Sunday, May 07, 2006

Joanne Jacobs is coming......

I ordered Joanne Jacobs' book before it came out because I knew (from her blog) that she's definetly had something to say. She's coming to the area to talk.... and the lucky ones will take the time to go and listen. Here is her info, in her own words:

"I’ll speak and sign books on Thursday, May 11 at 5:30 pm at William E. Doar Jr. (WEDJ) Public Charter School for the Performing Arts, 705 Edgewood St. NE, Washington, DC (near the Rhode Island and Brookland-CUA metro stops). In addition, the school’s musical troupe will perform and I’ll ask guests to donate a children’s book to the school library.

Founded in 2004, WEDJ School enrolls students from all over the city. Students take classes in music, dance and theater and perform in at least one public exhibition or performance each year. A longer school day and Saturday classes ensure enough time for academics and arts. Currently an elementary, the school is adding middle and high school classes in the fall.

On Wednesday, May 17 at 5:30 pm, I’ll speak at Russell Byers Charter School, 1911 Arch St., in downtown Philadelphia. I'll also do a "bookraiser" for the school's library.

Founded in 2001, the school educates children in kindergarten (a two-year program starting at age four) through sixth grade using the Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound program. The school was created to honor the memory of Russell Byers, a Daily News columnist killed in a mugging.

Both the Washington and Philadelphia charter schools primarily serve black students. “Our School” follows the principal, teachers and students at Downtown College Prep, a San Jose charter high school that’s 90 percent Hispanic. Most students come from Spanish-speaking immigrant families; most earned D’s and F’s in middle school and enter ninth grade with fifth-grade reading and math skills. They were left behind academically but promoted anyhow. Operating with a work-your-butt-off philosophy, Downtown College Prep now outscores the average California high school on the state’s Academic Performance Index and sends all graduates to four-year colleges.

After 19 years as a San Jose Mercury News editorial writer and Knight Ridder columnist, I quit in 2001 to freelance, start an education blog at and report and write “Our School.”

I think “Our School” enables readers to step inside a charter school that’s struggling, learning from mistakes, adapting and improving. "

-- Joanne Jacobs

“Joanne Jacobs's "Our School," a vivid account of the creation and first years of a charter high school in San Jose, Calif., . . . reads like a novel whose characters are both stereotypical and improbable. . . But this isn't fiction. The challenges are real, the stakes high, the lessons important -- and the achievements extraordinary.”
-- Henry Miller, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 17, 2005

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