How Eight Innovative Public Schools Are Transforming Education in the Twenty-First Century

Monica R. Martinez and Dennis Mcgrath

The acclaimed exploration of how public education can cultivate innovators—
with a new foreword by Russlynn Ali, a leading advocate for remaking schools

book 2

Available at:
Barnes & Noble


A wonderful book that should be read by every educator,
parent, and policy maker.
—Tony Wagner, Author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap


Dime-a-dozen ideas for reforming education seem to be everywhere these days; few actually transform the everyday experience of the 50 million plus students who are regularly subjected to traditional lecturing, note-taking, and rote learning—often with dismal results. Enter Deeper Learning, “a fast read [that] will interest educators who want to produce self-motivated, passionate learners” (Library Journal) by education strategist Monica R. Martinez and sociologist Dennis McGrath. Offering “uplifting” (Kirkus Reviews) anecdotes in what Tom Carroll of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future calls a “compelling book [that] reveals how eight schools are navigating the transition from industrial-era teaching to twenty-first-century learning,” the authors provide a blueprint for creating flexible environments that put students at the helm of their own collaborative learning experience. This paperback edition features a foreword by renowned education advocate Russlynn Ali on why America needs a new way of learning and will empower and inspire educators everywhere to address the need for schools to be genuinely innovative.

“Features schools in California,  Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A quick and lively read, with well-told anecdotes . . . The book delivers what it promises: inspiring stories that show you what ispossible.”

“The best book on education I have read in 2014. . . I will be sharing this with every educator that I know.”
Iowa Teacher Of The Year Finalist
Bettendorf Schools

Monica R Martinez and Dennis McGrath_by Irene Young e1442730234973


Dennis McGrath & Monica Martinez

“Communities across the nation must use the principles outlined in this book to fundamentally transform schools.
Executive Director

“It is a fast read and will interest educators who want to produce self-motivated, passionate learners with a goal that looks beyond passing tomorrow’s quiz.”

“Great examples with many that could be applied to any school. I will be sharing this with every educator that I know. “

“No book has shaped my approach to adult learning for school improvement more than Deeper Learning.  The case studies the book offers serve as a virtual coast-to-coast tour of relevant, rigorous, and relationship-driven learning that is happening in public schools today.  These powerful images of innovative practice show what’s possible, and the companion materials provide a helpful – though not prescriptive – road map for how to get there.  I urge all educators to read this accessible book from cover to cover, and then to step back and reflect on the types of practices they can adapt and adopt in their context in order to consistently produce deeper learning competencies.  Our students deserve nothing less.”

JENNIFER L. HUSBANDS, Ph.D., Executive Director,
Schools That Can


read more praises below

Impact Academy
Envision Schools
MC2 STEM High School
Avalon Charter School
King Middle School
Available Now
Science Leadership Academy
Rochester High School
High Tech High
Casco Bay High School


“The Deeper Learning book, joint with the DL Planning Guide from Monica Martinez and Dennis McGrath represent a powerful toolkit for school transformation.For my team, guide and book have been useful as inspiration and as tool in the quest of promoting transformation in local schools towards a student centered education, connected with the real life.”
José Ignacio Uribe Dorado
Jefe de gestión para la innovación educativa
Educación y desarrollo escolar

“In the tradition of Ted Sizer, Pedro Noguera, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and other innovative thought leaders, Martinez and McGrath provide inspiring examples of what deeper, student-centered learning looks like in practice. Communities across the nation must use the principles outlined in this book to fundamentally transform schools into places where Deeper Learning flourishes as a rule rather than an exception.”
Executive Director, Annenberg Institute
for School Reform at Brown University

“The best book on education I have read in the year 2014. Really great look into what makes deeper learning possible for schools. Great examples with many that could be applied to any school. I will be sharing this with every educator that I know. “
Iowa Teacher of the Year Finalist and Instructional Coach,
Bettendorf Schools in Bettendorf, Iowa

Read full review.


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – These days there are many books about the state of education– some describing the reasons why we have fallen behind other countries in student achievement, others with some answers on effectiveness in schooling. But a recently printed book caught my attention, “Deeper Learning” not by the title, but by its organization. In citing 8 schools that are “transforming education,” their strategies for change are not isolated into 8 chapters. Instead, where the value of partnerships is discussed, examples from various sites are described.

It was good seeing Philadelphia’s relationship of the Science Leadership Academy with The Franklin Institute set as an example. Mentors and “buddies” from the partner institutions are important in kids’ education, often providing volunteer and apprentice opportunities.

Dual attendance is common; students can enroll for college courses, and primarily teachers are easily accessible guides, not heavy lecturers. The goal is to instill critical thinking in all the students.

Read about the excellent schools showcased in the book and feel encouraged about education

The Deeper Learning (DL) movement stresses student-directed, collaborative work, critical thinking, mastery of essential content, effective communication, and problem-solving skills over education delivery methods used in schools today, which are portrayed as outdated, passive, and boring. Martinez (educational researcher and strategist) and McGrath (sociology, Community Coll. of Philadelphia; coauthor, The Collaborative Advantage: Lessons from K–16 Educational Reform) highlight eight public secondary schools, each with significant minority enrollments and free and reduced-price lunch populations, to show the DL principles in action. Flexible schedules, independent student work time, less teacher oversight, mentoring, networking with outside experts, and finding hooks that draw students into their own educational process are all discussed. One chapter speaks to technology, which is deemed an essential tool that ideally adds to, rather than interferes with, the educational process. VERDICT: This book offers a clear introduction to DL ideas and methods and the motivation behind them. It is a fast read and will interest educators who want to produce self-motivated, passionate learners with a goal that looks beyond passing tomorrow’s quiz. New Pr. Jun. 2014. 224p. notes. index. ISBN 9781595589590. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781595589941. ED—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX. Library Reviews

“Deeper Learning is both informed and informative. From California to Maine, eight exemplary public schools show us how teachers and principals are finding creative ways to impact the learning and life chances of high school youth. This book is a clarion call to celebrate the imagination and commitment of educators in these and other stellar public schools.”
NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education,
and Human Development

“Deeper Learning is a refreshing reminder that the best schools are defined by a commitment to motivating, challenging, and connecting students to their own lives and their own learning.”
senior associate, Carnegie Foundation
for the Advancement of Teaching