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National High School Center News and Events

E-News for Better High Schools

This electronic newsletter is distributed quarterly and shares our latest tools and products, news and events, and research regarding high school improvement. If you are not yet on our mailing list and would like to be added, please click here.

December 2012 April 2011 September 2009 October 2008
July 2012 December 2010 July 2009 February 2008
March 2012 August 2010 June 2009 September 2007
December 2011 May 2010 April 2009 February 2007
September 2011 December 2009 January 2009 September 2006

 

Archived Spotlights

2012

What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on English Language Learners
ELL report coverA report from the National High School Center and the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) found that ninth grade course performance is more predictive of high school graduation for English Language Learners (ELLs) in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) than other ELL-specific indicators, including English language proficiency level and whether students experienced interruptions in their education. The study also found that ELL students who were newcomers to CPS after age 12 were less likely to graduate than other students with the same grades and attendance. The most important factor associated with these lower graduation rates was the quality of schools these students attended, suggesting that ELLs who arrive in CPS after elementary school may struggle to navigate CPS’s system of high school choice. Read the complete press release. (May 2012)

On July 11, 2012, experts from the National High School Center and CCSR offered a Webinar to discuss the findings and implications of the report for schools and districts trying to improve graduation rates for English Language Learners, and to emphasize the importance of monitoring ELLs’ progress through high school. View the archived Webinar and presentation materials.

June Webinar Series on College and Career Readiness!

If you missed our June college and career readiness Webinar series, you can now access archived materials from each of the presentations. Nationally-recognized experts and practitioners in the field of college and career readiness shared their perspectives on defining and actualizing college and career readiness for all students. Webinars included:

June 5, 2012: The Complexity of College and Career Readiness
June 12, 2012: College and Career Readiness and Linked Learning
June 19, 2012: College and Career Readiness and Students with Disabilities
June 26, 2012: Aligning Resources, Structures and Supports for Actualizing College and Career Readiness

Learn more about the Webinars and presenters, and how to view archived Webinars!

College and Career Development Organizer

This college and career development organizer was created to synthesize and organize an increasingly complicated and crowded field of college and career readiness initiatives. The organizer, composed of three strands, can be used to map the efforts of SEAs and LEAs as well as the many organizations devoted to researching and providing support for college and career readiness. The organizer can also be used as a set of building blocks to help SEA, LEAs, schools, and other organizations develop college and career readiness strategies and initiatives to address student needs. Stakeholders can use the components of the organizer to ensure that they are designing comprehensive college and career readiness definitions and strategies that address all aspects of the field that are essential to their context. (April 2012)

A Systemic Approach to Implementing Response to Intervention in Three Colorado High Schools

Implementing RTI in high schools requires educators to work across traditional boundaries. This brief presents a portrait of RTI implementation in three Colorado high schools as well as the state and district practices that support implementation at the school level. (March 2012)

Aligning Tiered Interventions with High School Initiatives Webinar
This Webinar was held on March 13, 2012 and was supported by the National High School Center, the National Center on Response to Intervention, and the National Center on Intensive Intervention. In this Webinar, Judy Elliott, former Chief Academic Officer of Los Angeles Unified School District, and Jill Martin, Principal of Pine Creek High School and 2007 NASSP/MetLife High School Principal of the Year, described how they have made their systems more efficient and effective by aligning tiered interventions with other high school initiatives. Lou Danielson, Director of Research for the National High School Center, moderated questions from participants. At the end of the Webinar, Jessica Agus, Research Assistant for the National High School Center, provided an introduction to the new online High School Tiered Interventions Community of Practice and invited participants to join the discussion through a live online chat.

Early Warning Systems Community of Practice
The National High School Center’s Early Warning Systems (EWS) Community of Practice is an online interactive community to allow EWS users and interested persons an opportunity to obtain technical or implementation support, learn from others, and share EWS strategies with other practitioners. The Community will provide members space to engage in discussions, post questions, participate in polls, and find supporting documents for National High School Center-related products.

To join the Early Warning Systems Community of Practice:

  • Navigate to http://community.betterhighschools.org.
  • Complete the “Join and Learn More” form in the upper right of the home page.
  • After you register, you will receive a verification email from nhsccommunity@air.org containing your password and additional instructions. This message will be sent automatically by the system immediately when you register; please check your spam/junk folder if it does not reach your inbox within a few minutes of registering. If you do not receive it all, please email Marshal Conley (mconley@air.org) for assistance.
  • Click the image for the Early Warning Systems group on the community home page and click the “Join” button when you reach the Early Warning Systems home page.
  • Please let us know if you have questions. If you need technical support accessing the community site, please contact Marshal Conley (mconley@air.org) for assistance.

Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City’s Small Public High Schools of Choice
A new MDRC study finds that new, small, New York City public high schools that are open to students of all academic backgrounds have substantial impacts on rates of graduation with Regents diplomas for every disadvantaged subgroup of students that was examined. It also found a positive effect on a measure relating to college readiness and a five-year graduation rate measure. (January 2012)


2011

Dropping the Dropout Rate
A recent California news article highlights two California schools that are piloting the National High School Center's Early Warning System Middle Grades Tool. Lakeview Middle and Silverado High schools are among 20 schools in nine districts across California that are engaged in a pilot project, in collaboration with the California Department of Education, that is aimed at curbing dropout rates. The program’s effectiveness was the subject of a recent report, “On Track for Success,” coauthored by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at John Hopkins University and funded by AT&T. (December 2011)

Making the Move: Transition Strategies at California Schools with High Graduation Rates
The American Institutes for Research (AIR), as a partner in the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd, worked with the K-12 Innovation and Improvement Office (formerly the Middle Grades Improvement Office) at the California Department of Education to conduct a study on student transitions from the middle grades to high school. AIR contacted nine California high schools with higher-than-predicted graduation rates and three of their feeder middle grades schools to determine what strategies they use to help students transition into and graduate from high school. This paper summarizes these key transition and graduation strategies and discusses the implications for practitioners and policymakers across the state. (November 2011)

