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August 1, 2009
Vol. 66
No. 11


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      Hope is the thing with feathers. That perches in the soul, And sings the tune—without the words,And never stops at all. —Emily Dickinson
      <BQ> Hope—the ideas and energy we have for the future. Hope drives attendance, credits earned, and GPA. … Hope scores are more robust predictors of college success than are high school GPA, SAT, and ACT scores. —2009 Gallup Student Poll National Report </BQ>
      The 2009 Gallup Student Poll, the first in a series of 10 surveys to be conducted annually, asked more than 70,000 students in grades 5–12 to rate their agreement with such statements as “I energetically pursue my goals,” “I can find lots of ways around any problem,” and “At this school, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”
      The findings of the poll are mixed: 50 percent of students express their abundant hope and energy for the future, but one-third see themselves as stuck, and 17 percent report being discouraged.
      Although the findings are not overly positive about the state of students’ hopefulness, what is encouraging about the survey is its commitment to assessing the intangibles that lead to student success: hope, engagement, and well-being. As the researchers note: By measuring these three characteristics, the Gallup Student Poll aims to create a more hopeful story about American education in which students' well-being and success matter.
      This collection of articles, The Best of Educational Leadership 2008–2009, has a similar aim. Throughout the year, our authors have explored the best ways to realize the multiple goals of schooling. Their messages can be distilled in the following eight recommendations:
      • Create a positive classroom where both joy and learning flourish.
      • Expect excellence—and insist on equity—for all students.
      • Give students ownership of their own learning through instilling both responsibility and empowerment.
      • Be discerning about data. Use meaningful data to plan new directions and evaluate past decisions.
      • Learn to lead through reflection and experience and continue this practice throughout your career.
      • Ride your own learning curve. Embrace the benefits of technology, including new interactive literacies.
      • Know the students you teach, welcoming all newcomers; be willing to try new strategies to ensure every student’s success.
      • And, finally, teach social responsibility so that our students learn to take care of themselves, one another, and their planet.
      As we end this publishing year, we reflect on Educational Leadership’s good fortune—for example, four award nominations, expert authors and practitioners who generously share their best thinking and practice, and, most important, a thriving readership. We also acknowledge that, like you, we cannot be satisfied, but must continually strive to improve. We hope you will find in this collection of articles useful new ideas that will help you transform schools into places where all students and educators will soon say,
      “At this school, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”
      <ATTRIB>—Marge Scherer</ATTRIB>
      <NOTE> Special Bonus: Inside these pages, you will find an index to all the fine articles in Educational Leadership 2008–2009. You can search this index online, too, at </NOTE>
      End Notes

      1 Lopez, S. J. (2009). Gallup Student Poll National Report. Washington, DC: Gallup, Inc. and America’s Promise Alliance. Available:

      Marge Scherer has contributed to Educational Leadership.

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      Best of Educational Leadership 2008–2009
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