On Purpose

On Purpose
How Great School Cultures Form Strong Character

© 2011 | 208 pages | Corwin

Published in Association with Center For Education Reform

"This book reminds us that there is more to education than preparing students for high-stakes tests. It is our responsibility to intentionally develop the whole child."
—Irwin Kurz, Former Director of School Quality
Heritage Academies, Grand Rapids, MI

"Samuel Casey Carter shows how great cultures—not big bucks, smaller class sizes, different curriculums, or better buildings—are what we need to save our education system."
—Jay Mathews, Columnist and Author
The Washington Post

Discover how 12 ordinary schools achieved extraordinary results

Bestselling author Samuel Casey Carter showcases a dozen extraordinary K–12 public and charter schools where confident children joyfully strive to accomplish worthy goals in concert with their friends. These mainstream American institutions focus on a culture of character as their foundation and demonstrate scalable, sustainable, and replicable models for your school to emulate. The results are undeniable:

  • Students who are encouraged to build lasting personal character and a strong sense of purpose
  • Motivated teachers who feel rewarded for their hard work
  • Improved student achievement in multiple subject areas

Strategies for creating a healthy school culture, including intentionality and hands-on guidance by the principal, come to life through case studies. These compelling examples will help educators and parents focus on strong personal character as the desired result of genuine learning.

About the Author
1. Four Common Traits of Great School Cultures
A Strong Belief That Culture Determines Outcome  
A Nurturing but Demanding Culture  
A Culture Committed to Student Success  
2. Creating a Great School Culture
How School Cultures Are Made  
How School Cultures Form Character  
How Great School Cultures Drive Achievement  
3. Harvest Park Middle School, Pleasanton, CA
4. Veritas Academy, Phoenix, AZ
5. Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale, IL
6. P.S. 124 New York, NY
7. Providence St. Mel, Chicago, IL
8. Arlington Traditional School, Arlington, VA
9. HOPE Prima, Milwaukee, WI
10. Cotswold Elementary, Charlotte, NC
11. Atlantis Elementary, Port St. John, FL
12. Grayhawk Elementary, Scottsdale, AZ
13. An Achievable Dream Middle and High, Newport News, VA
14. Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, Franklin, MA
15. How Communities Can Help Form Great School Cultures
Selected Bibliography
Key features
  1. 12 case studies of highly successful schools that share common traits of great character and culture are discussed in detail
  2. Schools are varied in size, age-level, income-level, geography and include 2 Charter Schools so there is a real cross-section
  3. Research criteria for school selection is clearly laid out in Ch. 1 so readers can see how and why this was done
  4. Lessons learned from the 12 schools are summarized in the final chapter so that readers can start to use this information in their own settings

Sample Materials & Chapters



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ISBN: 9781412986724

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