High School Redesign Initiative

In February 2013, during his State of the Union Address, President Obama announced the High School Redesign initiative. The initiative will encourage schools to develop new college and career pathways through a $300 million competitive grant program.  On June 7, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan followed up with details on the competition. Along with his announcement, the U.S. Department of Education released a fact sheet, Redesigning America’s High Schools, outlining the competition’s purpose, what it might look like, and examples of schools already implementing many of the practices the challenge hopes to promote.

According to the fact sheet, the initiative hopes to encourage a “rethinking of the high school learning experience, and challenge schools to” do the following:

  • Redesign academic content and instructional practices 
  • Personalize learning opportunities 
  • Provide academic and wrap-around support services 
  • Provide high-quality career and college exploration and counseling 
  • Offer opportunities to earn postsecondary credit 
  • Provide career-related experiences or competencies 
  • Strategically use learning time in more meaningful ways
  • Provide evidence-based professional development 

The fact sheet also highlights promising examples of schools and districts from across the country that are using innovative strategies to ensure students are graduating college and career ready by linking their education to real world experiences. These schools are:

The Department hopes the High School Redesign initiative will encourage schools to be more innovative when it comes to school design, moving away from more traditional approaches to education. 

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