Doing What Works Provides Research-Based Dropout Prevention Practices

The Obama administration has placed a high priority on increasing high school graduation rates, creating new programs, such as the High School Graduation Initiative[1], to support states, districts, and schools graduate students college and career ready. Research suggests that key strategies for keeping students in high school involves challenging them with rigorous content, engaging them in real-world learning experiences, and providing them significant, tailored supports.

Early College Schools: Success Built on Support

By Andrea Berger (guest blogger)

Early College Schools affiliated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Early College High School Initiative strive to enroll students from populations typically underrepresented in colleges and enable them to graduate with at least one year of college credit. Despite enrolling students not typically viewed “college material,” Early College High School students earned an average GPA of 3.1 in college classes and graduates earned an average of almost one year of college credit.[1]

Highlights of Early College High School Enrollments and Outcomes

By Aimee Evan (guest blogger) Early College High Schools (ECHSs) are intended to bridge high school and college by creating a hybrid school that combines both high school and postsecondary experiences. ECHSs are not programs per se; rather, they are whole school reform models that combine grades 9-12 and postsecondary into one institution.  Most ECHSs are designed to serve students that are underrepresented in higher education—those from low-income families, racial/ethnic minorities, and first generation college students.

Secretary Duncan: New Assessments Prepare Students for College and Careers

In a speech hosted by Achieve last week, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan repeatedly emphasized the goal of preparing students for colleges and careers.  Secretary Duncan’s speech was primarily about state consortia working together to create common, rigorous assessments, and he mentioned college- and career-readiness 18 times, framing it as a central goal of developing common standards and assessments. 

Slow and Steady in the Race to Reform

As we’ve posted recently, much of the RTTT, as well as School Improvement Grant, reforms will focus on high schools. A recent report from the Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard University provides some timely lessons about how high schools improve and become exemplary[1].  

The AGI report details the stories of 15 high schools in six states and highlights five steps that these high schools took to become exemplary:

Goals and Priorities for Comprehensive Centers Program Approved

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Assistant Secretary recently approved the goals and priorities of Year 6 that will appear in the cooperative agreement for the national network of comprehensive centers, which includes the National High School Center.  These centers, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education, include 16 Regional Comprehensive Centers (RCCs) and 5 national content centers.

Race to the Top Winners Promise High School Innovations

Race to the Top (RTTT) round two award winners were released yesterday, and the news is good for the nine state winners and the District of Columbia.  Though we’ve devoted previous blogs to round two finalists’ applications, we’re now taking a closer look at high school-specific proposals in the winning states.  Though many states have exciting and successful high school initiatives already up and run


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