Transforming High Schools: Resources to help school leaders create next-generation high schools and bolster the college and career readiness of all students, with a focus on accelerating success for traditionally underserved students. These resources navigate research and federal policy and provide detailed instructions and actionable recommendations for state and district leaders interested in implementing (1) early college high school and dual-enrollment programs; (2) Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs; (3) deeper learning; (4) personalized learning; and (5) career and technical education.
Preparing Students for Twenty-First-Century Jobs: The nation’s job market is changing quickly. Jobs favoring low education levels and manual skills are in decline while the fastest-growing job sectors require problem-solving, critical thinking, communications, collaboration, and other “deeper learning” competencies. These toolkits offer support and guidance to state education leaders and school district leaders as they consider whether to implement or expand a deeper learning initiative in their schools and districts.
The twenty-first-century economy necessitates, and rewards, higher education credentials and skill development. Earning a high school diploma is a necessary step toward entering the workplace, a fact not lost on education leaders and policymakers. This fact sheet introduces a collection of resources that focus in depth on instructional models and interventions proven to move students toward high school graduation and college and career readiness.
Early college programs offer students a wide-ranging curriculum of high school and college course work, enabling students to graduate with a high school diploma and up to two years of college credit. This fact sheet examines one such program, Bard High School Early Colleges, and includes a series of questions state and district leaders can use to evaluate whether this approach could meet local needs.
Research shows that students who participate in early college programs are more likely to enroll in and persist through college than non-early college students. This fact sheet examines the impact of a districtwide early college program in Pharr–San Juan–Alamo Independent School District in Texas. The fact sheet includes a series of questions state and district leaders can use to evaluate whether this approach could meet local needs.
Ninth grade is a critical year for setting the course to high school graduation, but often students’ grades, attendance, and attitudes toward school decline during this pivotal year. Transition support programs aim to disrupt this downward trajectory or prevent it outright. This fact sheet looks at three such programs and guides state and district leaders through a series of questions they can use to identify an approach best suited to students’ needs.
Top-performing countries across the globe set clear academic gateways that students must pass through during their primary and secondary school years. These gateways mark levels of achievement that, cumulatively, prepare students for gainful careers and/or postsecondary education. This fact sheet suggests ways that state and district leaders can reform their high school assessment systems based on international best practices to create a more meaningful experience for secondary students.
Research finds that a challenging academic curriculum is one of the most powerful levers to boost student learning and narrow achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. This fact sheet examines Louisiana’s approach to increasing rigor in the K–12 curriculum. It includes a series of questions state and district leaders can use to evaluate their capacity for implementing a similar strategy.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is an advanced course of study that spans all four years of high school and research finds that participation can boost high school graduation rates for students from low-income families. This fact sheet examines IB’s impact in Chicago Public Schools and guides state and district leaders through various questions they should answer when implementing the IB program.
In an apprenticeship program, individuals complete productive work for an employer, earn a salary, receive training through supervised work-based learning, and take academic instruction related to the apprenticeship occupation. Such programs can improve career prospects and outcomes for teens and young adults. This fact sheet looks at the impacts of one such program, South Carolina’s Apprenticeship Carolina, and includes a set of questions state and district leaders can use to determine whether a similar program could meet their students’ needs.
Career Academies integrate career-themed classes and rigorous academic course work to create stronger pathways from high school to postsecondary education and the workplace. This fact sheet examines the impact of Career Academies on students’ academic and labor market outcomes and includes questions state and district leaders should answer as they contemplate implementing the Career Academy approach.
Students planning to attend community college or enter the workforce directly from high school need technical instruction and work experience that result in industry designed and recognized credentials along with a high school diploma. This fact sheet examines the Delaware Pathways program, which provides students with career-readiness training through relevant work experience that leads to an industry-recognized credential and early college credit, in addition to a high school diploma. The fact sheet includes a set of questions state and district leaders can use to evaluate whether a similar approach could meet local needs.
The responsibility to deliver college- and career-readiness education programs and services has evolved to include an array of organizational partnerships and alliances. Some act as intermediaries or hubs that coordinate communications, policy, and curriculum with state and local districts. Others operate whole-school models within a school district. This fact sheet looks at two programs, Linked Learning and NAF (formerly National Academy Foundation), that build long-term workforce opportunities by connecting education and industry. It also includes a set of questions to help state and district leaders determine if an organizational partnership fits their needs.