudly. A key problem? The new school wasn’t far away, but required children to cross New York Avenue, a major artery. “It’s like a highway,” says Melissa Martin, Ed.M.’03, principal at the Montgomery and now principal at Walker Jones. The district promised crossing guards, but it didn’t satisfy worried parents. Finally, the district agreed to a bus from the old school to the new one. That concession, says Martin, let




• summEr 2011

quiz KiDS
BY lorY hough illuStrationS BY lYnn roWe reed
The toss-up round has just ended. Billy Costa, the show’s quizmaster and a well-known radio and television personality in Boston, looks at the eight high school students standing behind two podiums and throws up his arms. “How did you know all of that?” he says. Then turning to the audience he hams it up even more. “I’ve never felt more insignificant!” The parents, grandparents, siblings, classmates, teachers, and vice principals who make up the audience laugh along, knowing, of course, that Costa is only half joking. These students are brainy — brainy enough and quick enough on the buzzer to have made it to the qualifying round of High School Quiz Show, a weekly academic quiz competition produced by Boston’s PBS station, WGBH. Now in its second season, the Jeopardy-like show has become an instant hit. “People are hungry for this,” says producer Hillary Wells, noting that when they initially put out feelers last year to see if public schools in Eastern Massachusetts would be interested in such a competition, more than 70 signed on in just two days. With unscripted dialogue that includes words like “recursion” and “mycorrhizae,” and real students who don’t look like they just walked off the set of Gossip Girl, these kinds of competitions don’t sound like something people hunger for. But several decades after the first matchup pitted one school against another, academic quiz competitions for high school students are still as popular as ever.


that’s entertainment
ow did this happen? One reason for the continuing popularity may be their genesis in the entertainment world. Vox Pop, which started in 1932 and ran on KTRH radio in Houston, is widely considered to be the first quiz-type show in the country. According to On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio, advertising salesmen for the station would approach people on the street with their portable microphones and ask questions, offering token prizes for correct answers. Listeners loved the show, and, within a couple of years, Professor Quiz premiered on CBS radio, adding a cash prize to the mix — $25 for stumping “Professor Quiz” with a question. Later that decade, shows like Pot O’Gold; Information, Please; and Doctor IQ were also running. Eventually, colleges got into the act with the 1953 radio debut of College Bowl, often referred to as the “varsity sport of the mind.” In 1959, College Bowl moved to national television and became the model for many high school competitions that followed. When exactly the first high school match did follow is unclear, but according to Guinness World Records, the first televised competition aired on October 7, 1961, with a show that is still running — It’s Academic! Extremely popular in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas, the show has won eight Emmys and includes alumni such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Senator Charles Schumer, and writer Michael Chabon. Actress Sandra Bullock came to one taping as part of her high school’s cheerleading squad. Across the country, other televised and nontelevised quiz competitions for teens have proven just as popular, not only with the students involved, but also for entire communities. Some sponsors even give major financial support for decades. Wells says one of those popular shows, As Schools Match Wits, was actually the catalyst behind WGBH’s decision to invest in a new program last year. For more than four decades, As Schools Match Wits brought together schools from the western half of Massachusetts, as well as parts of Connecticut. The show was so beloved in the area that when the local television station that produced it decided to pull the plug in 2006, petitions were circulated and newspapers covered every angle of the story. Eventually, Westfield State College teamed up with the local PBS station to resurrect the show. That passionate level of interest piqued the attention of WGBH executives, Wells says. High School Quiz Show was born. Now the two competitions meet at the end of their seasons for a statewide face-off. Of course, not all academic competitions at the high school level are televised. Most, in fact, are held in school cafeterias or auditoriums, without cameras or cheering audiences or Sandra Bullock–like cheerleaders. They can be simple, intramural events designed for students at one school (or even students against teachers), or more orgaEd.

nized (and more competitive) interscholastic matches with students traveling from school to school, usually based on geographic location or athletic conference. The folks who start and organize competitions run the gamut: television stations (often PBS-affiliated), individual schools, state associations, for-profits started by former players, and volunteers who want to encourage a love of learning. Names — many favoring the word “bowl” — include Quiz Bowl, Brainstormers, Scholastic Bowl, Brain Games, Knowledge Bowl, MasterMinds, Scholar Quiz Bowl, Battle of the Brains, the Granite State Challenge, Academic Decathalon, Academic League, and Academic Super Bowl. Whether the matches are televised or not, relaxed or competitive, one of the key reasons these quiz competitions remain so popular goes back to their Vox Pop roots: They’re fun. Current Harvard Gradute School of Education student Rachel Hargreaves-Heald, Ed.M.’11, saw the fun side when she worked on High School Quiz Show last season as a production assistant. “During taping, I would sometimes have to go into the studio between rounds. Every time I walked in, I was struck, though not surprised, by how much fun everyone was having,” she says. “Audience members were holding banners and signs, wearing t-shirts that supported their team, and were clearly having a blast celebrating the achievements of the students. I felt such a sense of gratitude to have been involved in a program that so clearly accomplished what it set out to.” Joanne Marshall, Ed.M.’96, Ed.D.’00, competed during her high school days in Aledo, Ill., and later coached for a few years. In addition to “ just being fun,” she says quiz competitions also help students build friendships — something that isn’t always easy to do in high school. “It provides some camaraderie for kindred spirits,” she says. “The team I coached was an odd mix of personalities who I am certain would never have come together otherwise.” Which points to one of the biggest misconception about high school quiz competitions: that they are only for the nerdy kids. (One student on New Hampshire’s Granite State Challenge even poked fun at the stereotype, wearing tape around the bridge of his heavy black glasses.) “There were about 12 people on our academic team and there was a mix: athletes, student council, a cheerleader, Future Farmers of America members, and some choir/ drama people,” says Marshall, who was in the jazz band. Mark Robertson, Ed.M.’08, played all four years at his high school in Granville, Ohio, traveling afterschool during the week for round robin–style meets with other schools and occasionally competing in regional meets and on WOSU’s In the Know. He says stereotypical labels often associated with high school didn’t really exist when he competed, either.


• summEr 2011

if you’ve never seen a high school quiz competition, think Jeopardy! but with teenagers, two teams, and without the answer being phrased as a question. Although every competition has its own format, most high school quiz competitions operate in similar manners. The schools, usually four students on each team, face off,

