March 28, 2006

Buy Joanne Jacobs’ Book (If You Haven’t Already) Week

This is an -mail I got from Joanne Jacobs, who Charlene and I have met a few times:

Bloggers helped me launch my book, Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds (Palgrave Macmillan), with a November blogburst for Buy Joanne Jacobs’ Book Day. Sales were strong for the first three months, but they’re slowing down, so I’ve declared Buy Joanne Jacobs’ Book (If You Haven’t Already) Week. I’m not so concerned about spiking the Amazon numbers this time, but March 31 is my birthday and it would be nice to have a birthday spike.

In case you've forgotten, Our School follows the principal, teachers and students at Downtown College Prep, a San Jose charter high school that turns underachievers -- most come from low-income Mexican immigrant families -- into serious students. The charter school’s educational philosophy is: Work your butt off. Students aren’t told they’re wonderful. Teachers tell them they’re capable of improving, which turns out to be true. On California’s Academic Performance Index, which came out last week, Downtown College Prep is a 7 out of 10 compared to all schools, a perfect 10 compared to similar schools. All graduates go on to college; 90 percent remain on track to earn a four-year degree.

While the book discusses the charter school movement as a whole, Our School isn’t written for wonks. Readers tell me it’s a page-turner. So far, it's received excellent reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Sacramento Bee, Washington Post, New York Post, Rocky Mountain News, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Publishers Weekly and others.

The book is in some, but not all, book stores and is available through Amazon

After 19 years as a San Jose Mercury News editorial writer and Knight Ridder columnist, I quit in 2001 to write Our School and to start an education blog,, which averages 1,300 visitors a day.

With all the despair about educating "left behind" kids, I think people need to hear about a school that's making a difference.

Thanks for helping.

-- Joanne Jacobs

One thing Joanne told us that just delighted me, was the story of how her family came to the new world, from (I think it was) Moravia. Farmers from Moravia had emigrated to Canada, and flourished on the abundant farmland. They wrote home that they were very happy, except for one problem--there were no Jews around! There was no one to buy and sell things. So they asked the folks back home to send some Jews, and thus Joanne's family moved to Canada...

Posted by John Weidner at March 28, 2006 8:34 PM
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