In the Bronx, an unlikely success story
There's a good article in today's New York Times about a principal -- who happens to be a Hasidic Jew -- who's had surprising success turning around a middle school in the Bronx. Shimon Waronker was met with a lot of skepticism when he arrived at Junior High School 22, which had been on a list of the 12 most dangerous schools in New York City. The overwhelming majority of the school's students are black and Hispanic; Waronker surprised them with his ability to speak Spanish. Over the past three years, he has replaced more than half the school's teachers and earned his fair share of critics. But NYC schools chancellor Joel Klein (who was Andres Alonso's boss when he was deputy chancellor there) is quoted in the article saying he'd clone the principal if he could.
Finding great principals, giving them autonomy and holding them accountable for the results: That's the heart of school reform efforts in New York, and now in Baltimore. The question, when these principals are successful, is what lessons can be learned for all schools?