Book Review: Student Mobility: Creating an Environment for Social and Academic Success by Jane Stavem.

Author:Goss, David L.
Position:Book review
 
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Jane Stavem defines student mobility as "... movement in or out of a given school during the course of a school year" (p. 11) for reasons beyond grade placement or advancement. Stavem spends the first few chapters reviewing student mobility and its impact on public schools in the United States. She spends the middle chapters discussing what she refers to as the "ins and outs" of different points of consideration for schools, teachers, and administrators when working with mobile students. Another chapter draws on the experiences of four administrators who work in districts ranging from rural to urban. She provides a list of essential questions based on each chapter, scenarios for group discussions, and a "Mobility Action Plan Framework" to wrap up her book.

Stavem is the associate superintendent of instruction for the Lincoln Public Schools system in Nebraska. This is a district that, in 2015, had nearly 40,000 students. She's currently serving as an Advisory Board Member for Lied Center for the Performing Arts, Board of Directors for the Junior of Achievement of Lincoln, and Member Board of Directors for Educare of Lincoln. Previously, she was the Superintendent of Schools for Blaire Community Schools, a rural district in Nebraska. She also served as a principal and Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Columbus Public Schools in Nebraska.

Stavem (2014) suggests that "the problem [of student mobility] has not been on our educational radar ... [because] the epidemic has been growing silently but steadily and it is only beginning to reach the critical mass required to capture the attention of national policy makers" (p. 63). I recently taught in a school in Austin ISD that had a 24% mobility rate with 656 students. This meant 160 students did not start or stay in the same school over the course of one year. The issue of student mobility has definitely reached "critical mass" in many high needs schools in the Austin area.

However expanding, pervasive, and critical this issue may be, it seems that it is avoided by many because of the seemingly untouchable nature of the issue. Stavem (2014) articulates the purpose of her book when she states, "Knowing we have little control over the endless revolving door for students who come and go from school to school ... we have to begin focusing on the things we can control. What can be controlled are the processes schools use to manage student mobility over time, to provide consistency and quality of...

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