October is National Bullying Prevention Month
During the month of October, PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center is engaging and educating communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant and interactive resources as part of its National Bullying Prevention Month. Communities nationwide are urged to plan for and take part in October’s National Bullying Prevention Month, which include events like Unity Day, and Unity Dance Day. For more information, visit the PACER Center's Web site or read more on our blog. (October 2011)

Our ProductTiered Interventions in High Schools: Using Preliminary “Lessons Learned” to Guide Ongoing Discussion
This document – representing the initial work of the High School Tiered Interventions Initiative (HSTII), a collaborative project of the National High School Center, the National Center on Response to Intervention, and the Center on Instruction – summarizes what HSTII has learned thus far about effective RTI implementation in high schools. It provides a brief description of the RTI framework and the essential components of RTI, illustrates how the essential components of RTI were implemented at eight visited schools, and highlights contextual factors unique to high schools and examines how these factors can affect school-level implementation of tiered interventions.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Geography Assessment
This report presents the results of the 2010 NAEP Geography Assessment. The assessment was given to 4th, 8th, and 12th graders in almost 1,500 schools. While 4th grade students' scores showed modest improvement from the 2001 assessment, there were no significant changes in the scores of either 8th or 12th graders. In total, fewer than 30 percent of students tested were found to be proficient. (August 2011)

Baseline Analyses of SIG Applications and SIG-Eligible and SIG-Awarded Schools
This report from the Institute of Education Sciences provides a baseline analyses of school improvement grant (SIG) applications, SIG-Eligible and SIG-Awarded schools. This resource may be especially relevant to federal and state policymakers, as well as researchers. (July 2011)

Special Education in High School Redesign
This annotated bibliography, co-authored by the National High School Center and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center, identifies articles that address high school redesign as it relates to students with disabilities and special education’s role in such initiatives. The articles are organized around the National High School Center’sEight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Frameworkto ensure a more comprehensive set of resources that address the key systemic elements of high school improvement. The bibliography also includes a table that identifies the type of each publication source and the key elements it relates to. (May 2011)

A Self-Assessment Tool: A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement
This online self-assessment tool is a starting point for identifying high school improvement priorities and enables users in schools and districts to a) identify the strengths and weaknesses of their current high school reform efforts, and b) align and build on these current and planned reform initiatives to develop a comprehensive high school improvement plan that will result in rigorous and high-quality teaching and learning for all students. Based on the National High School Center’sEight Elements of High School Improvement, users can respond to a variety of questions that focus on the eight elements and the different indicators of effectiveness, and generate reports based on their responses. (April 2011)

America's High School Graduates: Results from the 2009 NAEP High School Transcript Study
This report presents information about the types of courses 2009 high school graduates took during high school, how many credits they earned, and the grades they received. Information on the relationships between high school records and performance in mathematics and science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is also included. The 2005 results are compared to the results of earlier transcript studies, and differences among graduates by race/ethnicity, gender, and parent education are examined. (April 2011)

Beyond Basic Skills: State Strategies to Connect Low-Skilled Students to an Employer-Valued Postsecondary Education
This CLASP report describes strategies that state policymakers can use to strengthen connections between basic skills education and postsecondary education to help out-of-school youth and lower-skilled adults attain postsecondary credentials. (March 2011)

United States Education Dashboard
The Dashboard presents indicators in four areas that are critical to improving educational results. The areas are: the President's 2020 college attainment goal of the U.S. having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world; early learning through high school; postsecondary education and training; and teachers and leaders. The Dashboard includes national and state data and shows trends in the data. (February 2011)

Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework
The Eight Elements of High School Improvement framework provides a lens for mapping school, district, and state high school improvement efforts. This framework, updated from the original July 2008 version, incorporates new language and ideas from the U.S. Department of Education’s current education reform priorities. (January 2011)

Sounding an Early Warning to Prevent High School Dropout
(MP3 file)
In this interview with Audio Journal, National High School Center Director Joseph Harris describes how school leaders can use the Center’s Early Warning System Tool to uncover the issues contributing to high school dropout, and identify the students who have the most potential for dropping out of high school. (January 2011)

Quick Stats Fact Sheet: High Schools in the United States
This fact sheet provides updated facts and statistics about U.S. high schools and the students they serve. Review Quick Stats Fact Sheet: High Schools in the United States to form an updated picture of what high schools in the U.S. look like, and how they have changed. The fact sheet can also be used as a reference for quick statistics about high schools and their students. (December 2010)

A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement: A District and School Self-Assessment Tool
This tool, updated from the April 2010 Needs Assessment Tool with new high school improvement indicators, is designed to help districts and schools assess current high school education policies and practices, identify areas of strengths and limitations, and implement coherent and sustainable school reform initiatives. (January 2011)

2010

Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 1972–2008
This National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report includes discussions of many rates used to study how students complete or fail to complete high school. It presents estimates of rates for 2008 and provides data about trends in dropout and completion rates over the last three and a half decades (1972-2008) along with more recent estimates of on-time graduation from public high schools. (December 2010)

The Nation’s Report Card: Grade 12 Reading and Mathematics 2009 National and Pilot State Results
This report presents results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading and mathematics at grade 12. Results for students in the nation and, for the first time, in the 11 states that volunteered to participate in the 2009 state pilot program are reported. Highlights of the results show that the overall average reading score for twelfth-graders was 2 points higher than in 2005, but 4 points lower than in 1992. In mathematics, the overall average score was 3 points higher in 2009 than in 2005. (November 2010)

Expanding Career Readiness Through Online Learning

As a follow-up to the "What is 'Career Ready'?" paper released earlier this year, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is launching a new series to highlight how specific elements of the career and technical education (CTE) system can help students achieve true career readiness. The first paper in this series focuses on how online learning, particularly in CTE, can be used to expand students' academic, technical and employability skills. (November 2010)

