They’re Not Stupid: Unleashing the Genius of Each Student

Cover of They're Not Stupid










They’re Not Stupid: Unleashing the Genius of Each Student

© 2017 Rowman & Littlefield, and CSSR, Inc. | Joseph Dimartino and Jason B. Midwood


About The Book

It has long been assumed that school redesign can’t happen in already existing comprehensive high schools. The thought has been, if you want to make real change, start your own school. While it seems expedient to follow this path, two decades of pursuing change by building new schools has left the majority of high school students trapped in traditional settings that have continued to provide less than adequate educational opportunities for the vast majority of adolescents. The authors believe that the challenge facing America’s high schools is how best to support change in schools. Through this book the authors will demonstrate how real change can come about while providing concrete examples from work in schools and classrooms, with multiple stakeholders, and with local and state leaders over the past 20 years. It may take more time and entails accepting the fact that each school’s unique culture requires a unique journey to transformation. This book presents a variety of strategies that can be employed in changing existing high schools rather than creating new schools.


Early Reviews

“No matter when or how you start a conversation with Joe Dimartino the substance of the interaction will turn into a discussion about how we can make “all students” successful, not just successful in school, but successful in life! Do you know what I mean by that? Not just being able to have students remember a fact for a test, but instead, to have students find the knowledge from “within themselves”. Joe’s life in education has been about this for decades. His deep understanding for what powerful personalized learning systems can do, combined with Jay Midwood’s equally strong commitment, forms the heart of this book, and it should be the heart of your work as well.”

– Ray McNulty, Dean of the School of Education, SNHU, Manchester, NH


“We know what we need to do for American high school students—heal the rift between them and their own education. The challenge is figuring out how to do this for all students, not just the few who are lucky to land in small, boutique learning communities. How can our already established, mainstream public high schools help students become agents of their own learning? DiMartino aand Midwood’s book, fired by passion for teenagers and distilled from decades of experience, has answers.”

– Justin Wells, Executive Director, Envision Learning Partners, Oakland, CA


“For decades, Joe DiMartino has been on a quest to personalize schools and classrooms giving students and staff more voice and choice and all the while maintaining a strong network of support in and across schools. This book draws on his and Jay Midwood’s s experiences to provide an excellent resource to increase student engagement and schoolwide change that keeps students at the center.”

– Eliot Washor, Co-Founder, Big Picture Learning


“Systems change can be a tough proposition, particularly when we’re expecting long-entrenched interests to yield to something new and threatening to the status quo. DiMartino and Midwood provide an excellent roadmap for HOW to put students at the center of learning, not by fiddling at the edges with piecemeal reforms, but to really re-imagine what schooling is and can be for young people. By providing a portfolio of options, and freeing students from the bonds of traditional curriculum, instruction, and assessment, we allow new ways of learning and knowing to develop, and let students blaze their own successful pathways into the future.”

– Denise Wolk, Director, Engaging Schools