HOW It's Being Done: Urgent Lessons from Unexpected Schools (Harvard Education Press, 2009)

In addition to a careful analysis of why Massachusetts leads the nation in academic performance, HOW It's Being Done profiles in depth eight highly successful high-poverty and high-minority schools. Although the schools are very different from each other in many ways -- they are rural, urban, and suburban; they are large and small; they are elementary and secondary -- they all share five things:

* They all have a laserlike focus on what kids need to learn
* They all collaborate on how to teach it
* They all use formative assessment to see if kids learned it
* They all use data to drive instruction -- to identify kids who need extra help or enrichment
* They all work hard to build relationships and a culture of support

From the foreword, by Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, New York University:

"There is no reason why the United States should not have excellent schools. There is no reason why we shouldn't be able to educate all children, even those who are poor, who are homeless, who don't speak English, who are emotionally and psychologically distressed, who come to us from single-parent households or from homes where no parent is present. We should be able to serve these children because we are a great nation, a nation with extraordinary talents, skills, and resources. How It's Being Done shows us how it can be done."

From John Merrow, education correspondent for PBS Newshour and president of Learning Matters:

"This encouraging and important book is, above all, a good read. Karin Chenoweth is a thoughtful observer, a keen analyst, and a good storyteller."

From Mike Schmoker, author of Results NOW: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvement in Teaching and Learning:

"The schools in HOW It's Being Done exhibit the same hopeful pattern for successful schooling: teachers and leaders who formulate -- and then actually teach to -- clear, essential standards; who shun worksheets and movies and who work together to ensure that all students are taught effectively every day, regardless of who their teacher is. This (all too rare) combination cannot fail."

At the end of HOW It's Being Done, the book calls leadership "the gravitational force that keeps the wheel from falling apart." The next book, Getting It Done, studied thirty-three leaders in twenty-four "It's Being Done" schools to identify the beliefs and practices of effective leaders.