Carefully chosen summaries to energize leadership, teaching, and learning

Praise for The Best of the Marshall Memo, Book Two

The Best of the Marshall Memo Book Two

"Some educators are gifted practitioners; some are gifted writers. A few, like Kim Marshall, are both. Over the 50 years I have known him, Kim has taken the concept of the 'reflective practitioner' to new heights. He does what few of us have the time, patience, or ability to do: He uncovers what’s “out there.” He reads more of the literature in the field than anyone I know. He reflects on the writing of school people and academics alike, selecting the most valuable pieces, organizing and making them easily accessible to others. The fruit of his work is offered each week as “The Marshall Memo.” Now, working with Jenn David-Lang, he has compiled selective pieces from the Memo into two valuable books."

—Roland Barth, author/educator


“If you would like to move discussions of educational practice and policy in your schools from tradition, opinion, and prejudgment to solid research and facts, then ask your faculty, leadership team, parents, and policy makers to study this book. Curated from more than a decade’s work by some of the world’s leading researchers and practitioners, The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two is not the place to look for easy answers to complex questions. Rather, it will challenge conventional wisdom, offer divergent perspectives, and provide practical insights that can be applied immediately to some of the most vexing challenges in schools. The chapters could not be more timely, including a thoughtful series of articles about race in schools. Each chapter includes activities for practical application and reflection for a deeply engaging professional learning opportunity. As readers around the globe know, if you haven’t read the Marshall Memo, you haven’t done your homework.”

—Douglas B. Reeves, Author/Consultant, and Founder, Equity and Excellence Institute


“Any educator can conduct a Google search and find multiple articles on almost any topic. So, why do we need the Marshall Memo? I’ll tell you why. The Internet provides us with information, from reliable to ridiculous. That’s where the Marshall Memo found its niche. My go-to for educational perspectives and research on most any topic is the Marshall Memo. Why? Because the content has been read, reviewed, and vetted for credibility. I don’t have to second-guess the credibility of the research, and Marshall provides a brief, impactful summary of each article. It’s designed to inform efficiently. I don’t know how they do it, but they do it and do it well. The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two, written with Jenn David-Lang, is an extension of this mission and should be on the bookshelf of every educator—dogeared, tattered, worn, and highlighted.”

—Ken Williams, Educator/Author/Consultant, Unfold The Soul/Sharpsburg, GA


“The Marshall Memo is the holy grail for education. Each week, readers can drink from the unending well of research, analysis, and guidance contained in its pages, offering a pathway on how we can achieve a more equitable educational system. In The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two, you will find quotes, article summaries, and professional development strategies to answer a range of questions, from assessment and absenteeism to writing and work/life balance. As a subscriber since 2007, I encourage you to quench your thirst this week with this excellent compilation of resources.”

—Shahara C. Jackson, Founding Principal, Summit Academy/Brooklyn, NY; currently: doctoral student, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Doctor of Education Leadership program/Cambridge, MA


“In my 49-year career, I have never met a more voracious reader of education-related literature than Kim Marshall. Since he launched the Marshall Memo almost 17 years ago, Kim has devoured numerous periodicals every week searching for salient articles to summarize and synthesize. Kim’s many years of experience as a teacher, principal, district-level administrator and educational consultant undergirds his capacity to spot the most useful, thought-provoking, and timely articles, and enables him to capture their “big ideas” for efficient consumption by busy educational leaders. This book, with coauthor Jenn David-Lang, offers the second compilation of “greatest hits” and deserves a prominent spot on your nightstand or desktop for ready reading and reference.”

—Jay McTighe, Author and Consultant, Coauthor with Grant Wiggins of Understanding by Design


“Professional reading not a high priority just yet? Think again. School-based leaders and practitioners require relevant, reliable, and contemporaneous information at our fingertips now more than ever; particularly, as we negotiate global health crises and embrace authentic anti-racist strategies in the service of truly realizing the American dream for all. The formidable collection of articles and resources that comprise The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two fits the bill nicely. Marshall and David-Lang have performed an incredible service on our profession’s collective behalf. Now, let’s get to reading. There’s not a second to waste.”

