Established in 1971, the Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the nation, serving more than 16,000 members. In the ACSA Leadership magazine, President David A. Gomez reviews highlights of the September/October 2012 issue in a letter to readers: 21st century school: Learning and teaching in the classroom and beyond.
Here is what he says about Jim Dierke’s article: Classroom learning can’t happen if students aren’t in school, or if behavior problems and stress levels inhibit success. A San Francisco program called Quiet Time, which engages students in classroom meditation, has tackled these problems successfully. “No matter how much effort we put into teaching, if we don’t effectively address the pervasive underlying tension and trauma experienced by our youth, we can’t make real progress,” writes Jim Dierke, who initiated the program in his middle school (page 14).
A Quiet Transformation by Jim Dierke (pages 14-17) tells the story of what took place in Visitacion Valley Middle School when he was principal. Stress not only contributes to violence and behavior issues, it impacts focus and memory, fundamentally impairing a child’s ability to learn and make good decisions. Dierke’s decision to implement the Quiet Time program transformed the lives of hundreds of students, teachers, staff, and the school as a whole. As a result of the dramatic turnaround, James S. Dierke was selected as the NASSP National Middle School Principal of the Year in 2008. The program was so successful, the Superintendent implemented the Quiet Time Program in a few other schools in their district. See this video and others mentioned at the end of the post: The David Lynch Foundation Quiet Time Program in San Francisco Schools.
When you open the PDF of the article use the Open With Different Viewer option in the upper right. Save the pdf and open it with Adobe and it should have the missing part of the last sentence I added. The last sentence should read: I retire with the lowest blood pressure I have had in 10 years and a great optimism about our ability to realize this vision for education. If you download the digital version of the issue, you’ll be able to read it as it appears in the magazine.