Leonard Covello Essay

Cheap Custom Writing Service

Leonard Covello was the twentieth-century’s leading theorist and practitioner of community-centered schooling. He dedicated much of his career to the development of Benjamin Franklin High School for Boys in East Harlem and promoted that school’s role in the educational improvement of the entire community.

The son of a southern-Italian family that immigrated to East Harlem in the mid-1890s, Covello attended New York City schools in an era of Anglo-conformity. His personal experience of the anti-immigrant bias of these institutions shaped his lifelong commitment to intercultural education and cultural democracy. Following his graduation from Columbia University in 1911, Covello embarked on a teaching career in Romance languages in the city high schools. From 1914 to 1934, with the exception of a two-year hiatus for military service in World War I, he taught at DeWitt Clinton High School, where he chaired the Department of Italian and led a successful citywide campaign to give Italian parity with other modern foreign languages.

Covello played an instrumental role in establishing Benjamin Franklin High School, a high school for boys in East Harlem, where he served as principal from 1934 to 1956. Dedicated to the local democratic development of East Harlem’s constituent ethnic groups and the revitalization of this stressed immigrant district, Covello organized a pioneering community school infrastructure at BFHS that included a community advisory council with multiple subcommittees, adult education and recreational services, a school-based community newspaper, and a set of street units for social clubs and community research bureaus.

Every facet of the community program was education centered, explicitly designed to reinforce the high school’s instructional program. Community advisory committees and social clubs, for instance, educated East Harlem parents about interethnic tolerance at the same time their sons were learning these lessons in the high school’s intercultural program. School community partnerships with East Harlem social agencies and large-scale community organizing efforts, such as housing, health, and citizenship campaigns, mobilized local educational resources in the service of the high school.

Although community-centered schooling did not last beyond Covello’s retirement, his project, viewed in hindsight, offers an inspiring vision of “active” citizenship as a public purpose of the U.S. schooling system. The major repository for the Covello-era BFHS is the Leonard Covello Papers, MSS 40, housed in the Balch Institute Collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Covello articulated his philosophy of community-centered schooling in numerous publications, including his autobiography, The Heart Is the Teacher (1958), and his 1944 Ph.D. dissertation, “The Social Background of the Italo-American School Child” (1967).


  1. Covello, L. (1967). The social background of the ItaloAmerican school child: A study of the southern Italian family mores and their effect on the school situation in Italy and America. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
  2. Covello, L., with D’Agostino, G. (1958). The heart is the teacher. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  3. Johanek, M. C., & Puckett, J. L. (2006). Leonard Covello and the making of Benjamin Franklin High School: Education as if citizenship mattered. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

This example Leonard Covello Essay is published for educational and informational purposes only. If you need a custom essay or research paper on this topic please use our writing services. EssayEmpire.com offers reliable custom essay writing services that can help you to receive high grades and impress your professors with the quality of each essay or research paper you hand in.

See also:


Always on-time


100% Confidentiality

Special offer!