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High-Leverage Partnerships to Transform the High School Experience


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Michele Cahill's PowerPoint Presentation (PDF)

Robert Hughes's PowerPoint Presentation (PDF)

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Michele Cahill, Vice President, National Programs, and Program Director, Urban Education,
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Robert Hughes, President, New Visions for Public Schools
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

Participant Biographies

States and districts face enormous challenges in designing and executing effective strategies to turn around the lowest-performing high schools. Certainly, the vast majority of urban public education systems have been unable to bring even half their students to proficiency in academics and readiness for college and careers. Yet, recent studies show promising results when districts play a central role in shaping coherent strategies to transform high schools and partner with support organizations to expand educational opportunities for urban and low-income students.

On February 25, the Alliance hosted a webinar with two educational leaders—Michele Cahill and Robert Hughes—to talk about their respective roles in the redesign of secondary education in New York City that resulted in a more than 20 percent increase in the graduation rate—the largest in decades. The webinar addressed the district role in managing a portfolio of schools by maximizing partnerships with external organizations to fashion the elements of the reform. It focused on the lessons learned from this partnership that can help districts and states create innovative solutions to improve the outcomes of public school students, regardless of race or economic class.

A new policy brief released in January 2011 by the Alliance, “Meeting the Challenge: The Role of School Leaders in Turning Around the Lowest-Performing High Schools,” examines lessons learned from New York City’s decade-long work to produce substantive changes in secondary level teaching and learning. It highlights the central role of school leaders and districts in creating high school learning environments that can engage and support students with widely divergent learning needs. The brief concludes with a set of policy recommendations for the design of coherent systems to build human capital and foster the conditions for high school transformation.

This event was made possible with support from
Carnegie Corporation of New York logo


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