Districts That Succeed

Districts That Succeed Breaking the Correlation Between Race, Poverty, and Achievement

Karin Chenoweth
paper, 192 Pages
Pub. Date: May 2021
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-626-1
Price: $32.00

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cloth, 192 Pages
Pub. Date: May 2021
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-627-8
Price: $60.00

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In Districts That Succeed, long-time education writer Karin Chenoweth turns her attention from effective schools to effective districts. Leveraging new, cutting-edge national research on district performance as well as in-depth reporting, Chenoweth profiles five districts that have successfully broken the correlation between race, poverty, and achievement.


Districts That Succeed provides valuable exemplars of school districts that have beaten the odds, raising academic achievement of children who supposedly can’t learn effectively. Karin Chenoweth provides clear descriptions of these cases and masterfully reveals what it is that district leaders must do to put their schools on track for success. — Timothy Shanahan, distinguished professor emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago

In this timely and important book, Karin Chenoweth takes a broad look at America’s public education system and shows us how the leaders of successful school districts create and maintain the conditions in which students are most likely to thrive. Through examples that reflect the country’s diversity and its many challenges, she elicits key lessons and inspires us with a sense of what is possible. — Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Inspirational yet practical, Karin Chenoweth’s latest book reflects lessons gleaned from the field that debunk a relationship between background and achievement. A must read, Districts That Succeed highlights an award-winning recipe for quality learning experiences that yield both academic and social/emotional success for all students. — Susan S. Bunting, secretary of education, Delaware Department of Education

Chenoweth emphasizes that the programs used to raise achievement aren’t as important as good staff, challenging lessons and community support. What she reveals about what can go wrong is often as important as what can go right. — The Washington Post

By highlighting five school districts’ varied but fruitful paths to success, Districts that Succeed provides some useful, specific ideas on how to pierce the seemingly intractable problem of equity in American public education. — Washington Independent Review of Books

Chenoweth gives readers an inside seat on the ups—and downs—of improving an entire district. Districts that Succeed is a great book for anyone wanting to rise to that challenge of making districts better. There are many positive lessons here for school board, district leaders and building leaders. — School Administrator

This easy-to-read book is filled with tangible strategies and tools that can be implemented to create a successful district…[It] would benefit any superintendent, principal, district leader, or educator looking to make a change. By offering valuable information about the advantages of collaboration, self-awareness, and adaptability, Districts That Succeed makes for a great guide to navigate and solve real-world problems in education. — American School Board Journal

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About the Author

Karin Chenoweth is the writer-in-residence at The Education Trust, a national education advocacy organization that works to improve the academic achievement of all children, particularly children of color and children who live in poverty.  

She is author of four books previously published by Harvard Education Press:

Schools That Succeed: How Educators Marshal the Power of Systems for Improvement (2017);  
Getting It Done: Leading Success in Unexpected Schools, coauthored with Christina Theokas (2011);  
HOW It’s Getting Done: Urgent Lessons from Unexpected Schools (2009); and  
It’s Being Done: Academic Success in Unexpected Schools (2007).  

She is also the creator of the ExtraOrdinary Districts podcast and its pandemic spinoff, ExtraOrdinary Districts in Extraordinary Times.   

A longtime education writer, she wrote a weekly column on schools and education for the Washington Post for five years and for several years wrote regular posts for Huffington Post and the now-defunct Britannica Blog. She was senior writer and editor at Black Issues In Higher Education (now Diverse); reporter and editorial editor of the now-defunct Montgomery Journal; and a stringer with a byline for UPI reporting from Ankara, Turkey. Her work has appeared in Education Week, Kappan, and Educational Leadership. She graduated from Columbia University’s School of Journalism in 1979.

Table of Contents


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