Small Schools and Urban Youth: Using the Power of School Culture to Engage Students / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.05
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 71%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $8.05   
  • New (4) from $25.04   
  • Used (7) from $8.05   


Educators are increasingly turning to small learning communities, which have proven to be highly effective in facilitating academic engagement and achievement, particularly among low-income urban students. This in-depth sociological study reveals the unique aspects of this movement and: Examines the structural and cultural features of small learning communities and small schools in two major urban cities, Highlights students' perspectives on school culture, personalization, and student involvement, Offers timely suggestions to benefit students at all levels and in every educational setting. Based on original research, this text offers school leaders and policy makers a deeper understanding of the broad, positive impact of small school reform.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Lisa D. Delpit
"This book is critical for anyone working to change urban schools to effectively serve all students. Too often we succumb to the notion that substantive change is not possible at the high school level, but this book proves how wrong-headed that concept can be. These authors bring the voices of real teachers and real students to the table to demonstrate how small schools focused on relationship building and 'personalization' can perform miracles!"
Pedro Noguera
"Finally, educators leading the movement to smaller high schools have a resource they can draw upon for guidance and direction. This book offers clear, practical advice on how to create small schools that are effective in meeting student needs."
Gary Peters
"The strengths include the book's readability. The examples are vivid and the students' quotes are powerful. The qualitative research style brings a personal feel that is effective."
Harold E. Wilson
"The book reports on an actual research project and presents numerous quotes from students to support the points being made. It provides a good model of data-driven recommendations."
James L. Drexler
"I love the themes of relationships, community, respect, personalization, and small schools."
Nancy Betler
"Relevant, individualized, and an insightful read. This book will be useful for any school system working to develop academies."
Lila Jacobs
"The need for a book on this topic is urgent, and the contributions from the volume are significant. The writing is excellent, the data is engaging, and the conceptualization is insightful, individualistic, and challenging."
Rodney Muth
“This book will be a very helpful and needed addition to the research that clearly establishes how large numbers of our students, particularly big-city students, are being systematically lost because of the size and purposelessness of the schools that they are forced to attend. Relationships are critical, and small schools have shown themselves to be most attentive to and proficient at using small size to personalize educational experiences for urban youth.”
The Bookwatch
"An excellent survey of the cultural and structural features of small schools in two major urban cities. This narrowed focus allows for an analysis of school culture and student involvement on a macroscopic level, creating a fine sociological investigation suitable for both education and sociology libraries."
Choice Magazine
"It is the voice of students in two separate urban centers, Oakland and Boston, that make the book unique. Here, the authors allow students to speak for themselves, and there is honesty in their words that makes the reality surrounding urban school reform resonate in a way that quantitative studies cannot. For anyone wishing a clear and concise introduction to the issues surrounding the restructuring of large urban schools into smaller learning centers, this book is a good place to begin. "
Harvard Educational Review
"Conchas and Rodriguez’s work is very encouraging in its suggestion that intentional and relational school cultures have some potential to narrow educational achievement disparities."
CHOICE Magazine
"It is the voice of students in two separate urban centers, Oakland and Boston, that make the book unique. Here, the authors allow students to speak for themselves, and there is honesty in their words that makes the reality surrounding urban school reform resonate in a way that quantitative studies cannot. For anyone wishing a clear and concise introduction to the issues surrounding the restructuring of large urban schools into smaller learning centers, this book is a good place to begin."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412939348
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 8/21/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Gilberto Q. Conchasobtained a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of California at Irvine. Dr. Conchas also holds joint appointments in the Chicano/Latino Studies and Sociology Departments. Prior to UCI, he was Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Conchas’ work focuses on inequality with an emphasis on urban schooling systems. His research specifically focuses on the sociocultural processes within the urban school context that structure variations in educational opportunity for low-income immigrant and U.S-born Latino, Asian American, and African American youth. He is the author of The Color of Success: Race and High-Achieving Urban Youth (TC Press, 2006). Dr. Conchas teaches courses on theory, policy, and practice about race and urban schooling.

Louie F. Rodríguez obtained a doctorate in education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in Urban Education and Social Foundations at Florida International University in Miami. He is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Urban Education and Innovation at FIU. While at Harvard, Dr. Rodríguez worked with several urban elementary, middle and high schools and communities as a teacher, consultant, and researcher. He also led several research initiatives examining high school reform, school culture, educational policy, and school dropout. His current research examines the intersection between school reform, educational policy, and school culture, specifically as they relate to preventing or perpetuating student/teacher engagement and dropout. He has several articles under review in academic journals, has published in various education-related magazines, and has presented his work at several national conferences. Dr. Rodríguez teaches courses in urban education, educational policy and theory, and social and cultural foundations in education. Dr. Rodríguez was born and raised in the Chicano communities of San Bernardino, CA.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword   Hugh Mehan     ix
Preface     xiii
Purpose of the Book     xvi
Comparative Research Design     xvii
Organization of the Book     xix
Who This Book Is For     xx
Acknowledgments     xxiii
About the Authors     xxvii
Digging Beneath the Layers of School Reform: Size, Culture, and Personalization     1
California Career Academies: How Structure and Culture Create Optimism Among Low-Income Urban Youth     11
Structuring Competition and Teamwork: Reproducing the Status Quo and Challenging Inequality Side by Side     33
The Case of Boston: How Small Schools Forge Academic and Relational Possibilities in the Urban Context     57
Beneath School Structure: How School Culture Shapes Relational and Academic Engagement of Urban High School Students in Boston     77
Beyond School Size: Toward a Critical Understanding of School Culture     109
References     127
Index     131
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)