Retired Principal James Dierke writes about “a Quiet Revolution” that took place in his school

Leadership Cover Sept:Oct 2012Established 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.

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3 Responses to “Retired Principal James Dierke writes about “a Quiet Revolution” that took place in his school”

  1. Lisa Alva Says:

    I’m a high school Title One Coordinator in Los Angeles, researching best practices for dealing with epidemic taridniess. I stumbled upon Dierke’s story at VVMS and was impressed, then looked up their SARC. What has happened at VVMS? Test data is down – not that test data is the only measure of success, but the decline is dramatic. Any help? Our school is in a transition and accreditation phase – I’m researching pitfalls along with best practices. Thank you.

    Like

    • Ken Chawkin Says:

      Thanks for your question, Lisa. I will forward your inquiry to Jamie Grant in charge of implementing Quiet Time school programs for the David Lynch Foundation. He was involved in that program at VVMS and can answer your questions.

      Best,
      Ken

      Like

  2. Scott Cawelti: It’s about time for “Quiet Time” | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] for Leadership, a publication of the Association of California School Administrators. He concluded, “I retire with the lowest blood pressure I have had in 10 years and a great optimism about […]

    Like

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