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ERIC Number: EJ759450
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Mar-9
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
"First Things First" Shows Promising Results
Hendrie, