The Alliance and many other organizations are working to improve and modernize the high school instructional model to better prepare students for success in the twenty-first century. As part of this collaborative effort, a growing number of schools, often called next-generation high schools, are changing their approaches to student learning by emphasizing personalized and active learning experiences; encouraging students’ deeper learning outcomes; implementing learning assessments that allow students to demonstrate mastery, creativity, and critical thinking; providing high-quality and continuous professional development for teachers; and using time flexibly during the school day.
In 2015, President Obama seized on the momentum from many individual and organizational efforts and urged the education community to work together to redesign the nation’s high schools to ensure all students graduate with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in a global innovation economy. Today, district, state, and federal education agencies; educators; philanthropies; businesses; advocacy organizations; and nonprofit partners support the next-generation high school movement and increasingly are working together to transform the high school experience. These collaborative efforts include commitments to (1) develop and launch 100 additional next-generation high schools serving more than 50,000 students during the next five years; (2) expand access to rigorous course work for more than 600,000 students; and (3) provide more than $375 million in public and private financial support.
However, there is much work to be done if all students in the United States, especially those who are traditionally underserved, are to receive the quality education and preparation necessary for success in the twenty-first century. The Alliance is connecting the numerous public and private high school redesign efforts underway through a digital network infrastructure and building the capacity of communities to develop next-generation high schools through a series of resources. The next-generation high schools toolkits translate significant research and supportive federal policy and provide actionable recommendations that state and local practitioners can use to make next-generation high schools a reality in this generation for every school district.