Format For 100

“My school was a very fluid academic and answering a series of questions asked by the “quizmaster” for points. There are social environment,” he says, adding that he usually a series of “rounds.” during early rounds, the person who buzzes in first played drums, soccer, and tennis; did public gets first shot at answering the question; wrong answers often don’t cost teams service projects; and was on the student council. points. general questions are asked during most rounds; other rounds focus on “A lot of kids did seven or eight [extracurricuspecific categories such as Philosophy 101 or Creepy Crawlies. A lightning round lars] in addition to the quiz team. They were involves rapid-fire questions posed to both teams in a short period of time — a on a sports team and played an instrument. minute or so. Sometimes, competitions include head-to-head matches between It wasn’t seen as a nerdy thing. It was just one single players from each team. Students usually answer questions individually, more thing that we did as students.” although during the category rounds, students are allowed to huddle and, as a Wells, too, says that times have changed. team, come up with one answer. The team with the most points at the end wins. During the filming of one High School Quiz Show match, students offered a range of background information on themselves — some borderline nerdy (one “It was the closest school to the Opaskwayak Cree has wanted to run an airline since he was a little kid, another Nation, where I grew up,” she says. Because the show was excels at chess), some less so (captain of the cross-country popular in that part of Canada, and because there were few team, ballet since fourth grade, a karate brown belt). channels, “everyone would watch it.” “For so long, being intellectual was associated with being When she was in the 11th grade, she worked at the local a nerd,” Wells says. “But it’s exciting to break down the IGA grocery store. She was there the night the episode with smart/athlete barriers the way that Glee has broken barriher school competing aired. ers — kids singing but also playing football. I love that we’re “One of my coworkers brought a TV to work, and the contributing to that.” store manager set it up at the front so the staff and customHowever, even with barriers broken, athletes still usually ers could watch,” she says. “I recall being teased by a few get most of the glory in high school. Quiz competitions are people the next day about a question that I had answered one way to show that doing well in school is also something incorrectly. I knew that was their way of acknowledging that to celebrate. they were proud to see me on the show. After a show, people “There are so many different ways students can excel, but would always stop my parents and grandmother to tell them not all types of achievement get the same recognition,” says they watched. I don’t recall ever seeing another aboriginal Hargreaves-Heald. “I think shows like this are important person on the show, or even on TV for that matter, in all of because they showcase an area that might otherwise get the years I watched, so I suppose it was significant for our overlooked.” community at the time.” For Rich Reddick, Ed.M.’98, Ed.D.’07, being a part of Significant, too, is how fairly open these kinds of teams the Academic Decathalon team (as well as the Certamen are to all students at most schools, at least when it comes team, which focused exclusively on Latin) earned him huge to being on a team. Joe Caulfield, the coach at Blake High praise at Albert S. Johnston High School in Austin, Texas — School in Chevy Chase, Md., says that any student who is at least with the staff. academically eligible — C average or better — can join their “Johnston was probably the lowest-performing high team. Reddick’s coach, Ms. Bishop, cherry-picked a few of school in Austin at the time. It’s since been closed because the “smartest” kids for the starting team, although it was of not making adequate yearly progress four years running,” open to anyone who wanted to join. For Robertson, quiz he says. “For a school struggling for academic success, our bowl was an afterschool club open to everyone, but, similar teachers and principal were very proud. It earned us rock to Reddick, they would “unofficially” recruit students who star status among the adults in the school although we prob- were in the top 5 percent of the class for the starting team. ably placed poorly at the district competition.” “There’s a good correlation between being good at high Having a team also said to outsiders: We’re more than just school,” Robertson says, “and being good at academic the dropouts and gangs you read about in the newspapers. teams.” He also notes that in all four years that his team “We wanted to show everyone that kids from our complayed in the school league, they never lost a match. munity were interested in learning,” he says. At matches, “I remember the surprise when we showed up.” Practice and Buzzing Alexandria Wilson, Ed.M.’95, Ed.D.’07, and her Reach t’s the first question of the High School Quiz Show match, for the Top teammates also received recognition, not only for and Roopa, a senior at Acton-Boxborough High School, themselves but also for the larger community in The Pas, jumps on the buzzer. Manitoba, about 500 miles from Winnipeg.


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“Freud,” she says in answer to who founded psychoanalysis. It’s not surprising that Roopa was the first to earn points: Not only did she spend the past two days reading an entire children’s encyclopedia (hard copy), but along with her teammates, she has spent countless hours practicing her buzzer skills. “Timing has a lot to do with it,” says Kay Steeves, one of Roopa’s coaches. This became apparent when the team scrimmaged a neighboring school. “One of the kids from the other school kept buzzing all the time. He knew he’d have a few seconds after buzzing to think about the answer. It was a strategy.” Marshall remembers the buzzer system at her high school — a homemade contraption of scrap lumber and Radio Shack parts, built by Mr. Hoffman, the physics teacher, and a few industrious students. “It was a big wooden scoreboard with boxes that lit up, literally with a light bulb, when one of us pushed a hand-held buzzer,” she says. “Eventually the parents and school chipped in and bought us a real buzzer system.” Nowadays, having a real buzzer system is essential, say most players and coaches. “Any team that wants to be competitive in these kinds of contests has to have buzzers with which to practice,” says Caulfield. “Speed is essential, and response times among players probably only vary by hundredths of a second.” That is why one team of students competing on High School Quiz Show last year stopped using click pens during practice sessions — it was too hard to tell who clicked first — and upgraded to a computer program and handheld clickers. 30

As Quincy High School student Michaela told The Patriot Ledger about the switch, “It’s said you could know everything you need to know about a subject, but if you can’t get the timing of the buzzers right, your team’s doomed.” From the organizers’ standpoint, the importance of the buzzer can lead to heated discussion about buzzing rules. “How many seconds do you allow them before they can buzz in?” says Wells, noting one of the technical nuances they scrutinized during initial planning sessions. “Do you let them interrupt when a question is being read or lock them out, as they do on Jeopardy? And do you vary depending on the type of question?” Most high school competitions allow students to buzz in as soon as they know, or think they know, an answer. Jeopardy! makes players wait until the question has fully been asked. Robertson says, with all of the competitions he was involved with, you could buzz in at any time, which made it more fair. “It did promote quick recall more than buzzer speed,” he says, referring to the ability to summon facts from memory. So if the abilities to buzz in quickly and summon facts instantaneously are key skills to doing well in quiz competitions, do quiz kids even need to read entire encyclopedia sets or study before matches? Caulfield from Blake High School says absolutely — both practice and study are essential, “even for these smart kids.” For Marshall, practice meant three times a week before school, plus flipping through trivia books at home or reading to one another on long car rides to matches. But, she admits, the questions were often about things they had been learning in school.

• summEr 2011

CHilDren & teenagerS
you don’t have to be of voting age to be famous. identify the following well-known children and teenagers, real and fictional (answers on the bottom of the page):

1. A boy king of Egypt, his tomb was found in 1922. 2. She was the first English child born in America. 3. This dickens orphan asked for “some more” gruel. 4. in Amsterdam, during World War ii, this Jewish girl kept a diary. 5. At age 16, he wrote music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 6. As a boy in ancient Macedon, he tamed the horse Bucephalus. 7. He was just a teenager in 2002 when he published Eragon. 8. This Biblical hero was just a youth when he killed goliath.
Source: it’s Academic!, Washington, D.C.

years after it began. “We’ve rarely found that it works against them. They feel excited to be a part of this.”


t’s the end of round three at High School Quiz Show, the category round. While Ron, the stage manager, keeps the audience’s energy up by blaring music and getting a vice principal to make up his own rap about the competition, the two coaches for Acton-Boxborough are backstage with the show’s staff, challenging an answer given by a student on the Natick team. This is to be expected, says Wells. “You’re going to get challenges. “There’s no way around it,” she says. “Our writer is at each taping and has a list of alternate possible answers and all of her sources.” The questions are a big deal. Most high school competitions base questions on what’s being learned in school. Wells says their questions get sent to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education before being used. “Their curriculum experts review them to make sure we’re not completely out of standards,” she says. “The questions are the show. There can’t be another answer.” It’s Academic! turns to D.C.-based experts when needed. “We pride ourselves on being right. We go to extraordinary lengths to see that our questions are not only right, but also not misleading,” says Lechner. “If one is, we won’t use it. We go through a long period with each question with experts,” especially in math and science. She says they are especially lucky being able to tap national figures at iconic institutions like the Smithsonian and the National Archives. “This, for us, is an extraordinary resource.” Although general knowledge questions that students learn in school form the foundation for most competitions, some, particularly those that are televised, also add sports, pop culture, and current event questions — something bemoaned on various nontelevised quiz tournament blogs, where coaches, players, and former players vigorously debate topics like moderating etiquette (“Do not prompt answers!”) and the best books to use as study guides. But for Robertson, the “lighter” questions added another dimension to the game. “Participants tended to know the answers to them, so that made for some fun buzzer races,” he says. Besides, he adds, “It was rarely the case that these questions take an would determine the outcome of the game online quiz. since there were so few of them.” Ed.

“Math problems, American authors, and history,” she says and then recites a question she remembers being asked: “What poem begins, ‘Whose woods these are I think I know . . .’?” Reddick, who would later compete on Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Win Ben Stein’s Money, and Who Wants to be Millionaire?, sometimes played the Trivial Pursuit board game with his teammates but didn’t like practicing this way. “People would accuse me of reading the cards and memorizing the answers,” he says. “Seriously.” They also took practice tests and were exposed to what many consider the “holy grail of trivia” — E.D. Hirsch’s The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. “I always joked that you could give the book to an alien from outer space, and if he/she memorized it, he/she could fit in Western society fairly well,” Reddick says. Robertson found that competing during the week against other schools was a great way to practice. It also helped prevent stage fright. “Repetition is built in, which helps,” he says. “The set of questions asked, they’re not completely off the map and are rarely things you’ve never heard of. It’s quick recall, so if you practice enough, you tend to feel comfortable.” Although Beth Cooper Benjamin, Ed.M.’02, Ed.D.’06, had appeared in nearly every school play at her small school in Rochester, N.Y., and had one professional role as a fifth-grader on a local show, “I was definitely nervous about appearing on TV.” The nervousness, however, didn’t seem to affect her performance, as her coach, Mr. Cowett, noted the following year in his college recommendation for her: “Beth has the largest store of worthless information I have ever seen in a human being.” Surprisingly, with televised competitions, the excitement that builds can actually help nervous students. “That extra adrenaline — the bands and the cheering audience — works to their benefit,” says Susan Lechner, who joined It’s Academic! as senior editor only a couple of

1. Tut (Tutankhamun) 2. Virginia Dare 3. Oliver Twist 4. Anne Frank 5. Felix Mendelssohn 6. Alexander “The Great” 7. Christopher Paolini 8. David

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


all photos: istockphoto.com

By mary tamer

as the national School lunch Program changes gears to address staggering rates of obesity in addition to hunger, how easy will it be to wean today’s kids off of the salty, fatty foods they’ve learned to love?

