Mark Naison: The Genius of Luis Torres

Mark Naison salutes a principal in the Bronx, Luis Torres, who has overshadowed the Success Academy co-located in his Building because his school is more innovative, more dynamic than the test-taking machine at SA.

Mark calls him “a genius.”

“One of the most brilliant and important achievements of PS 55’s visionary Principal, Luis E Torres, is that through innovative programming and a relentless public relations campaign, he has totally overshadowed the Success Academy Charter School co-located in his building! Normally, Success Academy tries to humiliate and stigmatize the public schools it is co-located by pointing out how much better it’s performance is! Not at PS 55! Here, the action, innovation and excitement is all with the public school, whether it is the scientific and pedagogical innovations of the Green Bronx Machine, the school based agriculture program housed at the School; the full service Medical clinic Principal Torres has created; or the school’s championship step team and basketball team! People from all over the city and the nation come to see what Principal Torres has done; while Success Academy stays in the background.”

Was it competition that spurred Torres’ creativity? Or was he an exemplary principal who wanted the best for his students regardless of the competition?

Segregation in the District of Columbia: A New Analysis

The Albert Shanker Institute is noted for the high quality of the studies it releases, thanks largely to the high standards set by social scientist Matthew DiCarlo.

Its latest product is a study of school segregation in the District of Columbia.

Unlike many other studies, this one includes private and charter schools.

The press release, with a summary of results, is here:


I said earlier there would be only one post today. This was supposed to appear tomorrow, not today. It is a good study, but I wanted you to know I meant to have only one post today and I goofed again.

Check Out The Trailer For “Permanent” Filmed In Richmond

A trailer has been released for “Permanent,” the coming-of-age comedy which filmed last summer in Central Virginia, including Richmond.

The film, written and directed by University of Virginia graduate Colette Burson (“Hung”) stars Rainn Wilson (“The Office”) and Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”).

Set in the 1980s, the story is based on a memorable moment from Burson’s high school career at E.B. Stanley Middle School in Abingdon, Va.

Last August, the movie filmed on Pump House Drive near Maymont, according to the Times Dispatch.

VCU Rams Men’s Basketball: 2017-2018 Preview

The Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball program has enjoyed 11 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins. More important, it has made seven consecutive postseason appearances in the NCAA’s national championship tournament. Top those numbers off with 99 consecutive sell-outs at the Siegel Center, and it adds up to lofty expectations.

The Rams’ new head coach, Mike Rhoades, 45, doesn’t need to be told that Rams fans have developed high expectations. That, in spite of the number 10 factor, which is how many players on the roster who’ll be playing their first game in a VCU uniform at the Nov. 10 season opener: Grambling State at home at 7 p.m. on MASN.

Before Rhoades’ three-year stint as head coach at Rice University (2014-17), he spent five years as an assistant on former Rams head coach Shaka Smart’s bench. So, Rhoades also knows loyal Rams fans want to see a fast tempo, and he has already promised to deliver exactly that.

The likely starting five for that first tilt includes the four men who played for Rhoades’ predecessor, Will Wade, last season. They are: 6-foot-7-inch senior Justin Tillman, a preseason all-conference pick, 6-foot-1-inch senior point guard Jonathan Williams, 6-foot-5-inch sophomore De’Riante Jenkins, and 6-foot-4-inch sophomore Malik Crowfield. The fifth man will probably be 6-foot-7-inch Khris Lane, a senior transfer with one season of eligibility.

At a recent news conference, Rhoades said he plans to play 10 or 11 men in his regular rotation. The most likely sixth man could be 6-foot-6-inch sophomore Issac Vann. He red-shirted last season, meaning he practiced with the team but didn’t play in games. He looks like a scorer.

It appears the next four off the bench will be (in alphabetical order): freshman Lewis Djonkam, freshman Tyler Maye, freshman Marcus Santos-Silver, sophomore transfer Mike’l Simms. Of those four, look for Maye and Simms to develop into significant contributors.

Speaking of expectations, the Atlantic 10 Conference’s beat reporters rated VCU as No. 4 in their preseason poll. With so many new players being counted on to make important contributions that prediction says something about media respect for the program.

As senior leaders, Tillman and Williams need to become more steady and dependable for the Rams to reach their goals this season. Speaking of expectations, what’s the best thing about having so many new players?

With a smile, Rhoades said to reporters, “They’re going to get better.”