This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
day, often with our whole student body. The level of joy and cooperation between our students and our staff is at an all-time high, and our teacher turnover rate has gone down close to zero. Most inspiring for me is that our stu-

dents are more happy and positive. My staff and I have enjoyed seeing the friendliness and joy of our students grow. In the last Cal- ifornia Healthy Kids Survey, our students reported the highest happiness levels in San Francisco. You do not expect that from zip codes 94124 and 94134, neighborhoods that experienced 41 murders from 2005 to 2007. The last five years have been the most up-

lifting of my career. I have a renewed hope. I have concluded if we truly address the needs of the whole child we can make dramatic leaps forward in our educational success. But we need to think outside the box and address the healthy brain development of our students and staff. On the surface, it appears crazy to some

educators that we have two 15-minute peri- ods a day when our students “do nothing.” In reality, they are not doing nothing; they are collecting themselves so that the rest of the day is much more productive. The Quiet Time program is a cutting-

edge, 21st century educational initiative I believe can help us realize the goals of mod- ern education: help our students grow into healthy, well educated, well adjusted, happy, contributing members of society. I retire with the lowest blood pressure I have had in 10 years and a great optimism about our ability to realize this vision for education. n


Journal of Clinical Psychology. (1989). “Dif- ferential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-anaylsis.” Ep- pley, Abrams & Shear. Wiley Periodicals.

Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. (2009). “Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult working memory.” Evans, G. & Schamberg, M. www.pnas. org_cgi_doi_10.1073_pnas.0811910106.

James S. Dierke is retiring principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School. He was NASSP National Middle School Principal of the Year in 2008.

September/October 2012 17

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40