Drawing upon thirty-two years of experience in public education, ranging from the classroom to the principal's office, author Carolyn Lawrence offers advice, insight, and inspiration to her readers about how to make reading accessible and even fun for students. However, Lawrence's point stretches far beyond literacy and delves into the idea that all students, regardless of background and "correct instructional level", are capable of learning and benefiting from a positive school environment. Her intention is to make the reader a participant in the school's life, to give an insider's view of how much "soul" it takes to make a school successful. Through anecdotes and personal experience, Lawrence provides all readers, both educators and others, with a deeper understanding of the challenges of public education. She demonstrates the role of the teacher and the principal as the instructional leader and a daily participant in classroom life, juggling a variety of roles and responsibilities. This book is useful to all readers with a concern for education, and particularly for practicing and training school administration and others concerned with curriculum and instruction planning. It will also be helpful in preparing teacher education students and new teachers for the classroom.
I had the pleasure of working with Carolyn McKenzie Lawrence in Florida and found her to be a principled person who fought to educate all her students. Her book is a poignant portrayal of her efforts to educate all students especially working for those marginalized by the education system. Regardless of your perspective on assessment and accountability it is vital that the American public and educators engaged in a dialogue concerning the complexities of implementing assessments in our schools. Dr. Lawrence's text adds another voice to the debate.--Eric J. Smith, Superintendent of Public Schools, Anne Arundel County, MD