Book Reviews

Achieving World Class Schools

by Paul Kimmelman and David Kroeze

Achieving World Class Schools: Mastering School Improvement Using a Genetic Model
Reviewed by Ira M. Harris
Superintendent, Valliant Public Schools, Valliant, Okla.

Veteran school administrators Paul L. Kimmelman and David J. Kroeze have been using a genetic model as a metaphor for transforming schools toward achieving higher levels of performance for several years.

Following other writings by the authors, Achieving World Class Schools focuses on the role of administrators in rethinking how school systems function holistically. The authors draw on their own research as well as the principle of genetics in improving human health from the Human Genome Project.

Achieving World Class Schools lays down a solid metaphorical foundation about using the concept of a genetic model to achieve world-class results, particularly for schools that want to espouse specific core values. Importantly, the book provides an actual model for managing the transition from looking at schools as apathetic social systems to considering schools as holistic dynamic entities.

The book is divided into two parts: “Theoretical Underpinnings” and “Implementing the Genetic Model.” Additionally, the book contains a section of guest essays from 10 authors.

Kimmelman’s years as a district superintendent in the Chicago suburbs contributed to this book’s relevancy. Because of its practical advice and worthwhile examples, Achieving World Class Schools could be useful to superintendents in launching discussions with staff and others about shared goals for high standards.

(Achieving World Class Schools: Mastering School Improvement Using a Genetic Model, by Paul Kimmelman and David Kroeze, Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Norwood, Mass., 2002, 320 pp., $44.95 hardcover)