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Introducing City School Stories

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Evaluating the success of America’s public schools has become a national focus. Elected officials, business leaders, wealthy philanthropists, and a host of educational entrepreneurs are typically the individuals who have been most active in characterizing the performance of today’s public schools for the American media. These non-educators generally do not speak well of the effectiveness of our public schools and systems.

In August of this year I launched my own blog

The purpose of City School Stories is to tell the story of urban public education in America from the perspectives of the real experts: the principals and teachers who daily work and live in city school communities. These are the people who best know what is taking place in any particular school. Yet they are seldom offered the opportunity to describe or explain their work to the general public.

During the 2010 school year, Confessions of an Urban Principal, my story as one urban principal, will appear on City School Stories in two weekly installments on Mondays and Wednesdays. The posts will describe the daily events of an urban elementary school from the perspective of the school’s principal. The story told in Confessions of an Urban Principal highlights the 2004-2005 school year at Meade Elementary School in Philadelphia.

Tuesdays and Thursdays will be reserved for Reflections: Then and Now posts or for guest contributors. As this site becomes established, readers will be invited to share their stories concerning their own classrooms and schools. To help potential contributors, I will first post a short reflective piece that will serve as a point of focus for readers’ sharings. Reflective posts will be based on ideas that are explored in the twice-weekly Meade entries.

Every day we accomplish our mission of educating the youth of our society and we need to let the world know of our successes. Your comments and personal stories will help to tell the general public of our challenges and rewards as urban educators. Most importantly, by creating a forum for collectively telling our own stories, we say that we will not continue to be passive victims of ill-conceived school reform strategies. We instead insist on being recognized and treated as the knowledgeable professional educators that we are.

Occasionally posts from City School Stories will be cross-posted on the Notebook blog. I appreciate the willingness of the Notebook to help me to reach a greater audience for this project.

When you have some free time, come visit me on

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