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Book Review                                         Pages 40-41

 

Every Child, Every Day

A Digital Conversion Model for Student Achievement

by Mark A. Edwards, Pearson, Boston, Mass., 2013, 240 pp. with index, $32.60 softcover

Book Review: Copyright for Schools

School system leaders ought to buy and read this work for its title, not its subtitle. Though the book successfully outlines the steps for a digital conversion, the results of focusing attention on every child, every day is what shines.

Author Mark Edwards, superintendent in Mooresville, N.C., exudes passion and purpose on every page. Yes, Edwards has completed digital conversions in two districts and been named superintendent of the year in two states and National Superintendent of the Year in 2013. But what’s most compelling is the dramatic achievement gains his district has attained: 90 percent graduation, 90-plus percent proficiency for every 3rd grade subgroup and a doubling of AP enrollment and scholarship awards.

Good schools build hope, Edwards says, and he proceeds to outline exactly how to accomplish the moral imperative of reaching Every Child, Every Day. He does so with hard-hitting prose, detailed to-do lists and anecdotes that captivate readers with his compassion, enthusiasm and good ideas.

For every technical solution Edwards offers, there are at least two nontechnical keys to achieve districtwide success: creating a culture of caring, transforming instruction, using data and generating “all in” ownership. This book is worth reading simply for the good ideas on district achievement — whether or not one is moving toward digital conversion.

Edwards does make a strong case for 1:1 computing by discussing in detail how the benefits outweigh the expenses. The biggest benefits, he says, are engaged teachers and students, working in real time with real-world, hands-on issues. Using on-line assessments, he says, means that results are instantly available and can be plotted by students, encouraging them to take stronger ownership of their own learning. And he shows that the costs are manageable — even for one of the lowest-funded schools in North Carolina during the recent deep recession. My copy of Edwards’ book is now chock-full of highlighting, sticky notes and turned-down pages.

This book will appeal to district and school leaders — both those interested in the moral imperative of reaching Every Child, Every Day and those who are moving toward 1:1 computing. Although not quite a how-to book, it does include helpful examples and bulleted lists of good ideas in every chapter.

It is no accident that the introduction is written by governors in the two states where Edwards has been named superintendent of the year. The appendices list nearly 200 districts that have visited Mooresville, N.C., to learn first-hand of success. This book is worth buying and reading with staff.

 

Reviewed by Larry L. Nyland, retired superintendent, Marysville, Wash. 

 

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