We often hear about the need to make demands on all students, especially those of color, of different cultural backgrounds, and from low income families. A lot of educators talk the talk, but only a few have actually walked the walk. One of the few American schools that actually made substantial strides in improving education for low-income students was Garfield High school in the 1980s. The success of Jaime Escalante, Garfield's calculus teacher, was depicted in the 1987 film Stand and Deliver. This film is often shown in education classes and teacher inservices. Unfortunately, Hollywood played rather freely with the facts and created a film that is a poor guide for teachers and administrators who want to recreate Escalante's experience. The reality, however, is even more wonderful than the film, and, unlike the Hollywood fantasy, is replicable. When coauthor Jerry Jesness interviewed Jaime Escalante about the secret of his success, the first four words Escalante spoke were, 'Our principal, Henry Gradillas_ .' In this book, Dr. Gradillas shares both his upbeat philosophy of education and the practical school management techniques that helped translate that philosophy into success for thousands of students over three decades. The book focuses on three areas that are key to the operation of an effective school: School climate, instruction, and curriculum. It includes many references to the Garfield experience, as well as to other schools where Gradillas was at the helm.
About the Author
Henry Gradillas has served education as a teacher and administrator in California and Michigan, and as a speaker and consultant throughout North America. He and his wife Gayle live near Ashland, Wisconsin where he continues to work as a tutor, substitute teacher, and court interpreter. Jerry Jesness has taught English, ESL, Spanish, special education, and social studies in his thirty year education career. His writing has appeared in Harper's, Reason Education Week, Teacher Magazine, Principal Magazine, Intellectual Capital, Texas Education Review, and several newspapers.