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


n August 2010, Newsweek reported that one in every four children in the United States lives in a home that “sometimes runs out of food,” a disturbing consequence of rising unemployment and the country’s economic downturn. Even in this land of plenty, “food insecurity” — a lack of access to quality, nutritious food — plagued more than 50 million Americans in 2009, the highest reported figure since the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) began tracking such numbers in 1995. As health and medical writer Claudia Kalb points out, Americans rarely starve to death, but hunger — like quality food — always comes at a price. An experienced teacher like Corinne Varon-Green, C.A.S.’95, Ed.D.’04, from the Amigos School in Cambridge, Mass., knows it when she sees it. Hungry kids can’t focus. They’re grumpy and irritable. Stomachs and heads ache. On a more profound level, underfed children under the age of five face irreparable damage to their cognitive development, and older children don’t fare much better. Brains and bodies simply can’t grow as they should without the essential micronutrients such as iodine, vitamin A, and iron typically found in foods outside your grocer’s freezer section, assuming one has easy access to a grocery store. “We’ve had a couple of occasions when a child says, ‘I have a horrible stomachache,’ and we find out they haven’t had anything to eat,” says Varon-Green. “Kids who don’t eat breakfast will have a stomachache by 10 a.m. and they can’t function. I also see kids high on sugar, and they can’t concentrate either. They’re jumpy and not attentive.” Paradoxically, some of these children are also bigger than they’ve ever been before. “We are seeing obesity in children, diabetes in children; things we used to only see in adults. These are chronic diseases they will have for the rest of their lives,” says Juliana Cohen, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health who focuses on nutrition. “We also see, despite poverty levels and sometimes barely being able to afford food, these obese but malnourished populations. We are bombarded by junk food everywhere we go, and while you can go to a fast food establishment and get all the food you need, your body is not getting what it really needs.” The United States may indeed lag behind Asian and European nations on math, reading, and science scores, yet Americans remain at the top of the international heap when it comes to weight and body mass index, a measurement of body fat. According to Jean Daniel, public affairs director for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, more than 60 percent of adults are considered overweight or obese, as are one in three American children. “We are leading the world in a way that we don’t want to lead the world,” says Daniel. “The overweight and 34

obesity rates of children have tripled over the past 20 years. It is an epidemic.” It is for all these reasons and more that President Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on December 13, 2010, a law that will not only change the nutritional guidelines of the 65-year-old National School Lunch Program, but will also provide the program’s first noninflationary budget increase in more than three decades; a total of $4.5 billion over 10 years, which includes an additional 6 cents per meal, per child. So what’s not to like? In all, 157 members of Congress voted against the new measure, citing everything from excessive spending to unnecessary government interference in the lives of American families. And, in a time of increasing costs and decreasing revenues, some district leaders and food advocates worry whether 6 cents will allow schools to serve healthier fare, when the current federal reimbursement of $2.72 per free meal already has many school programs running in the red. Perhaps most important, some experts question whether today’s kids — raised in a world filled with Happy Meals and Ho Hos — will actually embrace more fruit, vegetables, and farro, as promoted by the new legislation. What happens if nutritionally challenged kids don’t eat better food, especially if parents won’t make them? “We need to recognize that this is a very complex problem and it will need a variety of solutions,” says Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “Having worked in school nutrition policy for the last 10 years, it is not an easy fix to just put healthy food out there. Often, when schools put the healthy choices out there, the kids aren’t taking it. They need to put out a product that the children will eat.”

a history of hunger
As teachers and educational leaders will tell you, the National School Lunch Program and the newer School Breakfast Program, introduced in 1966, may provide the only nutrition some school children receive each day. Families living at or below 130 percent of poverty level — or $28,665 for a family of four — are eligible for meals at no charge, while those who live between 130 and 185 percent of the poverty level receive reduced price meals, paying no more than 40 cents per lunch. In all, more than 31 million children across the country were fed through the National School Lunch Program at a cost of $9.8 billion in fiscal year 2009. For David Kauffman, Ed.M.’98, Ed.D.’05, principal of the Perez Elementary School in Austin, Texas, the program is vital.

• summEr 2011

What About Breakfast?
f 101,000 schools are providing 31 million low-income children with lunch every day, why are only 11 million children getting breakfast? “There’s a disparity in the number of schools that offer breakfast, and it’s about 20,000 schools less,” says Jean daniel, public affairs director for the u.S. department of Agriculture’s Food and nutrition Service. “We have been actively promoting that schools that offer lunch should also offer breakfast, and those numbers have steadily gone up over the past decade.” But, she adds, “there are a number of hurdles still to expanding school breakfast to those who need it.” Among those hurdles are timing and transportation. For children who ride a bus to school each day, being late can compromise the chance to have a few bites of cereal or a bagel in the cafeteria. So too can an early start: if breakfast begins at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 7 a.m., some students and their parents may opt out. For the 11 million children who do take part, 9.1 million are eligible for free and reduced-price breakfast, costing $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2009. For participating schools, the federal reimbursement rates are $1.48 for free breakfast, $1.18 for reduced-price, and 26 cents for paid. “The School Breakfast Program is the most useful anti-obesity tool in the school toolbox,” says Matt Sharp, senior advocate for the California Food Policy Advocates. “We are far more focused on increasing participation in breakfast than lunch.” Another hurdle is stigma. While children on free or reduced-price lunch can often blend into a lunchroom where all students eat, the same cannot be said for kids who arrive early for breakfast. “Some students would rather not eat anything than have people know they are eligible for free and reduced-price meals,” says Juliana Cohen, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health focused on nutrition. But they need to. in School Breakfast in America’s Big Cities, a January 2011 report released by the Food research and Action Center, 16 of the 29 urban districts examined in the study “performed above the national average in reaching low-income students with breakfast. But more than half failed to reach a majority of their low-income students with the important morning nourishment they need to succeed in school, and only two districts met FrAC’s goal of reaching at least 70 low-income children with breakfast through the School Breakfast Program for every 100 low-income children who received lunch through the national School Lunch Program.” As a result, some schools are starting to move breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom or providing a “grab-and-go” meal for all students, regardless of income. “it may take up classroom time, but more schools should do it,” says Andrea giancoli, spokesperson for the American dietetic Association. “nutrition is part of what is going to improve our educational system. if we don’t accept that, were not going to get anywhere.”

