The book describes the author's experiences as an instructional coach at an underperforming high school, with a graduation rate of 30 %. The book discusses the reasons why students are failing at this high school, and offers suggestions for improving the school. It includes "hard to believe but true" anecdotes of events he witnessed during his year at the school. This book challenges the status quo of US education systems, and calls for a re-tooling of curriculum and instructional practices.
The neighborhood around the school is rough. About three blocks from the school, there is a Subway Sandwich Shop. One morning at about 7:20, I stopped to buy a cup of coffee. Trying to be aware of my surroundings, I noticed a scruffy looking man approaching the restaurant as I was about to get out of my car. He looked sort of like Redd Fox without the suspenders. I thought, I'll bet he will ask me for money, so I waited for him to pass. He stopped right next to the Subway entrance, calmly took out a joint and lit up. He paid no attention to the middle school children passing by or the police car stopped at the corner. When I arrived at school, I stoppe one of the security officers and shared my story. He chuckled, and said, "Welcome to _______________.
Nelson R. Reidar’s career in education has spanned 41 years, from teaching at the elementary and high school levels, serving as a middle school assistant principal, an elementary principal, a director of curriculum and instruction, and an assistant superintendent. He has taught classes at the university level in supervision / evaluation of instruction and effective teaching methodologies. He has taught principles of United States education to groups of educators from China, South Korea, and Brazil. He has conducted numerous Program Quality Reviews and Distinguished School Reviews. He is certified as a School Assistance Intervention Team (SAIT) provider by the California Department of Education. He has two great sons and three grandchildren. He has a passion for education that will continue in his new role as an education consultant.