Since the fall of 2001, Pedro Noguera, who is the Judith K. Dimon Professor in Communities and Schools at the Graduate School of Education, and a team of research assistants have been interviewing 10th-graders in 10 Boston Public Schools and gathering their insights on which practices are effective and which are not. “So much of what is going on in the name of improving schools is having a devastating impact on the neediest kids,” Noguera began in an address to nearly 200 public school teachers, administrators, and community collaborators on April 8, 2003, at the John F. Kennedy Library. He presented the preliminary findings of his study, “Pathways for Student Success: How the Structure and Culture of Schools Influences Academic Performance” at a Fleet Forum, the lecture series that falls under the auspices of the Boston-Harvard Leadership Development Initiative. Surveys, interviews, and observations inside and out of the classroom showed that when teachers challenge students to understand ideas and the administration demonstrates an investment in their progress, students show higher levels of achievement. But when teachers are more focused on formula than substance – for instance, when test prep is used to compensate for a lack of core academic preparation – performance suffers.