Setting Statewide College- and Career-Ready Goals

This issue brief from the NGA Center for Best Practices provides direction for state leaders to work together with school districts, state education agency officials, nonprofits and business representatives to establish college- and career-ready performance goals. The brief outlines a five-step process to accurately measure student readiness: select performance indicators; collect, calculate and report baseline data for the indicators; set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goals; establish annual or biannual targets to meet the goals; and publicly report performance on the indicators annually. (September 2010)

Six Pillars of Effective Dropout Prevention and Recovery: An Assessment of Current State Policy and How to Improve It
A new Jobs for the Future report identifies six model policy elements that frame a legislative strategy for dropout prevention and recovery and assesses the extent to which recent state policy aligns with these model elements. Overall, 36 states and the District of Columbia have enacted new dropout legislation since 2002 and while some states have moved toward adopting comprehensive dropout prevention and recovery policies, there is still additional progress to be made. (September 2010)

Georgia Principal Named National High School Principal of the Year
Wesley Taylor, principal of Lowndes High School in Valdosta, GA, has been named the 2011 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year. Taylor, who leads a 3,000-student campus that sprawls 70 acres, is the latest in a series of exceptional Georgia school leaders to be named national principal of the year. (August 2010)

Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that 10 applicants have won grants in the second phase of the Race to the Top competition. Along with Phase 1 winners Delaware and Tennessee, 11 states and the District of Columbia have now been awarded money in the Obama Administration's groundbreaking education reform program that will directly impact 13.6 million students, and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools. The 10 winning Phase 2 applications in alphabetical order are: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island. (August 2010)

2010 Highest-Rated i3 Applicants Announced
A cross-section of 49 school districts, nonprofit education organizations and institutions of higher education have been selected from among nearly 1,700 applicants for potential funding under the Investing in Innovation (i3) program. The Education Department selected these 49 proposals based on recommendations from independent peer review panels. Applicants were required to demonstrate their previous success in closing achievement gaps, improving student progress toward proficiency, increasing graduation rates, or recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers and principals. (August 2010)

Race To The Top Round Two Finalists Selected
Education Secretary Arne Duncan named 19 finalists to compete in the interview portion of the Race to the Top Round Two competition. Each state will assemble a group of five people to come to Washington, DC in August to interview and discuss their final plans for a portion of the $3.4 billion in federal funds still left to be distributed. The finalists are Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. (July 2010)

Diplomas Count 2010: Graduation by the Numbers – Putting Data to Work for Student Success
A new national report from Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center finds that the nation’s graduation rate has dropped for the second consecutive year, following a decade of mostly solid improvements. Diplomas Count 2010 investigates how data and analysis are being used to boost graduation rates and improve student learning across the country. The report also tracks graduation policies for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and presents an updated analysis of graduation patterns for the nation, states, and the country’s 50 largest school systems. (June 2010)

National Governors Association and State Education Chiefs Launch Common State Academic Standards
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have released the Common Core State Standards. Many stakeholders, including content experts, states, teachers, school administrators and parents collaborated to create the English-language arts and mathematics standards for grades K-12 whose goals for learning include the preparation of U.S. students for success in college and work. The release of the standards on June 2, 2010, concludes the development of the Common Core State Standards and begins the adoption and implementation process by the states. (June 2010)

The Condition of Education 2010
This Congressionally mandated report to the nation on education in America covers all aspects of education, with 49 indicators that include findings on enrollment trends, demographics, and outcomes. The report projects that public school enrollment will rise from 49 million in 2008 to 52 million by 2019, with the largest increase expected in the South. Over the past decade, more students attended both charter schools and high-poverty schools. This year’s report features a special section that looks closer at these high-poverty schools in America, examining the types and locations of schools, the characteristics of the students and their teachers and principals; and student achievement. (May 2010)

A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement: A Needs Assessment Tool
This tool has been updated with all new Characteristics of Effectiveness on which districts and schools can assess their work. Building off of Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework, this tool is designed to help districts and schools assess their current high school policies and practices, identify areas of strengths and limitations, and implement coherent and sustainable school reform initiatives. (April 2010)

What is “Career Ready”?
The importance of high schools preparing students to be “college- and career-ready” is often mentioned; however, the discussion usually centers on college readiness with little focus on career readiness. The question remains, “What does it mean to be career-ready?” This Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) paper outlines three broad sets of skills students need to be career-ready: core academic skills, employability skills and technical skills. (April 2010)

U.S. Department of Education Videos Highlight Successful School Turnarounds
The U.S. Department of Education has produced a new series of videos that illustrate how several school districts have successfully turned around low-performing schools using the four models endorsed by the Department's $4 billion Title I School Improvement Grant program. Through interviews with school administrators, teachers, parents and students, these short online films aim to show how sometimes difficult changes in school leadership, personnel, curriculum and culture can lead to dramatic improvements in student achievement. (April 2010)

View Race to the Top Phase One Applications, Scores and Comments Online

On March 29, 2010, Delaware and Tennessee were named the two finalists for Phase 1 of the Race to the Top competition. Visit the Department of Education's Web site to view all the state applications that were submitted for Phase 1 as well as the reviewers' scores and comments. A minimal amount of personal information has been redacted from the applications. The videos of the state presentations will be posted at this link by April 9th. (March 2010)

A Blueprint for Reform: The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
The Obama administration's blueprint to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) will support state and local efforts to help ensure that all students graduate prepared for college and a career. The plan will ask states to ensure that their academic standards prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace, and to create accountability systems that recognize student growth and school progress toward meeting that goal. (March 2010)

Common Core State Standards Initiative
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have released the first official public draft of the K-12 standards as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a process being led by governors and chief state school officers in 51 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. These draft standards, developed together with teachers, school administrators and experts, seek to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare students for college and the workforce. (March 2010)

President Obama Announces Grad Nation
On March 1, 2010, President Obama announced Grad Nation, a national effort to help turn around persistently low-performing schools, reduce the dropout rate, and promote a culture of college readiness. (March 2010)
Read the speech
View the press release

Joseph Harris Discusses Early High School Graduation
High schools in eight states - Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Kentucky – are considering a new program next year that will allow students to place out of their senior year in high school and enter community college. Listen as National High School Center Director Joseph Harris speaks with The Takeaway morning radio program on the subject of dual enrollment in high schools. (February 2010)

