To the Editor:
Modesty is an admirable quality, but Max Silverman, who wrote the Commentary “The Not-So-Inevitable Failure of High School Conversions” (Oct. 24, 2007) with Stephen Fink, is not just a theorist or researcher on the topic, but was the principal of Tyee High School in SeaTac, Wash., during its successful conversion into three small, autonomous schools.
Those small schools are in their third year, with a substantial increase in teacher satisfaction, student satisfaction, attendance, graduation rates, and student preparedness for life after high school. They practice exactly what Mr. Silverman preaches: a relentless focus on instruction, instructional leadership, and deep personal relationships.
For any politicians, funders, and educators who doubt successful conversion can be done, I highly recommend the Coalition of Essential Schools’ “School Culture” DVD. Tyee High School’s conversion story and current instructional practices are featured as a national exemplar of how best to place issues of democracy and equity at the core of instructional practice so that all students may achieve. Mr. Silverman and the entire faculty at the converted Tyee campus have made good on the conversion promise.
Eva A. Frank
San Francisco, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the November 07, 2007 edition of Education Week as Praise for ‘Modest’ Principal Of Converted High Schools