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Airplane Reading

Live From NSDC, St. Louis— Sometimes on a flight out of D.C., you'll notice that a good number of passengers are reading the latest Bob Woodward tome or (much more depressingly) that week's Federal Register. But on my flight today, several of the passengers--including the very nice woman next to me--were reading Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America, Jay Mathews' book about the co-founders of the KIPP schools. Upon inquiry, I learned that they were all teachers from Stafford Co., Va.--also headed to the NSDC conference. My seatmate, a 1st grade teacher named Kathy Evans, explained that teams of teachers at her school will frequently read a book selected by their instructional coach and then report on it at a staff meeting and pass their copies on to interested colleagues. She expected that the KIPP story might be particularly relevant and inspirational, since her school has a large number low-income students and is struggling to make AYP ("we were so close last year," she said). Leave it to teachers, I thought, to do professional development reading on the way to a professional development conference. ...

- Anthony Rebora

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