Using the Right Data to Determine if High School Interventions Are Working to Prepare Students for College and Careers
This report is designed to guide educators in collecting and analyzing valuable student achievement data that can help them determine if and how high school interventions for underprepared students are working to effectively prepare them for college and careers. The report was authored by Chrys Dougherty, a senior research scientist at the National Center for Educational Achievement (NCEA), which is a partner of the National High School Center. The press release for this report may be viewed here. (January 2010)

Handbook on Effective Implementation of School Improvement Grants
This handbook provides practical and useful guidance on the models and strategies required and recommended for use in applying for School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds, and includes references to the underlying research and connections to useful resources. Developed by the Center on Innovation and Improvement at the request of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Secondary and Elementary Education, this resource includes contributions from the National High School Center, the Center on Instruction, the Assessment and Accountability Center, and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. (January 2010)

2009

A Coherent Approach to High School Improvement: A Needs Assessment Tool
Building off of Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework, this tool is designed to help districts and schools assess current high school education policies and practices, identify areas of strengths and limitations, and implement coherent and sustainable school reform initiatives. (December 2009)

Webinar: "What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students with Disabilities"
This Webinar featured What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students with Disabilities report authors Julia Gwynne, Joy Lesnick, and Holly M. Hart from CCSR, as well as Mindee O’Cummings from the National High School Center. Report findings were presented and participants discussed graduation rates and on-track indicators for students with disabilities. The presentation slides and recorded playback are now available. (December 2009)

What Matters for Staying On-Track and Graduating in Chicago Public Schools: A Focus on Students with Disabilities
Freshman year course performance—more than background characteristics such as race, gender, socioeconomic status or prior achievement—predict which students with disabilities are most at risk for dropping out of high school, according to a new report from the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research and the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. The report found that absences, course failures, course credits and GPA all can be used to accurately predict whether ninth-graders with disabilities will graduate from high school. Identifying these early warning indicators is especially crucial for students with disabilities, who drop out of high school at alarming rates. The press release for this report may be viewed here. (December 2009)

Access our ARRA resources that can help states and districts plan how to apply this funding so that it has the greatest impact on high school improvement including:

Helping Students Navigate the Path to College: What High Schools Can Do
Access to higher education remains a challenge for many students who face academic and informational barriers to college entry. This guide targets high schools and school districts, and focuses on effective practices that prepare students academically for college, assist them in completing the steps to college entry, and improve their likelihood of enrolling in college. (September 2009)

High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2007
This National Center for Education Statistics report includes discussions of many rates used to study how students complete or fail to complete high school. It presents estimates of rates for 2007 and provides data about trends in dropout and completion rates over the last three and a half decades (1972-2007) along with more recent estimates of on-time graduation. Among findings in the report was that among reporting states in 2006, the averaged freshman graduation rate (AFGR) was 73.2 percent. The report also shows that students living in low-income families were approximately 10 times more likely to drop out of high school between 2006 and 2007 than were students living in high-income families. (September 2009)

Webinar: Effectively Educating English Language Learners at the High School Level: What Research and Practice Tell Us
Did you miss our Webinar on educating English Language Learners on May 14th? An archived version of this Webinar is now available.

Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Dropping Out: A Quick Stats Fact Sheet
This fact sheet provides a snapshot of the current issues surrounding dropout factors among students who are identified with emotional disturbance, and offers mental health resources that may assist this population with remaining in high school. (July 2009)

National High School Center Offers Resources on Educating English Language Learners at the High School Level
This suite of products focusing on English language learners (ELLs) includes:

National High School Center Staff present at the Council for Exceptional Children 2009 Convention
The National High School Center Staff present at the Council for Exceptional Children 2009 Convention and Expo on April 1-4, 2009. Learn more about the four presentations that the National High School Center will be participating in.

Raising Graduation Rates: A Series of Data Briefs
A new data brief by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University looks at progress in raising graduation rates in the nation and its 50 states. The national high school graduation rate remained flat at about 75 percent between 2002 and 2006, while a dozen states made substantial gains. Tennessee and New York produced the greatest number of additional graduates, with roughly 8,000 more students in each earning high school diplomas in 2006. Robert Balfanz, Co-Director of the Everyone Graduates Center and Friends of the National High School Center member, is an author of the report. (March 2009)

Intervention: Middle College High Schools
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, has released an updated Dropout Prevention report on the Middle College High School program. Middle College High Schools are alternative high schools located on college campuses that aim to help at-risk students complete high school and encourage them to attend college. The four-year program offers a project-centered, interdisciplinary curriculum. This report presents the WWC's ratings of studies of the effectiveness of this intervention. (March 2009)

Closing the Expectations Gap
This fourth annual report from Achieve on the progress of high school reform efforts in all 50 states tracks efforts to set expectations for high school graduates that are in line with the demands of college and careers, shows progress in a majority of states towards making the high school diploma more meaningful - particularly in the area of standards - though there is still considerable work to be done. The 50-state survey looks at the number of states that have raised standards and adjusted their graduation requirements, P-20 data systems, assessments and accountability systems to support the college- and career-ready agenda. (February 2009)

National High School Center Early Warning Systems Webinar: January 28, 2009
Nationally, U.S. high schools are failing to graduate approximately 30% of the country’s future workforce each school year. Identifying warning signs during important transition years is critical for targeting resources and interventions to prevent dropout.The National High School Center hosted Identifying Students At-Risk for Dropping Out of High School: Overview of a Tool for Developing Early Warning Systems, an interactive Webinar, on January 28, 2009, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. EST, which provided a tour of the Early Warning System Tool (please maximize the document’s screen in Excel in order to access all the spreadsheet tabs in the tool) and Early Warning Systems Guide along with information about how these resources can be used as part of a dropout prevention strategy to keep students in school.
The presentation slides and recorded playback are now available.