—David J Vazquez, Founder and Master Principal, Bronx Academy for Multi-Media/New York, NY


“The Marshall Memo has been a part of my personal leadership journey since the first publication in 2003. As deputy superintendent and superintendent in the Chelsea Public Schools in Massachusetts for 17 years, the Marshall Memo was my constant companion and go-to source. It was the place for me to learn, reflect, improve, and understand how to lead deep transformational organizational change on behalf of students and families. In 2012, we purchased a district-wide subscription, and the result was immediate and long-lasting. We began to have deeper and richer conversations at every level, and the Memo inspired the entrepreneurial educators in each school with the latest thinking and research from their chosen profession. Thanks to the Marshall Memo, we were able to build and support a transformational culture among our educators. And now Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang have compiled the very best of the Marshall Memo in two volumes, with professional learning suggestions for each topic. It feels too good to be true!”

—Mary M. Bourque, former Superintendent, Chelsea Public Schools/Chelsea, MA; 2017 Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year; Director of Governmental Affairs, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents/Bedford, MA


 “Within the complex and busy schedule of a superintendent and principal, time is precious. The Marshall Memo allows leaders to make research-informed decisions to transform practices within their learning communities. District 4 in New York City was fortunate to have the opportunity to preview Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang’s book during our monthly principals’ book club. These discussions sparked deep conversations and brought to life new ways of tackling current areas of improvement. This morphed into deeper discussion and actions that improved our schools. I look forward to using The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two in my new learning community, the Norwalk Public Schools, to ignite thought-provoking discussions with my cabinet and school leaders. This book is a must-have for all educational leaders and pedagogues.”

—Alexandra Estrella, formerly Community Superintendent, District 4/New York, NY; now Superintendent, Norwalk Public Schools/Norwalk, CT


“The Marshall Memo is a wonderful resource for educators. Every week, it brings together and summarizes the best of education-related writing from a wide array of sources. I always find something of interest in each issue. In this second volume of The Best of the Marshall Memo, Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang share the best of the best, organized by topics. For example, in a chapter titled “Race and the Education of American Students,” there are nineteen article summaries on topics ranging from handling discussions of race in the classroom to helping black males succeed, to culturally responsive teaching. Each summary is well-written and gets right to the core of the issues and effective responses to real problems. The Marshall Memo itself, and the book based on it, put readers into real-life classrooms with real kids. You can almost smell the broccoli cooking in the cafeteria and hear the busses pulling up outside as you read these insightful, inspiring, and pragmatic discussions of issues faced by teachers, principals, and other educators.”

—Robert Slavin, Director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education, Johns Hopkins University–School of Education/Baltimore, MD


“There is SO much out there regarding education, especially with current COVID-19 concerns! How do educators know what is the best research-based information on which we can make important and quick decisions? Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang succinctly share the most relevant ideas and insights to guide our actions in education. They do the research for us!”

—Kelly Hastings, Principal, Strike Middle School–Little Elm ISD/Little Elm, TX


“Since the beginning of the Marshall Memo, Kim’s summaries have always kept me current on the best thinking about good teaching and successful leadership—an invaluable resource. His first book with co-author Jenn David-Lang proved an excellent resource when looking for innovative ideas and the most persuasive studies on current issues. With their new Book Two, I have lightning access to the finest minds in our field.”

—Jon Saphier, Founder, Research for Better Teaching/Acton, MA


“I’ve been a subscriber to Jenn David-Lang’s The Main Idea book summaries for years. Her book summaries are salient, insightful, and ready for practical application. More recently, I have added the Marshall Memo to my professional reading and have found its article summaries equally helpful. The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book One and Book Two allow me to see and digest school leadership best practices with a wide-lens focus. Given the constant demands for educators’ time, these books are a practitioner’s best friend: efficient and useful.”

