the report

About the Report

Social Venture Partner members asked Dr. Joseph Silver to review the progress at Camelback High School since 2009 and confirm what they were seeing, a major turnaround in the culture and student outcomes. They also asked Dr. Silver to opine as to which of the many programs that the principal and SVPAZ had implemented were the most helpful and vital to the turnaround.

Finally, they asked how to sustain and replicate the apparent success at Camelback High School. Dr. Silver visited Phoenix several times during his study of the outcomes at Camelback High School during which visits he:

  • conducted three workshops with various groups of participants and stakeholders
  • interviewed most of the major participants from the SVPAZ education affinity group
  • informally met with 50 or more students and teachers
  • conducted an online survey of a representative sample of the student body
  • attended one of the monthly dinners at Vincent’s restaurant with six of the students

The main focus of the three workshops was to establish a time line of events since Dr. Gestson had become principal. As noted in the report, after his review Dr. Silver opined that Camelback High School has been moved from a “failing school” to a “school with promise.” He was particularly in agreement with Dr. Gestson’s early efforts to change the culture with the idea that student outcomes could not improve without that improved culture. Culture in this context means safety and attitudes of students and staff. Download the report here.


The change is real

Excerpted from the Silver Report, this document highlights the results of the changes made at Camelback High School. Download this report to read what the students have to say about the transformation at their school. Download Camelback High School Now: What the Students are Saying (.pdf)

Download the Full Report

Silver and Associates 2013 Report

About Dr. Joseph H. Silver, Sr.

Dr. Joseph H. Silver, Sr. is the Managing Partner of Silver and Associates, a full service higher education consulting firm. The firm has a fifteen year track record of assisting colleges and universities solve complex problems, accreditation issues, and developing sound strategic planning. Dr. Silver was an Advisor to the firm for many years and recently assumed the position of Managing Partner. Dr. Joseph H. Silver Sr. served as President of Alabama State University. A dynamic and innovative educator and leader, Silver was described as having the “expertise, background and vigor to continue the University’s important Vision 2020 Plan and its academic and physical transformation, well into the 21st century.”



  • Vice President of the Commission on Colleges at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs at Savannah State University
  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clark Atlanta University
  • President Alabama State University
  • Managing Partner of Silver and Associates, a full service higher education consulting firm
  • Recipient of the leadership award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education’s (AABHE) (going forward, the award has been named the “Joseph H. Silver, Leadership and Mentoring Award” in his honor)
  • Presented the NAPAHE (National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education) 2014 Award for Professional Achievement

“Camelback High School has been transformed from a ‘failed school’ to a school with promise.”

Silver and Associates report, June 10, 2013

Join the Conversation

This website is a case study of a school transformation experience. The conclusion so far is that schools can benefit greatly from the time, talent and treasure of those in the local community.

Can the student outcome improvements generated at Camelback High School can be sustained and replicated? Or were the improvements only due to a unique synergy among this particular group of highly-motivated students, teachers, community leaders and an uninhibited principal?

Let's discuss.

Social Venture Partners Arizona


For inquiries about the Success is Mandatory program case study, Camelback High School or the Phoenix District, please email Kellie Burris: