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What Makes a School the Best?

Why do students in dozens of countries from Canada to China continue to outperform American students in math, science and reading, and what does that mean for the future of our kids? Milken National Educator Award winner and Sweetwater Education Association member Keith Ballard sought answers with a decadelong, self-funded study of 170 schools in countries that regularly beat us on international exams. Stealing From the World’s Best Schools is his first-hand account inside top classrooms, along with hard data, his experience as a public school teacher — and anecdotes from his adventurous travels. He explores eight elements of the world’s most successful education systems and advocates for sweeping change as well as practical, incremental steps we can all take to get there. On Amazon.

A Poet and a Teacher

Restless Gold: Musings About California Pupils and Other Verses by David William Salvaggio, is inspired by his 35 years as a teacher. In the collection of 85 poems penned from 1980 to 2020, the CTA/NEA-Retired member shares lyrical insight into four decades filled with social change, wars, political upheaval, two pandemics, discrimination, and civil unrest as he taught high school students from all walks of life. With both humor and heartache, he witnesses struggle, failure, victory, and the power of love and hope to overcome all darkness. On Amazon.

Middle School Horror

Nobody can explain why Sophia Kershaw’s classmates have disappeared. Does it have something to do with the arrival of their strange new 7th grade teacher? At first, Mz. (“not Miss, not Mrs., not Ms.”) Salem is playful and kind, but she becomes increasingly sinister as her students begin to vanish on their way home from school. Vanishing of the 7th Grade, by middle school theater and creative writing teacher and UTLA member Evan Baughfman, goes on to
tell what Sophia does once she suspects that her teacher is responsible for the missing children. The novella is the latest by the prolific author and playwright. On Amazon.

Inside a Poet’s Head

Elmo Kelley, a member of Fontana Teachers Association, has been an elementary school teacher in Fontana Unified for 24 years. But he started writing poetry 30 years ago as a way to express his feelings and deal creatively with life issues. In January Kelley published Traveling Through My Mind: Volume 1, a collection of poems covering subjects such as the current pandemic, schooling, the trials and tribulations of relationships, and more. He invites readers to “strap on your seatbelt and enjoy the journey.” On Amazon.

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