Vito Perrone invites you on an inspirational journey into Leonard Covello's classic memoir, The Heart Is the Teacher (1958). Covello's autobiographical book is one of education's important histories, and Perrone's text reestablishes a crucial connection to that history. During his 45 years as a teacher and principal in the New York City Public Schools, Covello and a group of dedicated teachers, parents, and students created one of the first urban community schools--Benjamin Franklin Community High School in East Harlem--concerned not only with academic programs but with the special needs of immigrant children. By returning to Leonard Covello's work and educational commitments, Perrone calls attention to matters of great urgency in the schools today: the "new" immigrants, intercultural education, advocacy for students and families, a curriculum of place, and the community school. Perrone's reflective essay, reproduced with significant sections of Covello's own text (long unavailable to the public), makes Teacher with a Heart a unique account of how one of today's most respected voices in educational reform has been touched and changed by an extraordinary reformer from the past.
Vito Perrone is a faculty member in the Learning and Teaching Program and Director of Teacher Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is also an active member of the North Dakota Study Group.