“Sleep and food are our two biggest challenges,” he says, “and a hungry kindergartener is a force to be reckoned with.” It is no surprise then that concerns surrounding poverty and hunger in America paved the way to the creation of the earliest school lunch programs, some of which date back to the 1850s. The Children’s Aid Society of New York began to provide meals to vocational students in 1853 and was soon followed by other civic organizations that did the same in Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Chicago, among others. As cited by the USDA, what likely brought this issue to the fore was the 1904 publication of Poverty, a book by Robert Hunter that detailed the catastrophic implications of malnutrition on children. As Hunter wrote, “Learning is difficult because hungry stomachs and languid bodies and thin blood are not able to feed the brain. The lack of learning among so many poor children is certainly due, to an important extent, to this cause. … It is utter folly, from the point of view of learning, to have a compulsory school law which compels children, in that weak physical and mental state which results from poverty, to drag themselves to school and to sit at their desks, day in and day out, for several years, learning little or nothing.” By the early 1920s, Chicago and Los Angeles had widespread school lunch programs, sponsored and paid for, in part, by their boards of education. (In Los Angeles, poorer

high school students sometimes had to work at the school to help cover their lunch cost.) During the depression of the 1930s, with rampant unemployment, states and municipalities around the nation formalized lunch programs via local legislation. These programs were aided, on a year-to-year basis, by the federal government as a way to dispense unused and undervalued surplus from the nation’s farms, which were also suffering. By the 1940s, there was another major concern: Many young men graduating or leaving high school were being rejected from the World War II draft because they were malnourished. “Food insecurity and the hunger crisis was much more widespread and posed a serious threat to national security and the economy,” says Matt Sharp, senior advocate for the California Food Policy Advocates, a public policy organization focused on antipoverty initiatives. By the time the 79th Congress passed the National School Lunch Act in 1946 to formalize, subsidize, and make permanent a National School Lunch Program, 48 states — the entire country, at that point — were already on board, serving 6 million children in 42,000 schools. As President Harry Truman said at the bill’s signing, “In the long view, no nation is any healthier than its children or more prosperous than its farmers; and in the National School Lunch Act, the Congress has contributed immeasurably both to the welfare to our farmers and the health of our children.”
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Other Options
hough the guidelines prescribed in the Healthy, HungerFree Kids Act don’t go into effect until fall 2012, some school systems around the country have already taken matters into their own hands — including in some unconventional ways. in the Austin independent School district in Texas, all lunch menus in the city’s 124 K–12 schools have adopted the Weight Watchers Points System. Taco salads (6 points) stand alongside turkey and mozzarella cheese melts (7 points) and zucchini sticks (0 points). At the Perez Elementary School, Principal david Kauffman, Ed.M.’98, Ed.d.’05, says the change has mostly met with success. “i think it is pretty consistent with how kids have always reacted to school lunch,” he says. “There are some things they really like and some things they don’t. They love the pizza and they’re not concerned that it has low-fat cheese. They’re responding to the choice of the day versus ‘This is healthy. i don’t want it.’” KiPP SPArK Academy in newark, n.J., gets their meals from organic-based revolution Foods. According to principal Joanna Belcher, Ed.d.’08, her 200 elementary students are at the perfect age to embrace both new foods and new habits. The addition of a school vegetable garden also helps students make the farm-to-table connection. And parents — key to any long-term success — are regularly engaged in workshops on healthy cooking. At Boston’s Codman Academy Charter Public School, started by Meg Campbell, C.A.S.’97, only one option is served to students and it’s healthy: low-fat, low-sodium, and whole grain. Lunch is free for everyone, regardless of income eligibility, thanks to external funding raised by administrators. On a recent visit, the high school, which is surrounded by convenience stores and with a Mcdonald’s across the street, offered vegetarian chili, steamed spinach, brown rice, salad, an apple, and low-fat milk.

But the legislation was not without controversy. Some members of Congress considered the proposed appropriation of $75 million to be an unseemly expenditure for the federal government and “destructive to the national morale,” according to a New York Times article from February 20, 1946. “If you pass this bill,” said Representative Hattan Sumners, a Democrat from Texas, “you will be inculcating in little children at the most impressionable period of their lives the idea that they can get something for nothing from Uncle Sam.”

healthy and hunger free
Now 65 years later, Truman’s act provides daily lunch in 101,000 schools nationwide in urban, rural, and suburban areas, and the program still faces opposition. Even with mounting medical evidence that current high-fat, highsodium food choices must change, the upgrade of nutritional 36

standards and the related $4.5 billion increase — which was deducted from the federal food stamp program — still faced a host of critics last year after Obama signed the bill. Some argued that government had no business telling students what to eat. Others worried that schools would have to raise the price of lunch for those who do pay. Groups, like the National Governors Association, objected to it as a barely funded mandate. Advocates for the poor argued that money shouldn’t be siphoned from one antipoverty program to another. “While it may be a noble goal, at the end of the day, jobs are far more important for us to focus on,” said Republican Representative Bill Posey from Florida, after voting against the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. “And I think it would be a better idea to let America’s families choose what food they want their children to eat.” At Perez Elementary School, Kauffman knows that some of the 890 students arrive hungry. On a daily basis, the school serves 800 lunches to its K–5 children, 93 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. “We’ve gone up a couple points in this recent economic downturn, from 90 to 93 percent,” says Kauffman, who has been principal at the school for five years, “and the vast majority of the meals are free. Roughly, one in 10 is reduced.” Kauffman’s numbers reflect the national trend as well. While National School Lunch Program participants have remained fairly steady, USDA Spokesperson Daniel says they have seen a 5 percent gain in families whose eligibility has transitioned from reduced price to free. When it comes to school breakfasts, Perez Elementary serves as a microcosm again, serving 250 students — 550 fewer than at lunch. Nationwide, about 11 million students partake in what is considered to be the most important meal of the day, a dramatically lower figure than the 31 million receiving free or reduced lunch. (See sidebar, page 35.) The government hopes to change this. For starters, according to the USDA website, the new Healthy, Hunger-Free legislation will improve “the nutritional quality of all food in schools by providing USDA with the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods sold in schools, including in vending machines, the ‘a la carte’ lunch lines, and school stores.” In addition, available federal data, such as from Medicaid, will be used to better identify eligible children before they fill out an application, which is expected to increase participation by approximately 115,000 students. In high-poverty communities, census data will be used to assess which schools should have universal access to free and reduced-price lunch. Translated to a school tray, children will be served food they may not be used to — fresh fruits; green, leafy vegetables; and whole grains — but, as food and nutrition experts say, it is time to move past the days of chicken pucks and taco tubs to close the widening nutritional gap.

• summEr 2011

“The problem we are having is our population is consuming too many macronutrients with too many calories and not enough nutrients in these calories,” says Giancoli, referring to the abundance of fat and carbohydrates in the American diet. “We’re overfed with macronutrients and underfed with micronutrients. In school, a child’s ability to think and learn is being compromised with the poor nutritional choices that are being made. Still, I would say that most of the research that has been done on kids who consume the school meal shows that they have a better nutritional profile than those not receiving the school meal. The school meal is often the scapegoat to the problem, but that is not what is causing the obesity crisis. “It’s tough,” Giancoli continues. “I don’t want to blame parents or schools because we live in a much different society today and it’s tough to make ends meet. When we talk about poverty and you are trying to feed your children well and all you have to spend is $5, it is very much a socioeconomic issue and it’s very much an environmental issue.” Says Daniel, “Hunger and obesity are two sides of a similar coin.”

dollars and Sense
So how far will 6 cents go? It depends on whom you ask. At the current free lunch reimbursement rate of $2.72 per meal, many school providers say it is tough, if not impossible, to deliver healthy nutritious food while covering all other food services costs, including staffing and equipment, while staying within budget. “There are very few good options in school nutrition, and most schools serve their kids lousy food that is unappealing,” says Bob Nardo, managing director of operations for KIPP TEAM Charter Schools in Newark, N.J. “This is a problem everywhere, but particularly in low-income areas that are considered food deserts, where you can’t get adequate, nutritious food nearby. For our kids at KIPP, they are getting nearly half or two-thirds of their nutrition at school, so our schools face a particularly heavy burden. They need this food in order to learn. This is the context in which we are operating.” Other districts struggle as well to hold to their bottom line. Chicago and New York City, for example, have multimilliondollar deficits in food services, attributable to escalating costs and money owed from families who have not kept up with either their full or reduced-priced payments. “The other piece is efficiency. It is hard to realize how much money schools lose on this business,” says Nardo. “I’ve seen countless schools where tens of thousands of dollars can be lost without putting two plus two together.” Nardo says that was the case with KIPP in Newark, until they outsourced the management to Revolution Foods (see

