Principal shaves head as part of reading bet

Eight months ago, school principal David Silver made a deal with students at "Think College Now," in Oakland. If they read 100 million words by the end of the school year, he would shave his head.
June 16, 2010 6:25:15 PM PDT
Eight months ago, school principal David Silver made a deal with students at Think College Now in Oakland. If they read 100 million words by the end of the school year, he would shave his head.

Today was the day of reckoning. As unpleasant as that may sound, Silver was happy to take all off, because that meant his students had read a lot over that past months. This is how the school tracked their reading.

A computer kept a record of the number of pages in a book, once the student read it, he or she was given a test. In order to get credit for reading that specific book, the students had to score an 85 or higher.

"Kids are motivated as long as you give them something that is tangible for them. So when you have a big idea, kids, families and others can get behind it," Silver said.

"I think everyone understood, like, you can get a lot out of reading and working hard to achieve your goals," fifth grader Ameerat Elebute said.

More than 200 elementary students, teachers and parents were waiting for Silver in the courtyard at noon. When he came out, he displayed with great pride his big bushy hair and was treated like a rock star by the kids.

The students quickly chanted, "Shave it off, shave it off!" Members of the student council and those students who read the most, were given the honor of cutting off a piece of Silver's hair.

Then a school staff member began shaving if all off as kids cheered on.

Think College Now is one of Oakland's small schools located in the Fruitvale District, an underserved area of Oakland. Silver started the school in 2003.

"When we started, we had less than 10 percent of our kids at grade level or above and now we have 66 percent of our kids at grade level or above in English language arts and 81 percent in math," Silver said.

Think College Now is ranked among the highest performing schools in California.

"I said to Mr. Silver, Mr. Silver one day I am going to do something so good that you are going to regret it and I'm holding it right now and I feel proud," student council president and fifth grader Erik Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez smiled as he held a bag with Silver's locks in his right hand.

Silver chose not to go completely bald, so that he could carve the initials of the school on his head.


Load Comments