About the Author

NancySmallNancy Diggs’ seventh book, Breaking the Cycle, reflects her long interest in other cultures, which was enhanced by an early work exchange program in Switzerland and a B.A. in French at Case Western Reserve University.

Read Nancy’s Biography


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BookPlateSmallProceeds from your purchase directly support DECA.




Book Presentations

July 13, 2014, Nancy Diggs will speak about her book, Breaking the Cycle, at the world-renowned Chautauqua Institution. Her lecture begins at 2:00 pm and will be held in the Ballroom of the Literary Arts Center. The public is welcome.

Listen to the Interview

“A must-read for teachers, educators, sociologists, and reformers concerned about lost generations of at-risk students…”

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When an inner-city high school successfully graduates nearly 100% of their students and those same students go on to enroll in college or graduate at rates above 80%, it warrants looking into. That’s what led Nancy Diggs to investigate the Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) and question why it succeeds when so many other urban schools do not.
Stressing interactive, student-centered learning, along with innovative non-traditional methods, DECA raises the bar of expectations, all within a loving, family-like environment. The DECA family is exemplified by its “advisory” system, in which each teacher also serves as an advisor to some 12–16 students, who will stay together throughout their school careers. Advisors are responsible, too, for maintaining close relations with parents, who are also part of the DECA family.
With its holistic approach, the school not only promotes academic success, but furthers character development and social skills, preparing its students for college and for life beyond. Breaking the Cycle conveys the hopeful message that other schools can replicate much of what DECA does, and thus save an urban generation otherwise mired in despair.

Read the Foreword
Read the Preface

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