sidebar, page 36), a health-based school foods company launched in California in 2006. In fact, approximately 1,000 schools around the country started piloting healthier nutritional guidelines even before the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed, using their existing budgets, says Daniel. Under the new legislation, school districts will be encouraged to work together, and order together on certain items, to “achieve economies of scale.” “It will require being creative,” Daniel says. That is exactly what Rebecca Mozaffarian, project manager for the Harvard Prevention Research Center, set out to do in her work with YMCA afterschool programs around the country where they were charged with finding healthier snack and drink alternatives to fit within the 76-cent per child federal reimbursement for afterschool programs. “We have found in these programs that they can get pretty far with it, serving an apple and a cheese slice and water, or carrots and hummus and water,” says Mozaffarian. “Our goal isn’t so much about weight loss or about obesity; it is about a healthy lifestyle. What children are exposed to when they are young affects what they eat when they are older and into adulthood. Having them exposed to as many healthy options as possible during the day is essential to getting them on track for healthy eating. There are a number of kids for whom every meal they have … is outside the home, and it’s critical that those foods that are being provided through school systems are healthy.” Back at the Amigos School in Cambridge, changes are also under way thanks to a program with the city’s Department of Public Health that sends nutritionists to the school on a regular basis. Friday’s pizza now has whole wheat crust. Bake sales are a thing of the past. And physical activity happens for every student, every day. But there is always progress to be made. Cheeseburgers are still popular, and cafeteria workers report that the fresh fruit they serve with meals is often found rolling under lunch tables. And what happens at home is another matter. As one 9-yearold student diner reported, her breakfast of Frosted Flakes was preceded the night before by a dinner of chicken nuggets. “Last year, every classroom had a basket of fresh fruit brought in each day,” says Varon-Green, noting that this practice changed once the school’s low-income population dipped below 40 percent. “Now, some parents will bring in snacks, so there is a basis for a healthy snack every day, but I always have extra bags of healthy chips just in case. As teachers, if there is no provision, we buy. We can’t see children go hungry.” — Mary Tamer is a frequent writer for Ed. Her last piece looked at public service incentives for teachers. Ed.
Watch a video of codman academy’s creative ways to eat healthy.

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


lars skroder


oneonone Jen Holleran

or most, Facebook is a fun diversion, a way to reconnect and keep up with old friends. But, for Jen Holleran, Ed.M.’95, the social network is a means to a much more serious enterprise. Last fall she was tapped by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who studied at Harvard as an undergraduate, to head Startup: Education, a nonprofit established to aid the public schools of newark, n.J., a system in dire need of reform. With a background that includes teaching in independent schools, management consulting, and urban school reform, Holleran — who also spent four years as executive director of Bay Area for new Leaders for new Schools — jumped at the challenge. As acting director of the foundation, she is in charge of allocating Zuckerberg’s $100 million grant and is working closely with newark Mayor Cory Booker, who, as a condition of the gift, has been tasked with raising a matching sum to further benefit the schools. “i feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to make a difference for so many students,” she says. “i think newark and new Jersey have the leadership and the resources, and this is the moment to do great things. i feel lucky to be part of that.”

• summEr 2011

Briget ganske

alumni news and notes

What are the goals of Startup: education? Startup: Education is interested in trying new, bold things instead of tinkering with what has been. [We want to] start new school models, give principals more autonomy to run their schools, have the central office be more responsive to schools instead of vice versa, and — perhaps most of all — find ways to recognize teachers and school leaders who are moving student achievement. This is one of Mark’s real drivers to get involved in education, to improve schools for all kids. What sparked this drive? His girlfriend was a teacher for a while, and he was surprised by how much less attention their peers gave her than they gave him and his technology startup. Well, he was in Silicon Valley, and he was starting Facebook. … But it made a big impression on him in any case. He thinks if we are going to get the great people we need to run our schools and give a high-quality education to all kids, we need to shift the perception and the rewards teachers get. What’s first? Our first goal as a foundation is to dramatically improve the schools in Newark, so every student there gets a great education. That, in and of itself, is an enormous and critical challenge to meet. If we can do that, we will have at least part of a model to replicate. We’ll need to be very careful to evaluate what worked and what didn’t in the process, and then we could try to impact urban education reform elsewhere. There are many people working together to create a model that works for kids — all kids, not just some kids — [and] to scale models that work to whole cities and the nation.

Why newark? Mark really believes strongly in leadership. He was very impressed with Mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie and their commitment to transforming the schools in Newark. They have a strong bipartisan partnership in which they have put politics aside to focus on results for students. Mark wanted to back this bold approach that will provide every child in Newark with great schools. He was impressed they were committing themselves to this critical work, and he wanted to support them to help make the work a success for kids. how involved is zuckerberg in day-today operations? Mark is very interested in the Newark education reform work, but he is also busy building a company on the other side of the country. I communicate with him regularly, but don’t see him frequently. and the newark city government? Mayor Booker is coordinating and driving much of the work in Newark, and so we work relatively closely with him as he and the governor work with the community to develop a plan for reform. Chris Cerf, the commissioner of education, is also central to the work in Newark. has your time with new leaders for new Schools helped your current work? New Leaders allowed me to work with extraordinary, dedicated people who would stop at nothing to turn schools into great places for the kids they served. It was inspirational, and it was an opportunity to learn more of what it takes to prepare and support the kinds of outstanding leaders our schools need to ensure every child receives a great education and achieves at high levels.

there has been some criticism of zuckerberg’s gift. I have a pretty simple perspective on this: We have a crisis in this country because our schools are failing so many of our kids and limiting their potentials in a way that is devastating to the kids themselves, their families, and the country. It seems to me we need everyone to bring whatever resources they have to offer to step up and help fix the problem, which is what Mark Zuckerberg has chosen to do, and other wealthy people are doing as well. We need to solve this problem. Mark is setting an example — taking a risk to make a big difference — and I encourage others to follow with their talents, time, or money. how do you feel about the media attention? We just try to keep focused on the work. Until we have significantly improved the schools in Newark, we haven’t accomplished anything. What will make the foundation a success? Having many, many more kids get a great education — and doing whatever it takes to allow our schools and country to provide that education — is what will make Startup: Education a success. Anything we can do to support that innovation and opportunity is our aim. if hollywood ever makes The Social Network 2, who would play you, and would you cameo? I wouldn’t mind Sigourney Weaver. As for a cameo, I may be too camera shy for that!
— Marin Jorgensen
Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


alumni news and notes

Michael Kalafatas

Michael Mele (left)

Xavier rozas and elizabeth (hale) rozas

Julie englund

Jennifer cottle (fourth froM left)



• summEr 2011

tiMothy dyas, M.A.T., was
recently elected to the USA Track and Field Masters Hall of Fame. He joins an exclusive roster that includes National Track and Field Hall of Famer Bill Rodgers, a four-time winner of both the Boston and New York City marathons.

tions at the Australian Hervey Bay Conference. Ivey is the author of more than 40 books, translated into 22 languages. He is courtesy professor at the University of South Florida, Tampa, and distinguished university professor (emeritus) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Michael Kalafatas,
M.A.T., retired as director of admissions at Brandeis University in 2002 and since has published three books: The Bellstone: The Greek Sponge Divers of the Aegean, One American’s Journey Home (2003); Bird Strike: The Crash of the Boston Electra, The Story of Man and Bird in Conflict

(2010); and My Dog’s Name is Einstein and Other College Essays Written from the Hearts of Boys and Girls (2010), coauthored with Susan Simon. He also served as executive producer of the documentary film, Pushing the Limits: The Story of Greek Sponge Diving (2008).

allen ivey, Ed.M.’57, Ed.D.,
is focusing on neuroscience and counseling. Last year he delivered the keynote addresses for the Japanese Clinical Psychological Association and the Turkish Psychological Association, and made nine presenta-

don aKenson, Ed.M.,
received an honorary degree from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, for his contributions to the study of history in the country. He is professor of Canadian and colonial history at Queen’s University in Canada.

