NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED532051
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 24
Districtwide Implementation of Small Learning Communities: A Case Study on Improving School Climate
Sullivan, Robert, Ed.; Shaw, Danielle, Ed.
Urban Education Collaborative
Over the last 10 to 15 years, a variety of efforts to transform American high schools have gained both public and private support. Significant among these are initiatives to implement Small Learning Communities (SLCs), part of a larger school reform and restructuring effort designed to address a variety of goals, including "downsizing large schools, meeting the needs of at-risk students, solving the problem of failing schools, modeling the process of school restructuring, personalizing education for all students, empowering teachers and extending their roles, preventing dropping out, and finding an equitable substitute for tracking" (Raywid, 1996a, p. 9). In 2004, the Christina School District (CSD) in Wilmington, Delaware, was awarded a three-year federal grant to implement secondary school reform as outlined in the district's Transformation Plan, which called for the implementation of small learning communities (via theme-based academies) in district high schools. The SLC grant was designed to "substantially improve the academic achievement, climate and potential for success for CSD's high school students." The effort would build on the Ninth-Grade Learning Community (Academy) piloted in 2003-2004 at Christiana High School (CHS) and would, by the end of the grant period, include SLCs, including 9th-grade and career-themed academies at all three district high schools; interdisciplinary teams of core subject teachers across all grade levels ("wall-to-wall" implementation) to foster personalized and continuous relationships between the team of teachers and their students; rigorous curriculum to meet the needs of all children; and provision of high-quality, sustained, intensive professional development in core academic subjects and SLC implementation. The three goals agreed upon by the school teams were to increase academic achievement, create a positive school climate, and increase parent and community involvement and engagement. Glasgow High School (GHS) and CHS added a fourth goal: to decrease the achievement gap. During Year 1 of the grant, each of the high schools developed its own set of three-year goals and annual measurable objectives. This report on the evaluation of the CSD's SLC implementation provides an overview of the SLC implementation both at the district level and at the three schools--CHS, Newark High School (NHS), and GHS--over the full grant period. Special attention is given to describing efforts to meet goals and their alignment to best practices in SLC implementation and how these best practices may be used to implement SLCs elsewhere. Appended are: (1) School Goals; (2) Research-based Practices in SLCs (by Oxley's Domains); (3) Delaware Student Testing Program Summary Results; and (4) Delaware Highly Qualified Teachers & Staffing Ratios. (Contains 1 figure, 2 tables and 2 footnotes.) [For "A Research Brief: Small Learning Communities--Recommendations for Success," see ED532061.]
Urban Education Collaborative. Available from: Institute for Schools and Society, Temple University 1301 Cecil B Moore Avenue Ritter Annex 4th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19122. Tel: 215-204-3000;Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William Penn Foundation
Authoring Institution: Temple University, Urban Education Collaborative
Identifiers - Location: Delaware