Transforming Sanchez School

Transforming Sanchez School: Shared Leadership, Equity, and Evidence

Raymond R. Isola, Jim Cummins
ISBN: 978-1-934000-41-0
Paperback: 216 pages
Published: November, 2019

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Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Education, UCLA

In this detailed analysis of the Sanchez School, Isola and Cummins describe the processes and strategies employed by educators to transform this school into one capable of addressing the varied and complex needs of its students. Educators will appreciate the detailed nature of the analysis presented. Instead of simply offering platitudes and “research-based” practices, the authors take a practical approach in describing the obstacles the school encountered on its journey toward progress and how these were addressed. Thoughtful, insightful, and accessible, this book will be a useful resource and a helpful guide to educators who genuinely seek to make a difference.


Richard A. Carranza

Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

Transforming Sanchez School vividly documents the power of educators to promote academic achievement by closing opportunity gaps faced by low-income linguistically and culturally diverse students. Rooted in a philosophy of shared leadership, over a 13-year period the school developed and implemented evidence-based systems, structures, and policies that generated teacher agency, affirmed students’ identities, and expanded parent and community engagement. Unlike many schools across the nation pressured to raise standardized test scores, Sanchez School refused to narrow the curriculum, instead focusing on enrichment through the arts, literacy engagement, and expansion of students’ bilingual skills. Educators and policymakers alike will find insight and inspiration in the remarkable story of Sanchez School. 


James S. Dierke

Executive Board Member of The American Federation of School Administrators

Raymond and Jim have outlined many successful, and some time-honored approaches, to including urban intercity bilingual learners in the modern learning process. Their book covers a vast amount of acquired knowledge that brought about effective and positive changes to the educational institution. This new look at education for all was the starting point for teachers, administrators, parents, and community partners in bringing about a total and cooperative student learning process at Sanchez Elementary School. This total team effort resulted in a wonderful transformation of the learning process at Sanchez Elementary School and is a model for other schools to follow. This was a bottom-up, not top-down, approach to educational change.


Lorenzo Ortona

Consul General of Italy in San Francisco

In his 13 years as principal at San Francisco’s Sanchez Elementary School, Raymond R. Isola opened up an important dialogue between educators and parents who believed in preparing their students to cultivate their talents and nurture their imaginations. Throughout Isola’s tenure, co-author and educational researcher Jim Cummins observed Isola’s community of educational equity and how Isola became a trailblazer in introducing Italy’s inspiring Reggio Emilia approach to a California public school. A powerful, educational story of how schools can transform from blank canvases to works of art, as told by an Italian American who sought to close gaps experienced by low-income, socially marginalized students.