Book Reviews

Focused Leadership

by Richard Castallo

Richard Castallo, professor of education at SUNY Cortland, provides both a systemwide plan and some practical thoughts on how to improve student achievement in his book, Focused Leadership.

Castallo approaches the hard work of improving student achievement from a systemic process. He describes the roles and responsibilities of key players, including the board of education and superintendent.

His book provides some practical ideas on how to bring each responsible party to a sharp focus on getting results in student achievement. For instance, Castallo offers feedback forms for the superintendent’s use with administrative staff. In addition, he details the steps of how to bring about curriculum alignment using the standards-driven model. He walks us through activities in goal setting, analyzing data, collaboration and communication that need to be in place for schools to make improvements in student outcomes.

All in all, this is a book written from the perspective of someone who has spent time in the schools trying to improve student achievement.

(Focused Leadership by Richard Castallo, Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Md., 2001, 97 pp., $15.95 softcover)