Quick Stats Fact Sheet: High School Literacy
This fact sheet serves as an easy-to-read overview of the current state of high school literacy instruction and achievement as well as the importance of obtaining a high level of literacy prior to leaving high school. (January 2009)

 

2008

Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-class Education
Underscoring the link between a world-class education and a sound U.S. economy, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve have issued a report offering sweeping recommendations to internationally benchmark educational performance. The report, Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-class Education, provides states a roadmap for benchmarking their K-12 education systems against those of top-performing nations. The report explains the urgent need for action and outlines what states and the federal government must do to ensure U.S. students receive a world-class education that provides expanded opportunities for college and career success. (December 2008)

Measuring Skills for the 21st Century
Leaders in government, business, and higher education are calling for today's students to show a mastery of broader and more sophisticated skills like evaluating and analyzing information and thinking creatively about how to solve real-world problems. But standing in the way of incorporating such skills into teaching and learning are widespread concerns about whether or not they can be measured. In Measuring Skills for the 21st Century, Education Sector Senior Policy Analyst Elena Silva argues that they can indeed be measured accurately and can serve as common metrics of student achievement. Silva examines a number of new assessment models that do this and that demonstrate the potential to measure complex thinking skills at the same time that we measure a student's mastery of basic skills and knowledge. These emergent models, she concludes, are critical to meeting our educational goals—to ensure that teachers and students can monitor and improve the learning process—and our accountability goals—to ensure that schools are giving all students what they need to succeed. (December 2008)

One Dream, Two Realities: Perspectives of Parents on America’s High Schools
Today in America, there are approximately 25 million parents who have children in American high schools. Their role in the educational achievement of their children is profound. Students with involved parents, regardless of their family income or background, are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher level classes, attend school and pass their classes, develop better social skills, graduate from high school, attend college, and find productive work. The opposite is true for students whose parents are less engaged. Research confirms what common sense suggests: parents are central to the educational success of their children. In an effort to give parents a voice and to provide ideas on how schools and parents can work more effectively together to strengthen the education of children, this study was based on a series of focus groups and a nationally representative survey of 1,006 parents. (November 2008)

Relationships, Rigor, and Readiness: Strategies for Improving High Schools
This report offers lessons from a conference sponsored by MDRC, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the National High School Alliance, which brought together leaders from 22 midsize school districts to describe their reform initiatives and to discuss ways in which research and evaluation can inform and complement school change, including helping students transition successfully into high school, stay on track to graduation, and be prepared for moving into postsecondary education, training, or the workforce. (October 2008)

Minorities in Higher Education 2008 Twenty-third Status Report
The tradition of young adults in the United States attaining higher levels of education than previous generations appears to have stalled, and for far too many people of color, the percentage of young adults with some type of postsecondary degree compared with older adults has actually fallen, a new report by the American Council on Education (ACE) concludes. According to the Minorities in Higher Education 2008 Twenty-third Status Report, the percentage of young adults aged 25 to 29 and older adults aged 30 and above with at least an associate degree in 2006 was about the same, approximately 35 percent. For Hispanics and American Indians, young adults have even less education than previous generations. The postsecondary educational attainment rates of African Americans remained relatively the same for both age groups, at approximately 24 percent. Asian Americans and whites were the only two groups where young adults were more educated than prior generations. (October 2008)

Dropout Prevention
The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) has released a new practice guide, Dropout Prevention. This guide provides six specific recommendations for reducing dropout rates in high schools and middle schools. Designed for school- and district-level administrators, the guide offers processes for diagnosing dropout problems, intervention practices, and schoolwide reforms that can be of use to educators, school boards, and policymakers in implementing dropout prevention strategies. (September 2008)

Average SAT Scores Remained Flat in 2008
Average national SAT scores for the high school class of 2008 were the same as last year, even as a larger, more diverse group took the test, a College Board report released Tuesday says. SAT proponents say scores are lower now because a more diverse group of students is taking the exam. This USA Today article examines the report findings. (August 2008)

National High School Center Releases Suite of Products to Aid Successful Postsecondary Transitions
This suite of products focusing on postsecondary pathways includes:

Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date, 2008
States are on track to publicly report their high school graduation rates by 2012 using the National Governors Association’s formula, according to a new report from NGA’s Center for Best Practices. The report, Implementing Graduation Counts: State Progress to Date, 2008, said 16 states use the NGA Graduation Counts Compact formula to calculate and report their high school graduation rates. Five more states plan to implement the formula later this year, eight more will next year, and nine more will in 2010. Six states plan to implement the formula in 2011, and one plans to do so in 2012. (July 2008)

Eight Elements of High School Improvement: A Mapping Framework
The National High School Center’s goal is to encourage researchers, policymakers, and practitioners at all levels to engage in comprehensive, systemic efforts to maximize attainment for all high school students, with a focus on those students who have been historically underserved. To this end, we have developed a framework that consists of eight core elements and provides a lens for mapping school, district, and state high school improvement efforts. (July 2008)

Career Academies: Long-Term Impacts on Labor Market Outcomes, Educational Attainment, and Transitions to Adulthood
This report, authored by the MDRC, describes how participating Career Academies were able to implement and sustain the core features of the approach as they served a cross-section of the student populations in their host schools. Furthermore, the report discusses how Career Academies influenced students’ labor market prospects and postsecondary educational attainment in the eight years following their expected graduation. The results are based on the experiences of more than 1,400 young people, approximately 85 percent of whom are Hispanic or African-American. (July 2008)

On Ramp to College: A State Policymaker’s Guide to Dual Enrollment
This guide from Jobs for the Future reviews trends in a growing number of states that see dual enrollment as a way to expand college opportunity—particularly for students who might not be considered college-bound. The guide shows how dual enrollment can serve as an “on ramp” to postsecondary education for students who are otherwise unlikely to attend college. The guide also highlights successful state-wide dual enrollment efforts, provides a step-by-step plan for policymakers to create successful programs and assess current approaches, and guides state officials in how to provide a wide range of students with equal access to dual enrollment and make it part of a continuous system for grades 9-16. (May 2008)

Crafting a New Vision for High School: How States Can Join Academic and Technical Studies to Promote More Powerful Learning
A new report from the Southern Regional Education Board calls for states to align their career and technical curriculum with college-readiness standards, conduct end-of-course assessments, and establish panels of college faculty, high school teachers, school officials, and employers to devise curriculum frameworks and course syllabuses. It also encourages states to provide incentives for districts and high schools to work together with two-year colleges, technology centers and employers to craft courses. (May 2008)

Rethinking High School: Supporting All Students to be College Ready in Math
In mathematics classes across the country, many students identify themselves as being in one of two camps: Those who can do math and those who can't. Such labels may be assumed by the students themselves or unconsciously assigned to them by the adults in their lives based on students' math achievement. Whatever its source, the can't label may be a costly one. This Rethinking High School report from WestEd profiles three high schools supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that have successfully implemented mathematics programs that prepare all students for college. According to this report, access to and enrollment in challenging courses had a greater impact than any other factor, including income level and parents' level of education. (April 2008)

Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation
Seventeen of the nation’s 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with the lowest graduation rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, according to a report released by America’s Promise Alliance. The report found that about half of the students served by public school systems in the nation’s largest cities receive diplomas. Students in suburban and rural public high schools were more likely to graduate than their counterparts in urban public high schools, the researchers said. Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma and about 1.2 million students drop out annually. (April 2008)

Technology Counts 2008: STEM: The Push to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Education Week
and the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center have released the 11th Annual Technology Counts report. Technology Counts 2008: STEM: The Push to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics examines the educational community's response to the United States’ perceived failings in preparing students to thrive in a high-tech global economy. The report includes interactive online state data comparisons and individual state reports, as well as several feature stories on how states are strengthening STEM education, the effectiveness of the federal role in STEM, how teacher colleges are incorporating technology into courses in new ways, and the focus some programs are taking on increasing STEM interest and achievement among underrepresented groups. (March 2008)

Award for Breakthrough Middle and Secondary Schools
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the MetLife Foundation are calling for entries in the search for the nation's top "Breakthrough Schools." Applicants should be high achieving middle or high schools, or schools that are making dramatic improvements in student achievement, whose best practices and outstanding results can inform other schools as they further their own improvement efforts. Honorees will be chosen based upon documented success in implementing strategies aligned with the three core areas of NASSP's Breaking Ranks II publication. Those three areas are collaborative leadership; personalization; and curriculum, instruction and assessment. (March 2008)

4th Annual AP Report to the Nation
The College Board has announced findings from its 4th Annual AP Report to the Nation, which include participation and performance data for each state within the context of its population and racial/ethnic demographics. The report also announced that a greater percentage of the nation's students are taking and succeeding on AP Exams, which research shows are predictors of success in college. (February 2008)

Enhanced Reading Opportunities: Early Impact and Implementation Findings
This National Center for Education Evaluation report presents early findings from an evaluation of the impact of two supplemental literacy programs that aim to improve the reading comprehension skills and school performance of struggling ninth-grade readers. The report describes the effects of the programs on the first cohort of students entering high school two to five years behind grade level in reading. Taken together, the programs produced a positive, statistically significant impact on reading comprehension among students who were randomly assigned to participate in the supplemental literacy programs compared to those who did not participate in the programs. There were no statistically significant impacts on student achievement in vocabulary or student use of reading behaviors promoted by the programs. (January 2008)

Highlights from PISA 2006: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Science and Mathematics Literacy in an International Context
This report from the National Center for Education Statistics summarizes the performance of U.S. students on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), comparing the scores of U.S. 15-year-old students in science and mathematics literacy to the scores of their peers internationally in 2006. PISA, first implemented in 2000, is sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental agency of 30 member countries. The results show the average combined science literacy scale score for U.S. students to be lower than the OECD average. On the mathematics literacy scale, U.S. students scored lower than the OECD average. Differences in student performance based on the selected student characteristics of sex and race/ethnicity are also examined. (January 2008)

 

2007

Building a System of Excellent High Schools: A Framework and Tool for Discussion and Action
This new tool from the Center for School and Community Services and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform has been designed to support district leaders, educators, administrators, community stakeholders, parents and students in their efforts to reform high schools. The framework and indicators draw heavily on the lessons and accomplishments of the seven school districts involved in the Carnegie Corporation's Schools for a New Society initiative. The tool provides methods for mapping and assessing progress when implementing system-wide reform programs and also identifies and tracks indicators of effectiveness that can be refined to measure progress. In addition, the tool outlines ways to develop and promote a shared commitment throughout the community to ensure all stakeholders are engaged in reform. (December 2007)

Numbers and Rates of Public High School Dropouts: School Year 2004-05
This report from the National Center for Education Statistics presents findings on the numbers and rates of public school students who dropped out of school in school years 2002-03, 2003-04, and 2004-05, using data from the CCD State-Level Public Use Data File on Public School Dropouts for these years. The report includes high school dropout rates by state, region, school district size, and several student characteristics. (December 2007)

Approaches to Dropout Prevention: Heeding Early Warning Signs With Appropriate Interventions
This report outlines steps that schools can take to identify at-risk students and provide the necessary support systems and relevant interventions to assist students in obtaining a high school diploma. Further, the report discusses the use of early warning data systems to target interventions for groups and individual students, offers a variety of best practice approaches undertaken by higher-performing high schools, and presents effective programs that are currently being implemented to stem the dropout problem. The press release for this report may be viewed here. (October 2007)

State-Level High School Improvement Systems Checklist
This checklist is designed to help states at various stages develop their system of support to reach struggling high schools. The checklist can be used to assess where your state is in terms of the elements of using existing support and guidance mechanisms, and reconfiguring and/or creating new structures to leverage system change for high school improvement. The elements listed in the checklist may be helpful in establishing or refining your state’s education planning and implementation process. (October 2007)

Transitioning Out of High School: A Quick Stats Fact Sheet
This fact sheet provides statistics describing the current status of high school graduates readiness for life after high school. It highlights some of the challenges and opportunities facing high school students after graduation as well as some of the consequences and implications for America’s under-prepared graduates. (October 2007)

High School Dropout: A Quick Stats Fact Sheet
This fact sheet highlights the problem of dropout prevention facing America’s high schools today. It provides information on the students most likely to drop out, and examines the impact of dropouts on crime, the economy, personal incomes, and employment. (October 2007)

Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities
This report from the National Center for Education Statistics examines the educational progress and challenges that racial and ethnic minorities face in the United States. This report shows that over time larger numbers of minorities have completed high school and continued their education in college. Despite these gains, progress has varied, and differences persist among Hispanic, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White students on key indicators of educational performance. (September 2007)

National High School Center 2007 Summer Institute Materials 
The National High School Center’s Summer Institute, Advancing High School Student Success: Building Systems of Support, was held on June 11-13, 2007 in Washington, DC. The agenda was based on the expressed needs of our clients, the Regional Comprehensive Centers, and covered topics that included dropout prevention, high school literacy, transition to high school, and strategies to serve students with disabilities. Videos, PowerPoint slides, and resources from the Institute are now available. (August 2007)

State Approaches to More Reliable and Uniform Dropout and Graduation Data
This issue brief outlines the immediate need for more accurate dropout and graduation data, while providing a snapshot of work currently underway.  By drawing on two prominent methods for calculating graduation rates: the National Governors Association’s endorsed longitudinal approach and the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR), this brief outlines how data are needed to track dropout trends and patterns, as well as how to direct resources and more effective strategies to ensure more students receive a high school diploma.  This brief concludes by offering take-aways for states. To view the press release for this brief please click here. (August 2007)

Meeting the Needs of Significantly Struggling Learners in High School: A Look at Approaches to Tiered Intervention
This report, authored by Helen Duffy of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research, provides an in-depth look at the implementation and structural issues, as well as the needed support required to successfully institute Response to Intervention (RTI) at the secondary school level. It defines the RTI models, explores benefits and challenges faced at the high school level, shares a snapshot of implementation at the high school level, and outlines the necessary resources needed to support this work. To view the press release for this brief please click here. (August 2007)

Easing the Transition to High School: Research and Best Practices Designed to Support High School Learning
This report is a rolled up version of four National High School Center products that had been previously released as individual pieces related to one of the National High School Center focus themes: transitions into high school. Included in this publication are a fact sheet, policy brief, issue brief, and snapshot. (July 2007)

The Matrix: Mapping Federal Resources for Technical Assistance & Information Services
The Matrix is an extensive database of activities undertaken by the United States Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) projects and the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education's (OESE) Comprehensive Centers. Information is entered about activities of the projects and centers in the Matrix, and this database of activities allows states, stakeholders, projects, centers, and others to view the work happening in states and jurisdictions across the United States. (June 2007)

National High School Center’s 2007 Summer Institute, Advancing High School Student Success: Building Systems of Support
The National High School Center’s first Summer Institute, Advancing High School Student Success: Building Systems of Support, took place on June 11-13, 2007 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC. The Institute’s agenda was based on the expressed needs of the Regional Comprehensive Centers (RCC) and addressed issues including building systems of support to increase high school success; high school literacy; dropout prevention; and transitions into high school. For your reference, a final meeting agenda is attached. Presentations and materials from the Institute will be posted to our Web site shortly. (June 2007)

Resources on Ensuring a Smooth Transition into High School
This toolkit from the National High School Center contains four resources on how to support and guide a smooth transition into high school. A policy brief, “State and District-Level Support for Successful Transitions into High School,” examines how some states and districts are currently easing the transition, while a best practices piece based on key research is the focus of the brief, “Toward Ensuring a Smooth Transition Into High School.” Additionally, a snapshot is provided of how one school is managing to make a positive difference for ninth graders through the “Managing the Transition to Ninth Grade in a Comprehensive Urban High School.” Also included is a quick stats fact sheet on the ninth grade bulge, wherein a disproportionate number of ninth graders are held back in the ninth grade. The press release for this toolkit may be viewed here. (May 2007)

Dropout Prevention for Students With Disabilities: A Critical Issue for State Education Agencies
This issue brief provides guidance to states as they respond to requirements presented in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) in the area of dropout prevention for students with disabilities. It also highlights the role of State Performance Plans as starting points for states to develop data collection and monitoring procedures, and supplies states with considerations and recommendations for providing a consistent method of tracking dropout data. The press release for this brief may be viewed here. (May 2007)

Findings from the Early College High School Initiative: A Look at Best Practices and Lessons Learned Regarding a Dual Enrollment Program 
This research brief on the Early College High School Initiative (ECHSI), a dual enrollment program developed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, examines lessons learned and best practices gleaned from an evaluation specific to the ECHSI, “Early College High School Initiative 2003-2005 Evaluation Report.” These findings help inform those interested in developing or implementing dual enrollment programs as a strategy to accelerate learning and help bridge transitions after graduation. (March 2007)

Strengthening High Schools For The 21st Century
Authored by the U.S. Department of Education, this Fact Sheet about No Child Left Behind reauthorization outlines the areas of "Building On Results: Strengthening the No Child Left Behind Act" that relate to high schools. (February 2007)

National High School Center Publications
This resource contains brief descriptions of current and forthcoming National High School Center resources centered around a variety of current high school issues. (January 2007)

 

2006

National High School Center Hosts Webinar on Dropout Prevention
The National High School Center hosted a Webinar on Dropout Prevention, “Preventing High School Dropout: Understanding the Underlying Issues and Useful Strategies to Address the Problem,” which took place on December 13, 2006, and addressed research in the field and highlighted state implementation strategies for preventing students from dropping out.The Webinar featured Russell Rumberger, University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor and Director of Linguistic Minority Research Institute; Cammy Lehr, Coordinator of the Dropout Prevention, Retention, and Graduation Initiative at the Minnesota Department of Education; Glory Kibbel, Interim Director of Choice and Equity for the School Choice Programs and Services Division, Minnesota Department of Education; and was facilitated by Becky Powell, Director of Outreach for the National High School Center. (December 2006)

