This book explores in-depth the unique aspects of school culture and student personalization characteristic of small learning communities in order to offer insights and suggestions to school reformers, particularly those in urban centers, at all levels and in any kind of school. The authors share conclusions from their original research based in four small learning communities in Boston, MA and Oakland, CA, offering student voice, implications for practice, and suggestions for improving school reform based on the school culture and personalization found in these small learning communities.
Gilberto Q. Conchas obtained a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of California at Irvine. Dr. Conchas also holds joint appointments in the Chicano/Latino Studies and Sociology Departments. Prior to UCI, he was Assistant Professor of Education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Dr. Conchas' work focuses on inequality with an emphasis on urban schooling systems. His research specifically focuses on the sociocultural processes within the urban school context that structure variations in educational opportunity for low-income immigrant and U.S-born Latino, Asian American, and African American youth. He is the author of The Color of Success: Race and High-Achieving Urban Youth (TC Press, 2006). Dr. Conchas teaches courses on theory, policy, and practice about race and urban schooling. Louie F. Rodriguez obtained a doctorate in education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in Urban Education and Social Foundations at Florida International University in Miami. He is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Urban Education and Innovation at FIU. While at Harvard, Dr. Rodriguez worked with several urban elementary, middle and high schools and communities as a teacher, consultant, and researcher. He also led several research initiatives examining high school reform, school culture, educational policy, and school dropout. His current research examines the intersection between school reform, educational policy, and school culture, specifically as they relate to preventing or perpetuating student/teacher engagement and dropout. He has several articles under review in academic journals, has published in various education-related magazines, and has presented his work at several national conferences. Dr. Rodriguez teaches courses in urban education, educational policy and theory, and social and cultural foundations in education. Dr. Rodriguez was born and raised in the Chicano communities of San Bernardino, CA.