Surprise, Surprise: Ben Marcovitz


hen Ben Marcovitz, Ed.M.’06, was invited as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show last September, he thought it was simply to take a bow with a bunch of transform the trajectory of his or her education and achieve the highest possible goals. “Whenever there’s a question about why we should do something, that’s what we look to. That principle streamlines our focus and allows us to make choices with a sense of confidence and surprising swiftness,” says Marcovitz. He thinks of teaching in much the same way, with a highly optimistic and developmentally aggressive approach he credits to his experience at the Ed School. “We always talked about teaching as a science that can continually be researched, improved upon, and often standardized for success,” he says. “i believe anybody can learn to teach if they are intelligent people who are willing to work hard at the craft.” Marcovitz has hopes to create more schools like Sci Academy in the future. “After Hurricane Katrina, new Orleans became a place where education was incredibly vibrant and reform was in the air,” he says. “i really thought that the window for extraordinary ambition and change would have closed a few years ago, but it seems to have only grown.” — Mateo Corby

other principals of exceptional charter schools. Even so, he was excited and nervous to be recognized in front of millions of viewers for the accomplishments of the new Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy, a high school he founded in 2007. And then Oprah gave the principals the surprise of their lives. “She said, ‘We’re going to give each of your schools …’ and then uttered the word ‘one,’” Marcovitz says. “‘And in my head i’m thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, $100,000!’” He couldn’t believe his ears when she announced a milliondollar gift. He remembers his jaw dropping involuntarily, but not much else. “First there was a moment of complete shock,” he says. “Then came an enormous wave of joy when we thought about all the great things this meant our schools could do for our kids.” When, 10 days later, the entire school and many community members watched the broadcast in a local auditorium, the response to Oprah’s announcement was deafening. “The kids were screaming and experiencing something like pride, but also something of a catharsis,” Marcovitz says. “They had worked so hard for so long, and this was the first real external acknowledgement that what they did was truly special.” Sci Academy, as the school is nicknamed, is governed by the belief that any child, no matter what age, can completely

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education

courtesy of Ben marcovitz


alumni news and notes

you are so cool.
Or at least you will be if you’re carrying around a free Ed School cooler bag this summer. Send in a classnote with your latest news and you’ll be entered in a drawing for the free bag. Include “classnotes raffle” in the subject line. Deadline is July 25. classnotes @ gse.harvard.edu
eve sullivan, M.A.T.,
Cambridge University. He is also vice-principal of Homerton College and a fellow of the British Academy. He recently served as a special adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee Enquiry into School Accountability.

Michael serino, Ed.M., is
executive director of human capital development at Cornell University, ILR School. Based in New York City, he directs executive education programs that are customized for global organizations focused on optimizing their human capital to execute business strategy.

learn about the traditional Italian values that have helped them maintain their culture over the centuries. He married Andy Holtzman last summer on Cape Cod.

bonnie daKin, Ed.M., teaches kindergarten/grade one at University Hill Elementary in Vancouver, B.C. She returns to the classroom every few years, she writes, “for the sheer joy and pleasure of working with children.” She has also been a faculty advisor and sessional instructor at the University of British Columbia.

Marlene Macleish,
Ed.M.’74, Ed.D., received an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario in 2010. She is professor of medical education at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

founder of Parents Forum, was named Arminta Jacobson Parenting Education Professional of the Year by the Texas Association of Parent Educators in March at the 19th Annual International Conference on Parenting Education and Parenting at the University of North Texas, Denton.

1984 1980
dericK brinKerhoff,
Ed.D., was inducted into the National Academy of Public Administration as a fellow in November 2010.

Julie englund, Ed.D., represented Harvard University at the inauguration of John Garvey, the new president at the Catholic University of America, in January.

ron glass, Ed.M., has
been named director of the new University of California multicampus research program initiative, the Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California. He continues his studies as a philosopher of education at the University of California, Santa Cruz, focusing on moral and political issues and education as a practice of freedom.

leonard dowse, Ed.M.,

M ichael sales, Ed.D.,

aMy nathan, Ed.M., recently had the second edition of her book, The Young Musician’s Survival Guide, published by Oxford University Press.

was elected treasurer of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests board of trustees. He has served on the board since 2007.

cofounded Art of the Future in Newburyport, Mass., to support forward-looking leaders who respect their organizations as living systems embedded in nature.

lida hurst, Ed.M., was
named a certified fundraising executive by CFRE International. She serves as chief development officer for Jefferson Area Board for Aging in Charlottesville, Va.

rena uPitis, Ed.D., recently
published the book, Raising a School: Foundations for School Architecture. She is a founding director of Wintergreen Studios, a nonprofit wilderness educational retreat center (www.wintergreenstudios.com). She connects her outreach work at Wintergreen with her research and teaching at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where she is a professor of arts education.

Patricia hill collins,
M.A.T., was the keynote speaker at the Ed School’s Alumni of Color Conference in March. She is a professor at the University of Maryland.

neen hunt, M.A.T.’65,
Ed.D., will serve as academic head of school for Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches in Florida, a private high school started by William Koch of Koch Industries. The school is slated to enroll its freshman class of 75 in September.

Michael Mele, Ed.M., is

John gray, Ed.M., is professor of education and chair of the faculty of education at

the director of Il Chiostro, Inc., and the Tuscan Renaissance Center in Tuscany, Italy. The company organizes arts and personal development programs for adults who, while continuing their education in their fields of interest, also



• summEr 2011

charlotte agell, Ed.M.,
reports that her latest book, The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister, made the 2011 ALA Rainbow List, which honors works reflecting significant GLBTQ experience for young people from birth to age 18.

dorice wright, Ed.D., is a
senior fellow at Phelps Stokes. In April, she presented a paper at the New York State Political Science Association. At the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics in June, she presented a paper and was a discussant on Amitai Etzioni’s From Empire to Community.

grahaM ashworth, Ed.M.,
published his first book, The Hymns of Philip Doddridge, in 2010. The book republishes the corpus of Doddridge’s 18th-century hymns with additional notes and appendices.

a rchie douglas, Ed.M., is
in his second year as principal of Pacific Collegiate School (PCS), a 12-year-old public charter school for grades 7–12 in Santa Cruz, Calif. PCS has received national recognition for the high achievement of

ellen reeves, Ed.M.,

was elected president of the 2010–2011 Harvard Alumni Association.


The impossible dream: Tamara Michel
er goal is simple: to help underserved students become successful in school and college. yet, to Tamara Michel, Ed.M.’93, reaching that goal can sometimes
courtesy of tamara michel

feel daunting. “Coming face to face with the overwhelming needs of lowincome and neglected communities of Chicago, as well as the extreme disparities in education offered in those communities, truly moved me to want to do something about it,” says Michel. “yes, the issues are complex and multilayered; yes, the needs are great and overwhelming, but i feel strongly that i had to do something, even if that something was only a drop in the bucket in making things better.” Her recent appointment as chief executive officer at Chicago’s umoja Student development Corporation is certainly a start. The goals of the nonprofit organization mirror Michel’s: to help underserved students in local public high schools graduate and achieve college and career success. “Having grown up in Brooklyn, n.y., in a low-income community and being the product of the new york City public education,” she says, “i know firsthand the struggles students in these communities deal with every day, as well as the barriers to their success.” Currently in nine public schools serving more than 8,000 students, umoja provides support to at-risk teens before, during, and after school in the form of college and career counseling, advising, leadership programs, mentoring, and restorative justice programs. The services help students build the confidence and resourcefulness needed to achieve their college and career goals. “When you have no role models for success, and you are the first one in your family to graduate from high school, success in college seems like an impossible dream,” says Michel. — Marin Jorgensen
Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education

Thanks to umoja, though, Michel believes that the dream can be within reach. For instance, at Manley Career Academy — a neighborhood high school which hosts several umoja services — the graduation rate has risen from 50 percent in 1988 to 75 percent in 2009. And incidents of serious disciplinary infractions have decreased by nearly 50 percent since umoja’s implementation of a comprehensive restorative justice program. Michel credits both the umoja staff and the staffs at the schools in which they work for the high level of achievement. “Our partnerships and collaborations with public high schools — sharing best practices with them and contributing to the improvement of school culture — all make it possible for the students we serve to be successful,” she says. Michel is enjoying her new position and plans to be at umoja for the foreseeable future. “There is a great deal of need for the work that we provide. As long as that need is there, i believe that i will continue to do what i do,” she says. “This truly does not feel like work. it is an inspiration.”


alumni news and notes


The Tipping Point: Chris Bennett
ucky for him, Chris Bennett, Ed.M.’05, did not have a high school experience that was shaped by bullying. “i was probably bullied as much as any 6-foot-3-inch,
courtesy of chris Bennett

