New project explores the problematic legacy of American high schools — and how to transform them for the better, forever
GreatSchools.org’s “Transforming High School” spotlights innovative ways educators are reinventing high school to make it more effective for all students
OAKLAND, CA (February 14, 2022) — As parents across the country mull over school options for their children as enrollment and class registration deadlines are imminent, a new project is highlighting practices to look for in a high school. Education nonprofit GreatSchools today announced the launch of “Transforming High School,” a bilingual collection of videos, articles, podcasts, and tools that aim to build public will for evolving high school by inspiring parents and educators to embrace transformative, equitable practices and policies.
As the academic and social-emotional toll of the pandemic becomes clearer, research suggests the education system is at a dire inflection point. Over the past two years, absenteeism and dropout rates have risen steadily among high schoolers, with many seniors — especially those from low-income families — abandoning college plans altogether. Pre-pandemic achievement gaps between Black, Hispanic, and Native American students and their white and Asian peers widened, underscoring the need for high schools to invest federal funds in proven practices that will keep all students engaged in learning and prepared for postsecondary success.
The project spotlights how educators across the country are innovating to create more equitable and effective experiences for their students. At TransformingHighSchool.org, parents and educators can explore over 30 articles, a 7-episode podcast season, and 13 videos in English and Spanish on topics such as:
- Creating an anti-racist school
- Culturally-responsive teaching
- How schools are (and aren’t) addressing race
- Making high school reading more inclusive
- Equitable grading in high school
- The power of student internships
- Helping teens cope with mental health issues
- The importance of later school start times
- and more
Through the experiences of students and educators from diverse communities across the country, Transforming High School offers a data-driven look at best practices that any school could adopt.
“High school should be a place for all students to feel supported, affirmed, and challenged,” said teacher Evelyn Lara of IDEA Frontier College Prep, a charter school in Brownsville, Texas whose success is featured across Transforming High School. “When I expose my students to materials that are more closely connected to their identity and culture, I see a genuine love of learning emerge. Through Transforming High School, I hope other educators will gain inspiration to bring these practices to their classrooms and parents will feel empowered to advocate for their child’s learning.”
GreatSchools began the two-year project with a thorough landscape analysis, consultation with school design experts, interviews with experts, parents, and educators, and leveraged GreatSchools’ annual data analysis on over 8,600 high schools with outsized college success among low-income students.
“American high schools are not working for many kids — but especially those from under-resourced and immigrant communities,” said Carol Lloyd, GreatSchools’ Editorial Vice President. “While this information isn’t new, our approach to fixing it can be. Transforming High School demonstrates how schools are finding truly innovative ways to support all students, while shining a path for parents and educators to advocate for transforming high schools in their communities.”
Transforming High School was made possible with support from the Barr Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York. Current partner organizations for the project include: The Oakland REACH, He Is Me Institute, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Transcend Education, UnidosUS, and Univision.
GreatSchools is the leading nonprofit providing high-quality information that supports parents pursuing a great education for their child, schools striving for excellence, and communities working to diminish inequities in education. We are the only national organization that collects and analyzes data from all 51 state departments of education and the federal government to provide analysis, insights, and school quality ratings for parents, partners, researchers, and policymakers. Over 49 million users visit GreatSchools’ award-winning website annually to learn about schools in their area, explore research insights, and access thousands of free, evidence-based parenting resources to support their child’s learning and well-being. Learn more at GreatSchools.org and join us on Twitter and Facebook.