National High School Center Announces National Expert Panel on High School Improvement
The National High School Center has convened a national panel of experts on high school improvement. To read more, please view the press release. (December 2006)

Emerging Evidence on Improving High School Student Achievement and Graduation Rates: The Effects of Four Popular Improvement Programs
The National High School Center released methods for improving low-performing high schools based on some of the most rigorousresearch currently available in the school reform arena. This research brief identifies lessons learned as well as key practices used to strengthen high schools and isbased on evaluations of four widely used high school improvement programs - Career Academies, First Things First, Project GRAD, and Talent Development. To read the press release about this brief, please click here. (November 2006)

Improving Literacy Outcomes for English Language Learners in High School: Considerations for States and Districts in Developing a Coherent Policy Framework
This research brief outlines existing barriers regarding teacher expectations, tracking, and placement of English language learners and offers key policies and useful strategies in building capacity and developing learning environments conducive for all students in obtaining academic success. To read the press release about this brief, please click here. (November 2006)

U.S. Department of Education's Teacher to Teacher Workshops
The U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher to Teacher Workshops provide examples of classroom strategies and materials which may be useful to high school teachers. Among these are the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM), created through the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning as a framework for reaching all students, particularly students with disabilities. Other workshops and session materials of interest to high schools include Implementing Reading Intervention in Secondary Schools, A Cognitive Strategy for Inclusion Classrooms, Incorporating Explicit Vocabulary Instruction at the Secondary Level, and Increasing Rigor and Relevance in Secondary Science. For a complete list of all Teacher to Teacher Workshop Sessions, please click here. (November 2006)

Report on Key Practices and Policies of Consistently Higher Performing High Schools
This National High School Center report focuses on successful high schools, highlighting the ways in which many superintendents, principals, and teachers are setting and meeting high expectations for all students. Developed specifically for state leaders, it provides them with suggestions on how they may support initiatives that are linked with accelerated learning. To read the press release about this report, please click here. (October 2006)

What Works Clearinghouse Releases Additional Intervention Reports for Dropout Prevention
The What Works Clearinghouse has recently released two new Dropout Prevention intervention reports on Career Academies and ALAS (Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success) which join a previous intervention report on Check & Connect. This review focuses on interventions in middle school, junior high school, or high school designed to increase high school competition, including techniques such as the use of incentives, counseling, or monitoring. (October 2006)

New CSRQ Center Report on Middle and High School CSR Models
The Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center has released a new report on middle and high school comprehensive school reform and schoolwide improvement models. This report offers a scientifically based, consumer-friendly review of the effectiveness and quality of 18 widely implemented middle and high school comprehensive school reform or schoolwide improvement models. To read this report, visit the CSRQ Center Web site at http://www.csrq.org/reports. (October 2006)

Secretary Spellings Announces Plans to Improve the Higher Education System
On September 26, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced plans to improve the higher education system, based on the recommendations in the final report of her Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The Secretary’s remarks, a full report, Webcast and other resources are available here. (October 2006)

Sustaining Focus on Secondary School Reading: Lessons and Recommendations from the Alabama Reading Initiative
The Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) addresses literacy and includes a focus on high school students. This research brief summarizes student and teacher outcomes, lessons learned, and other findings from a recent evaluation of the Alabama Reading Initiative at the secondary school level. (September 2006)

$17 Million in Grants Awarded Under the Advanced Placement Incentive Grant
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced the award of 33 grants totaling $17 million to boost participation of low-income students in advanced placement courses and tests. The grant is being provided to states, school districts, and national education nonprofits to help increase advanced placement access rates for economically disadvantaged students. (September 2006)

Paying Double: Inadequate High Schools and Community College Remediation
This issue brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education (August 2006) finds that the United States spends over $1.4 billion dollars annually to provide remediation to students who were not prepared for college, and provides a state-by-state breakdown on costs. The issue brief suggests that improving high schools will reduce the number of students unprepared for college, and is available for free download from the Alliance for Excellent Education. (September 2006)

Diplomas Count: An Essential Guide to Graduation Policy and Rates
Diplomas Count: An Essential Guide to Graduation Policy and Rates, a recent report from Education Week (June 2006), provides information on the subject of high school graduation rates and tracks state polices related to high school graduation requirements. This report is available to read from Education Week. Free registration is required. (August 2006)

A State Leaders Action Guide to 21st Century Skills
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (July 2006) has produced a guide for state leaders which redefines rigor to reflect the need to encompass 21st century skills in addition to core subjects, and examines key elements and strategies to help states and districts improve education in the 21st century. (August 2006)

Essential Tools: Increasing Rates of School Completion: Moving from Policy and Research to Practice
This toolkit for educators, policymakers, and administrators - prepared in May 2004 by Camilla A. Lehr, David R. Johnson, Christine D. Bremer, Anna Cosio, and Megan Thompson, and published by the National Center of Secondary Education and Transition - summarizes research findings on dropout prevention and provides examples of interventions that have shown evidence of effectiveness. (July 2006)

The Silent Epidemic: Perspective of High School Dropouts
This report on high school dropouts - issued in March 2006 by Civic Enterprises in association with Peter D. Hart Research Associates and commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - provides new insights into America's dropout problem from the perspective of high school dropouts. A series of focus groups and surveys of high school dropouts ages 16-25 found that most dropouts believe they could have succeeded in school with more demanding coursework, engaging classrooms, and access to additional help. (July 2006)

U.S. Department of Education Announces Student Eligibility Options for New Academic Grants
The U.S. Department of Education has announced guidelines for current college students and high school seniors to apply for new Academic Competitiveness Grants, as well as National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants. (July 2006)

National High School Center Archived Webinar on the Ninth Grade Transition
View the National High School Center’s Webinar: "Leading the Way to a Smooth Ninth Grade Transition,” which was presented on April 28, 2006 to Regional Comprehensive Center staff, as well as related resources on the Ninth Grade Transition. (July 2006)