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¡Si Se Puede! Learning from a High School That Beats the Odds

Ursula Casanova

112 pages
Teachers College Press
This is the story of Cibola High School, a remarkable public school that set itself a daring goal: every one of its students would not just graduate, but would continue on to postsecondary education. With that goal in mind, the teachers, administrators, and counselors created a unique environment that provided the support necessary for students to realize their ambitions. No flash in the pan, Cibola High School has been meeting its goal for over 20 graduations. Opened to serve an expanding district, Cibola is located across the border from Mexico. The majority of its students receive free lunch, and 74% of its population consists of Latino(a) students, many of them recent immigrants. Through anecdotes and the voices of teachers, school leaders, and students, this book shows the process that has, year-in and year-out, produced results and defied the low expectations that such demographic data predict. Based on an analysis of extensive interviews and research, the author identifies and explores five critical elements associated with the success of this school: Unequivocal, uncompromising high expectations Distributed, focused leadership Assertive guidance and counseling Intensive instruction for English language learners Flexible responses to problems and development of alternative program pathways to success With our national dropout pandemic, this is a book with implications not just for schools with high Latino(a) populations but for all high schools throughout the nation.
Author Bio
?rsula Casanova is associate professor emerita at the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, Arizona State University.