We appreciate Mike's enthusiasm for Denver's School of Science and Technology but would rather see President Obama give the commencement speech at Cincinnati's Clark Montessori Junior and Senior High School. And not just because we're typing this post in the Buckeye State.

Clark is the first public Montessori high school in the country, and has been identified by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a national model high school.? It boasts outstanding academic performance year-in, year-out from a student body that is racially and socio-economically diverse and that is not admitted through an entrance exam or other enrollment hurdles.

...the school also prepares its graduates for the non-academic challenges that students, especially first-generation college-goers, face.

Clark takes seriously the task of preparing students for college ? academically, of course, through its rigorous honors-level core courses.? But through Clark's College Center, the school also prepares its graduates for the non-academic challenges that students, especially first-generation college-goers ? and more than one-third of its students fall into this category, face.? The school offers extensive AP coursework and dual-enrollment at nearby colleges so that students can graduate with some college credit under their belts; Clark exposes students to the workplace and higher education by requiring students to go on college tours and participate in job shadowing experiences; guidance counselors teach students the basics of writing a resume and filling out the FAFSA; and so much more.

This integration between high school and the ?real world? is all the more critical as students face increasing college tuition costs and as it becomes more and more difficult for high school graduates to navigate college admissions and the workplace. Clark is unique in its seamlessness between high school, college, and the workforce and should be a model for education as states seek to lower costs and increase college enrollment, especially for low-income and/or minority students.

The school's college-prep focus is working.? Here are a few fast facts about Clark's class of 2010:

-100% of the class of 2010 are expected to graduate

-100% of the class of 2010 are going on to college

-33% of current seniors are first generation in their families to go to college

-33% of current seniors receive free or reduced lunch

Read Clark Montessori's Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge essay here, watch the school's application video here, and, most importantly, vote for Clark here.

-Fordham's Ohio Team

Item Type: