Meeting the Challenge: The Role of School Leaders in Turning Around the Lowest-Performing High Schools
In the face of the economic downturn, how do we address the dismal graduation rates in the US? What steps can high schools take to properly propel their students into college and life? This policy brief addresses high school improvement and the imperative to focus on advancing the ability of principals and teachers to significantly increase student learning and school performance. It reviews the limitations of previous high school reforms and examine the conditions under which evidence-based designs for school improvement can lead to improved student learning.
Generally, the implementation of many top-down reform strategies has failed to produce substantive changes in secondary-level classroom teaching and student learning. Recent studies reveal promising results from an approach to high school improvement that focuses on the role school leaders and districts must play in shaping a coherent response to transforming high schools. To meet the nation’s educational goal of ensuring that all graduates are prepared for college and careers, states and districts must craft comprehensive systems based on principles of accountability, leadership, and empowerment, thereby creating the conditions to dramatically improve high schools.