In this short, provocative book, Ron Berger paints a portrait of what a public school culture of high standards can look like, sharing stories and structures from his school and classroom.
Berger describes how his sixth-grade students in a rural Massachusetts town conducted a scientific study of the radon levels in homes throughout their town. His students learned the fundamentals of data analysis, experimental technique, and scientific writing. They interviewed community members, conducted surveys, wrote letters, worked with college students in a geology lab to use testing equipment, drafted tables and graphs, and put together a professional-quality report for the town, which is still used to this day as a record of radon levels in the town.
A Culture of Quality is a master class in the importance of school culture for setting expectations for the quality of student work and character. There are no quick fixes and easy solutions in education. However, when students understand that their work has meaning and value, and when they are held to high standards for quality in their work, their thinking, and their behavior, they will rise to the occasion.