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ERIC Number: ED519405
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
Lessons Learned from High School SLC and Small School Reform Efforts. Lessons Learned. Volume 1, Issue 1
Oxley, Diana; Luers, Katie Whitney
Education Northwest (NJ1)
For the last decade, small learning communities (SLCs) and small schools have dominated the education landscape as cures for large comprehensive high schools' failings: high dropout rates and graduates unprepared for postsecondary careers and college. Recently, redesign efforts have begun to falter in light of evaluations showing stalled implementation and limited impacts. Education leaders and practitioners are left to wonder, should they cut their losses and pin their hopes on another reform movement? Evidence and the experience of Education Northwest, gained from working with more than 1,200 secondary schools and districts nationwide during the past six years, offer three reasons for not following that course. First, research suggests that SLC and small school structures are useful--if not sufficient--reform objectives: Further instructional improvements are needed. Second, staying the course allows staff members to learn and build on achievements, including stakeholders' ownership of reforms. Finally, continuing the initiative has implications for the efficient use of resources at a time when such resources are severely strained. Taken together, research and experience suggest that high school improvement has less to do with identifying another, "better" reform than implementing the current strategies fully and faithfully. This paper presents six lessons that identify key issues for implementing SLCs and small schools more effectively. The first three lessons point out the critical need to put a coherent vision of quality instruction at the forefront of any high school reorganization effort. The last three lessons identify the supports needed for effective and sustained implementation of reforms.
Education Northwest. 101 SW Main Street Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204-3213. Tel: 503-275-9519; Fax: 503-275-0458; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Northwest