Charter High Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap

Innovations in Education Series
U.S. Department of Education
October 2006

This booklet looks at reforming high school via chartering. Starting with a list of 400 secondary charter schools that are meeting achievement goals under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the authors culled it down to eight high-performing schools that have graduated at least one cohort of students, most of whom went on to college or work. Two-day site visits were made to help uncover what makes these schools succeed. The findings are presented in two parts. The first describes six common traits that drive success at these seemingly heterogeneous schools. For example, all focus on college prep, are mission driven, team up with parents and community and hold themselves accountable. The second section profiles the individual schools, showing how the common traits play out in day-to-day practice. Those interested in high school reform won't find any sweeping policy correctives in these pages, but they will find some excellent models of high school education in the charter sector. Read the report here.

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