—Roland Shaw, Principal, Career Education Center Early College/Denver, CO


“As an educator for the last 18 years, I have long appreciated the summaries created by Jenn David-Lang and Kim Marshall. It is crucial to keep up with the latest educational research, but it is impossible for one person to sort through the countless articles, research literature, and books released each year. Their summaries help me to get an overview of a larger variety of resources than I could read on my own and then focus in on those that are most aligned with my work. Having their resources readily available alongside suggestions for professional development in The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two makes it even easier to find the targeted resources that will help support learning and growth in my unique school community.”

—Kimberly Swanson, Principal, Life Sciences Secondary School/New York, NY


“Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang have done the heavy lifting for educators by creating a curated guide to the best articles in the field with easy-to-read summaries, links to the original text, and connected professional development activities that are easy to use and share with staff and school communities. Combining Kim’s work on the weekly Marshall Memo with Jenn’s The Main Idea, a summary of the best books for educators with professional development tools, creates a remarkably valuable synergy—a resource that great educators can use each day.”

—Mark Shellinger, Director, National SAM Innovation Project/Louisville, KY


“Daily, the overwhelming amount of information that I receive as an educational leader can make me feel as though I am drinking from a firehose! But on the mornings Kim Marshall’s the Marshall Memo or Jenn David-Lang’s The Main Idea book summary arrive, the resources in my inbox feel manageable with these two gems. I feel more like I’m slurping from a garden hose! Now, in The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two, Marshall and David-Lang have taken the best of the last 17 years of Marshall Memos and organized them into three broad areas: mindsets, effective pedagogy, and continuous improvement. With this go-to professional learning resource (along with The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book One, of course!), they have once again managed to curate an unwieldy amount of available information into smaller, digestible gems from trusted sources.”

—Dawn G. Bentley, Assistant Superintendent for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion–Acton-Boxborough Regional School District/Acton, MA


“Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang have created a resource that is invaluable! As an educator with 29-plus years, the information I have gleaned from The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two is a must-have, go-to resource for all educators in all fields! Educators will gain a deeper understanding of issues that are at the forefront of today’s educational world. Kim and Jenn have done the work and research for you and compiled it into a user-friendly book! This is a resource that is excellent for professional development and a way to gain deeper understanding surrounding your biggest questions. Without a doubt, this book needs to be on your shelf—or rather, right by your working desk!”

—Kim Doepker, Principal, Garrison Middle School–Walla Walla Public Schools/Walla Walla, WA


“Every week Kim Marshall provides an invaluable service to educators across the country. He wades through and masterfully distills scores of educational articles that upend antiquated assumptions, deepen understanding, spark debates, and provide concrete, actionable guidance for promoting students’ learning and development. His writing is clear, engaging, and vibrant. This book, his second anthology of articles, covers a vast and vital territory, including effective pedagogy, developing teachers’ racial and cultural proficiency, and cultivating strong school leadership teams. Take this tour with Mr. Marshall and his coauthor Jenn David-Lang. Their knowledge of learning, teaching, leadership, and schools is remarkably wide and deep, and their hearts are in exactly the right place.”

—Rick Weissbourd, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education/Cambridge, MA


“Among the jewels in The Best of Marshall Memo: Book Two is a chapter entitled “Beliefs About Intelligence and Ability.” This collection of research regarding teacher and student mindsets disputes the notion that a student’s mental acuity is determined at birth. Instead, it sheds light on the malleability of intelligence, and how parents, teachers and children can train the brain like a muscle to build the self-efficacy a child needs to believe they can excel and have the individual agency to succeed through their own efforts. This chapter, along with the others in The Best of the Marshall Memo, Book Two, are a must-read for anyone interested in helping children reach and exceed their potential.”

—Ian Rowe, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute/Washington, DC; former CEO, Public Preparatory Network/New York, NY


“The history of American education is littered with examples of silly fads spreading far and wide while common sense and evidence-based practices remain stuck within the four walls of a classroom. The Marshall Memo breaks this tradition by giving educational leaders and their teams the best advice and analysis from around the nation and around the world. And in The Best of the Marshall Memo: Book Two, Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang give us the very best ideas and research from the Memo’s seventeen years.”

—Michael J. Petrilli, President, Thomas B. Fordham Institute/Washington, DC