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A CALL TO ACTION: High School Alliance Issues Six-Point Framework for Transforming High Schools

"To create deep and lasting change, all six core principles must be addressed."

A new report provides leaders at the national, state, district, school, and community levels with a common framework for building public will, developing supportive policies, and then implementing the practices needed to radically change the traditional, factory-model high school that tracks and sorts students. The report, A Call to Action: Transforming High School for All Youth, released by the National High School Alliance (HS Alliance), provides civic and policy leaders with a framework of six core principles and recommended strategies for preparing all students for college, careers, and active civic participation.

The report is the result of the HS Alliance’s work over the past two years to tap the expertise of its diverse partnership of more than forty national organizations. During that time, the HS Alliance asked its partners what it took to produce high academic achievement, close the achievement gap, and promote civic and personal growth among all high school-age youth. In its research, the HS Alliance identified six core principles, which it labeled as “inter-related and non-negotiable,” to improving high schools, which are as follows:

  • personalized learning environments;
  • academic engagement of all students;
  • empowered educators;
  • accountable leaders;
  • engaged community and youth; and
  • integrated system of high standards, curriculum, instruction, assessments, and supports.

“To create deep and lasting change, all six core principles must be addressed,” the report reads. “The principles are interdependent and must function as part of a comprehensive plan that focuses on ensuring that all students are ready for college, careers, and active civic participation.”

More information on the report is available at


Governors Seek Input from Students on Redesigning the American High School


As part of its yearlong campaign to redesign the American high school, the National Governors Association (NGA) is reaching out to students to learn their expectations and frustrations with the nation’s high schools. The survey will give governors valuable insight into the high school experience of today and acts as a tool to involve students involved in the debate.

“The voice of students has been missing in this conversation about high school reform that has been going on among the experts and policymakers,” said NGA Chairman and Virginia Governor Mark Warner (D), who has made the focus on high schools his chairman’s initiative. “The Class of 2005 may have the best ideas we need. If the students we are trying to help don’t see the value of redesigning high school, we are wasting our time.”

Last month, NGA released the initial results from the survey, which was launched in February. Even though statistics say otherwise, most of America’s high school students believe they are adequately prepared in basic reading, math, and science skills. The rest, about one third, say their high schools are not properly preparing them in many areas that are vital to their future success, such as the ability to think critically, analyze problems, and communicate effectively. About 43 percent do not believe that they are acquiring practical and essential life skills from high school, while a third feel overlooked by their high school.

NGA will release the complete survey results prior to their annual meeting, scheduled for this summer in Des Moines. The survey is available at


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.