120-pound high school student buried in a computer was,” he says. “But, fortunately, i have not been involved in any severe cases of bullying.” Still, the subject was something he thought a lot about last fall when several tragic cases of teen bullying were highlighted in the media. “it didn’t take long for me to connect the dots,” he says, “and realize what i was working on could be adapted to give students the ability to discreetly use text messaging and voicemails to report incidents of bullying to counselors.” What Bennett was working on was Callyo, a technology based on the relatively new ability to program phone lines. “One can now do virtually anything with phone numbers, phone calls, and text messages with just a few lines of code,” he says. in fact, he had already used the technology to develop the Mobile Symptom Journal, a program — inspired by his fiancee’s struggle with the spinal condition ankylosing spondylitis — that allows patients to text in how they are feeling, creating a log that is easily accessible by their doctors. Since text messaging is the preferred method of communication for many teens, Bennett had a hunch Callyo could translate to a school setting. Eliminating the awkwardness of an in-person visit to the counselor’s office could erase the hesitancy that many teens feel about reporting harrassment by their peers, Bennett says. A tip line also would provide the means by which school officials could learn of problems early on, making them more able to address situations before they escalate. Tips are anonymous by design, — Marin Jorgensen but, Bennett points out, “there is always a way to identify the student if law enforcement needs to get involved.” The current challenge for Callyo is building awareness and getting it into as many schools as possible across the nation. To that end, the bullying tip line has been presented to the u.S. department of Education’s Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for safe and drug-free schools. And Bennett recently met with former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Canada’s Minister of national defence, Peter McKay, to share the technology. This year, Callyo will be marketed to 5,000 schools in 50 states. Callyo is also being used by private companies to curb harassment and discrimination and by law enforcement agencies to collect tips from citizens in their communities. “Whether we’re helping victims of bullying take the first step by connecting with a counselor or aiding law enforcement put away criminals abusing children,” says Bennett, “i believe Callyo will have a strong future putting important technology in the hands of local schools and police departments everywhere.”

its students and is one of the highest-performing public high schools in the greater Bay Area.

Marina Mccarthy,

Ed.M.’86, Ed.D., was appointed chair of the Presidential Scholars Commission by President Barack Obama. The commission is charged with recognizing future leaders and honoring them for their achievements.

tion to serve as the regional administrator of the New England region. He will oversee operations in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Areas covered include federal real estate and information technology.

cluding the Washington Jesuit Academy in Washington, D.C.

Light Studios in January 2011. She lives in New York City.

JosePh o’K eefe, Ed.M.’88,
Ed.D., was named the 27th president of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He took office in May 2011. He had been dean of the Lynch School of Education at Boston College since 2005.

taMara Michel, Ed.M., was
named CEO of Umoja Student Development Corporation, a nonprofit education organization that has dramatically improved college-going rates in Chicago high schools serving low-income communities. (See profile on page 43.)

Joe Mccarthy, Ed.M.’90,
Ed.D., retired as senior associate dean at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is currently serving on several boards, in-

eriKa dreifus, Ed.M.,
published her collection, Quiet Americans: Stories, with Last-

robert zarnetsKe, Ed.M.,
was appointed by the U.S. General Services Administra-



• summEr 2011


1 1

2 3a

2 3b

Alumni Events
1 2
alumni council members gathered with local alumni at an all-alumni reception in cambridge. october 2010 members of the charles William eliot society enjoyed brunch with professor fernando reimers, ed.m.’84, ed.d.’88, in Washington, d.c. february 2011 alumni and students attended the ninth annual alumni of color conference (aocc) in cambridge. march 2011. pictured 3a: aocc alumni achievement award honorees: (l–r) patricia hill collins, m.a.t.’70; gabriel cámara, ed.d.’72; and charlene désir, ed.d.’06. pictured 3b: aocc chairs: (l–r) christina dobbs, ed.m.’06, ed.d. expected 2013; anita Wadhwa, ed.m.’09, ed.d. expected 2012; and rosario martínez, ed.m.’11. 3c: alumni reconnecting at the conference.
Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education




alumni news and notes

your facebook page is full of photos. Why not send one our way?
gus frias, Ed.M., was
selected by the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County as Task Force Coordinator. In his post, he will tackle the problem of youth gangs on the Santa Barbara south coast.

Send us a high-resolution photo of yourself or your family, including context, and we just might publish it in the next issue. classnotes @ gse.harvard.edu

bina shah, Ed.M., launched

her sixth book, Slum Child — the story of a Punjabi Christian girl growing up in one of Karachi’s poorest quarters — at the 2011 Karachi Literature Festival, where she was also a speaker.

new experience in distance learning via Moodle; she is based in Munich, Germany and the course was run out of the University of York in England. In January, she began teaching primary school after many years in the freelance EFL/business English sector.

eric cuMMings, Ed.M., is
associate dean of the School of Education and Public Service at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn.

devon elyse tutaK, Ed.M.,
recently joined the Corporation of Public Brodcasting as a project manager for Ready to Learn. Her last position was associate director of PBS Kids Marketing Strategy at PBS headquarters in Arlington, Va.

Johnathan landMan,
Ed.D., was appointed superintendent of schools for Hopkinton, Mass. Previously, he was superintendent for teaching and learning in Randolph, Mass.

valerie landau, C.A.S.,
is exploring interactive data visualization in an outcomesbased e-portfolio. The third edition of her book, The Engelbart Hypothesis: Dialogs with Douglas Engelbart, is about to be published.

alecia huMPhrey, Ed.M.,

was inducted into the University of Michigan athletic department’s Hall of Honor for swimming. She currently is the director of guardian ad litem for the Minors Program at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.

KiMberly truong, Ed.M.,

claudia carroll, Ed.M.,
is currently teaching Remembrance Writing 101 workshops to older adults in Marin County, Calif.

brian bucKley, Ed.M., and
his wife Kate Hunter recently opened a poetry bookstore in Boulder, Colo., called Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe. It is one of only three poetry-exclusive bookstores in the United States.

received the Recognition of Merit award in the 2010–2011 PDK International Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award program for “Racism and Racial Trauma in Doctoral Study: How Students of Color Experience and Negotiate the Political Complexities of Racist Encounters.”

shawn Kelly, Ed.M., is
headmaster at the McClelland School in Pueblo, Colo., a preK–8 independent school.

susana claro, Ed.M.,
is the cofounder of Enseña Chile (Teach Chile), which is affiliated with Teach For All.

Mishaela duran, Ed.M.,

bob Muldoon, Ed.M., has

was named interim executive director at the National Parent Teacher Association.

published Brass Bonanza Plays Again: How Hockey’s Strangest Goon Brought Back Mark Twain and a Dead Team — and Made A City Believe. The novel, based on his work with the late, lamented Hartford Whalers hockey team, contains a chapter titled “The Teacher,” which draws on his brief, “disastrous” career as a math teacher.

edith fernández, Ed.M., is

the director of the Student Development Center, including the Women’s Resource Center, at the University of Texas, El Paso.

david greene,

Maisi Pearson Julian,

Ed.M.’91, Ed.M.’94, Ed.D., was promoted to executive vice president at the University of Chicago.

Meg engelMann, Ed.M.,
recently received her postgraduate certification as a specialist teacher for dyslexia. It was a

Ed.M., left teaching and combined her two passions, kids and photography, into a children’s photography business in Alexandria, Va. She is especially interested in photographing children with special needs, who might not be able to have their portraits taken in a traditional studio setting. www.maisijulianphotography.com.

Please save the date for an HgSE Alumni reception hosted by the Alumni Council.

Save the Date
The evening of

naoMi greenfield, Ed.M., has been producing educational films, websites, games, iPhone/iPad apps, museum kiosks, and more for FableVision since 2006.

Cambridge, Mass.

Visit www.gse.harvard.edu/alumni_friends for more information.



• summEr 2011

Teach For All was launched in 2007 to help start Teach For America–inspired programs. Chile is the first Latin American country to be a member of Teach For All.

Michael burKe, Ed.M.,

was named registrar for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Previously, he was director of admissions and registrar at the Harvard Kennedy School.

which, in March, sponsored the MoreJazz Gala. The event will help fund future scholarships for Morehouse students, as well as the alumni association’s other philanthropic endeavors.

Jennifer cottle, Ed.M.,
spent last New Years with friends in Peru visiting Sacsayhuaman Fortress, ruins of Moray, and Macchu Pichu, among other sites. Joining her on the trip was brighaM hall, Ed.M., and Jeff layton, Ed.M.

andres alonso, Ed.M.’99,
Ed.D., returned to the Ed School in March to take part in a session of the EPMSA Speaker Series. He is CEO of Baltimore Public Schools.

Marina lee, Ed.M., returned
to the Boston area after almost four years in Seoul, Korea, developing Noumena Education Initiative, a private afterschool program serving Korean nationals. She recently married seth leighton, Ed.M.

