Book Review

Delivering on the Promise

The Education Revolution

by Richard A. Delorenzo, Wendy J. Battino, Rick M. Schreiber and Barbara Gaddy Carrio, Solution Tree, Bloomington, Ind., 2009, 202 pp. with index, $24.95 softcover

Accounts of leading educational change are always interesting. Delivering on the Promise caught my attention because of its focus on a change process related to standards-based curriculum, instruction and assessment — a process taking place in districts nationwide.

Delivering on the Promise

This story of change began in 1994 in the Chugach, Alaska, school district, where two change agent school leaders started in new positions on the same day. The district’s journey started with an intensive look at district data to assess the health of the organization. The examination forced school officials and the entire community to look at the “brutal facts” of dismal student achievement and set a new course.

The course for change was dynamic, and this book illustrates what became the mantra of the district, “We’re building the plane as we’re flying it.” Simultaneous change processes are explained — standards revision, implementation of a new report card and a move from traditional age-based grade levels to a system in which students move at their own developmental pace.

The book also describes the formation of the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition, a nonprofit organization that supports lighthouse districts that meet the needs of all students by way of an integrated, standards-based approach to education.

Reading about successful change in other districts is valuable to the extent the details are specific and the examples are clearly illustrative. Delivering on the Promise tells the story of how a district delivered high student achievement for all students.

Reviewed by Marilyn King, assistant superintendent, Bozeman Public Schools, Bozeman, Mont.