During and after his term as interim Central Falls superintendent in 2006-2007, Bill Holland sought answers to why some Central Falls High School students had school success while over half of their classmates failed to graduate. Much can be learned from how these students survived in a chronically low-achieving school located in the poorest community in the state. Holland provides behind-the-scenes details on the issues of poverty, ineffective teaching, and cultural differences while also advising students, parents, and teachers on ways to gain greater educational success. Before the book was completed, a federal and state mandate unexpectedly resulted in the superintendent having to adopt a turn-around model and fire the entire high school faculty and staff-an action that set off a firestorm between the school and state leadership and the American Federation of Teachers. The conflict made national headlines and was mentioned by President Obama as a prime example of a 'last resort' approach in reforming failing inner-city schools.
William R. Holland is a former Rhode Island commissioner of education and professor emeritus in educational leadership at Rhode Island College. Previously, he was a school superintendent for twenty years in Massachusetts and Rhode Island with his last assignment being interim superintendent in Central Falls during the 2006-2007 school year.
Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Interim Superintendent in Central Falls Chapter 4 The Obstacles to Success in an Inner-City School Chapter 5 A Jaded Perception of Urban Schools Chapter 6 An Urban Principal Questions Dropout Figures Chapter 7 Residential Instability Among Latinos Chapter 8 The Role of Poverty Chapter 9 The Need for Better Teaching Chapter 10 Is It Poverty or Better Teaching? Chapter 11 The Unique City of Central Falls Chapter 12 Central Falls High School Today Chapter 13 An Agenda for Change Chapter 14 The URI-Central Falls Partnership Chapter 15 A Severe Bump in the Road Chapter 16 Central Falls Students Chapter 17 Theresa Agonia - Overcoming Adversity Chapter 18 Bryant Estrada - An Independent Thinker Chapter 19 Guillermo Ronquillo -The Importance of Faith Chapter 20 George Carle - A Basketball Dream Chapter 21 Summary Chapter 22 Postscript