Molly shaw, Ed.M., was

named executive director of Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg [N.C.]. The group focuses on dropout prevention, helping young people stay in school, successfully learn, and prepare for life by connecting needed community resources with schools.

Xavier rozas, Ed.M.,

married current doctoral candidate Elizabeth (Hale) Rozas on August 7, 2010 at the Commandant’s House in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston.

claudia asano, Ed.M., is
engaged to Brendon Barcomb. The couple plans to wed in June of this year.

williaM hayes, Ed.M.,
is president of the Bostonarea chapter of the Morehouse College Alumni Association,

heidi cooK, Ed.M., will
become principal of the Driscoll School in Brookline, Mass. in July.

In Memory
Marie Estelle McCabe, M.A.T.’44 gilbert Edson, M.A.T.’46 donald Shaw, gSE’46 robert Euth Markarian, Ed.M.’48 James Amsler, Ed.M.’50 James Merritt, Ed.M.’47, Ed.d.’51 gertrude grady, Ed.M.’52 Mary Ward Sullivan, Ed.M.’52 diane Carleton Tait, M.A.T.’53 Joyce nower, M.A.T.’54 Sheila Wharton Wasserman, M.A.T.’55 Elizabeth gill, Ed.M.’58 James naseeb Sabbagh, M.A.T.’59 Edward Leonard, gSE’60 raymond Thompson, Ed.M.’60 Ann Venable, M.A.T.’60 James Edward devlin, M.A.T.’61 Bertrand needham Honea Jr., Ed.M.’61 Anne Horton ridley, M.A.T.’61 Thomas richard Hasenpflug, M.A.T.’57, C.A.S.’61, Ed.d.’63 William roberts, M.A.T.’64 Eleanor Lewis, Ed.M.’66 John Katz, Ed.d.’67 Charles nugent, C.A.S.’67 Eileen O’gorman, Ed.M.’67 Paul Coste, Ed.M.’56, C.A.S.’68 Joseph Sander Lukinsky, Ed.d.’68 Alan Bodine, gSE’69 John Anthony de Silva, Ed.d.’69 glenn Whitmore, M.A.T.’73 J. Manford Barber iii, Ed.M.’74 dorothy uhlig-green, Ed.M.’71, Ed.d.’74 Leslie Hyman, Ed.M.’75 Phyllis Mayo, Ed.M.’75 Ann gist Levin, Ed.M.’76 Mona Abrams, Ed.M.’81 Lloyd McElaney, Ed.M.’81 William Stevenson, C.A.S.’77, Ed.M.’82 donald Phillips Jr., Ed.M.’76, Ed.d.’84 roberta Sykes, Ed.M.’81, Ed.d.’84 Kathleen Cloud, Ed.d.’86 Barbara Curry, Ed.M.’87, Ed.d.’88 Jill Taylor, Ed.M.’84, Ed.d.’89 Elizabeth Corrigan, gSE’92 John Baldwin, Ed.M.’97, C.A.S.’02

barbara aleXander Pan, 1950–2011
“She brought out the best in others,” read one comment posted on the Ed School website after Barbara Alexander Pan passed away. “Let us all be your legacy,” read another. Alexander Pan, a former lecturer and researcher at the Ed School who studied language and literacy development, died in February after battling a lengthy illness. She had retired in 2009 after 23 years at the school. The year before retirement, she was presented with the Morningstar Family Teaching Award, which celebrates a faculty member’s dedication to his or her students. Alexander Pan modestly accepted the award, saying, “Teaching is truly a co-construction activity, so this award is as much a reflection on my learn more, students as it is leave a comment. on myself.”


Phil and P.J.

A room With a View … and a door that Shuts!
Phil Lee really needed it. With the deadline for a journal article fast approaching, the Ed.D. student had to quickly review some books in the Gutman Library to expand on the article’s theory section. But there was a dilemma. A 25-pound-dilemma. That day, Lee was taking care of his two-year-old son, P.J. Although Lee had taken him to the library many times in the past, it was never easy. “He would quickly get restless because there wasn’t much for him to do in Gutman while I worked,” Lee says. That changed recently when the school opened a new parents’ room on the library’s second floor. The small room, complete with two workstations, a beanbag chair, kids’ books, and, perhaps most important, a door that shuts, gives students a place on campus to study with their children in tow. The idea for the room came about in the fall of 2009 when the Office of Student Affairs held a meeting for parent students. Ed.D. student Erica Litke says a lot of common concerns came up, many focused on the difficulty of balancing school and parenting. Someone mentioned how great it would be to have a dedicated place on campus to go with children. “This resonated with me,” says Litke, who had a 15-month-old at the time. “I was finding that there were times on Fridays when I needed to come to campus with my son, whether to print something, meet with someone briefly, or get other work done.” 48

A few months later, Dean Kathleen McCartney held a tea that allowed students to meet with her in small groups. While there, Litke pitched the idea for the parent room. “The dean said that while a drop-off room wasn’t feasible, she thought the idea of a room for parents to supervise their own kids while getting work done was an easy one to implement,” Litke says. And for the most part, it was. McCartney contacted John Collins, the director of the library, to see if he had space, which is always at a premium. Collins loved the idea — “There isn’t a downside,” he says — and repurposed a small office on the second floor with a fresh coat of paint, outlet covers, and picture books. Children’s furniture and posters from the American Library Association were later added. Ed.D. student Clara Barata has used the room several times. Although she doesn’t have children of her own, she provides emergency childcare for classmates. “In the past, I would look for space anywhere I could,” she says, which often meant an empty hallway. Now she uses the parents’ room. McCartney says it’s important to be responsive when students have great ideas, especially when there’s a real need. “Universities need to support students with young children,” she says. “If anyone should be able to figure out how best to do that, it should be a school of education.” — Lory Hough

• summEr 2011

jill anderson




as lv






Once and Again


very year, for nearly five decades, Evelyn Murrin, Ed.M.’58, has written a check to the HgSE Fund. Since Frank Fritts, Ed.M.’02, graduated, he has similarly made

Continuous support from alumni donors at all levels is essential to the success of the school and to its mission to develop leaders and knowledge that will improve education, explains denise Tioseco, Ed.M.’02, director of alumni relations and the HgSE Fund. “Sometimes there’s a perception that only major gifts matter to HgSE, but that’s not the case,” Tioseco says. “We deeply value participation with the HgSE Fund, regardless of the amount.” To encourage alumni to become sustaining donors, Tioseco created the Holmes Society, which is named for the first and longest-serving dean of the Ed School, Henry Wyman Holmes. Born in 1880, Holmes served as dean for two decades, from 1920 until 1940. The society recognizes consistent donors to the HgSE Fund at all contribution levels. in addition, those who have donated for five and 10 consecutive years are given annual certificates. For Fritts, a Holmes Society member, the spirit of this sort of acknowledgement resonates with how he feels about giving. “My philosophy is if you can give a lot, great,” he says. “But if not, give what you can.” — Mark Robertson, Ed.M.’08

a contribution every year. What motivates consecutive-year donors like these to remain so loyal to the Ed School? The answer for Murrin comes from the impact of research she saw over the course of her career as a Pittsburgh-area school counselor. For example, whereas diagnosis for autism in the 1950s was completely dependent on extended observation, now, new technologies help explain which parts of the brain are governing children’s actions. “We can never afford to be static in research,” Murrin says. “To support the sort of work the Ed School is doing, we all really do need to contribute.” For Fritts, who teaches history at Trinity-Pawling School in upstate new york and helps run Camp Arcadia in Maine each summer, the motivation to contribute each year is born of the strong relationships he developed at the Ed School. “i had equally amazing experiences inside and outside of class,” Fritts says, noting that he remains in touch with classmates. “gifts allow that to happen.”

Harvard GraduatE scHool of Education


Harvard Graduate School of Education Office of Communications 44R Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138

Nonprofit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Randolph, MA Permit No. 300

lara landrum

Clockwise from top left: rose, daughter of lara landrum, ed.m.’05; Sumin, daughter of Young im Yoo, ed.m.’02; and lilliana, daughter of lecturer mandy Savitz-romer and toby romer, ed.m.’01.

Where’s Ed.?
it’s never too early to start reading Ed. or be in the magazine. Email us a picture of yourself (or
mandy saviitz-romer

someone in your family) reading Ed. and you may find yourself on the back cover, too. classnotes@gse.harvard.edu

young im yoo

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