Best in Class Cover

Best in Class

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Under Eric Mahmoud’s leadership, Harvest Prep and Best Academy have become Minnesota’s two most successful schools in closing the so-called academic achievement gap between White children and economically and socially disadvantaged children. In 2012, Best was ranked No. 1 in Minnesota for high-poverty schools; in 2013, Best was named one of the nation’s top five schools for educating boys of color.

This is the story of how Mahmoud did it—and how you can do it too.


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Product Description

According to Mahmoud, the achievement gap is really a combination of five: gaps in preparation, time, leadership, teacher, and belief. Schools must address all five and his Gap-Closing Framework provides a coherent and aligned model to accelerate student learning.

Best in Class provides examples of lesson planning and evaluation materials for teachers, and testing and support systems for students. Together, they give educators and administrators a complete picture of how this work is done. The book also discusses the “10 Best Practices” used by the top gap-closing schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

The book is intended to serve as an inspiration for “what is possible” in educating poor and socially disadvantaged children. Mahmoud believes that the problem is not the hardware—children’s minds—it’s the software and children are not being properly programmed for success. According to Mahmoud, when adults organize themselves for children’s success, there’s no limit to what children can accomplish, regardless of social, economic, or family circumstances.

About the Authors

Eric Mahmoud was born and raised in Philadelphia. He earned his engineering degree on an academic scholarship. Mahmoud has over 20 years’ experience in educational administration. He is founder and CEO of Seed Academy, Harvest Prep, Best Academy, Sister Academy, and Mastery School. Mahmoud has received local and national recognition for his work in educating economically and socially disadvantaged children. Mahmoud and his wife of 27 years, Dr. Ella Mahmoud, have four children and live in Minneapolis.

            Jeffrey A. Hassan, Esq., has attained his profession’s highest rating. After practicing in Washington, D.C., he returned to Minnesota and became outside legal counsel to Minneapolis Public Schools. Later, he expanded his educational practice and represented such clients as Harvest Prep, Best Academy, and the University of Minnesota. In 2012, Mr. Hassan was legal counsel and start-up coordinator for the new Mastery School. He recently wrote Crisis in Our Community: Closing the Five Educational Achievement Gaps.

Additional Information

Book Cover

Hardcover, Paperback


  1. 0 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    I want to acknowledge the success of Best Academy, Harvest Preparatory, and the Mastery Charter Schools. These highly effective schools are located in our immediate metropolitan, North Minneapolis area. A text, Best in Class: How we closed the 5 gaps of academic achievement, co-authored by outstanding K-8 educator Eric Mahmoud and Jeff Hassan, chronicles the journey of the student’s achievement and the schools’ accomplishments. I am not alone in the recognition of the importance of the evidence of the success presented by Best in Class. During an hour-long CNN Black in America broadcast with Soledad O’Brien, the schools in North Minneapolis showcase their students, teachers and a philosophical pedagogy that supports their success

    This book must become required reading for school districts, teachers, administrators, college and university teacher preparation programs because of our compelling need and desire to address the academic performance of all students. This text is a must read particularly because of our need to focus on increasing the achievement and preparation of socially and economically diverse learners.

    -Barbara B Washington
    Academic Equity Faculty
    Concordia University, St. Paul

  2. 0 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    This is one of the best books I’ve read on improving America’s failing educational system. It’s not long, gets straight to the point, and provides guidance on well-researched, practical applications of improving our society at its core – educating our children. This book also highlights from a high-level and establishes the platform for launching a cultural, educational institution. Big “thank you’s” to the Mahmouds!

  3. 0 out of 5


    125756 559254Music started playing anytime I opened this web site, so annoying! 707085

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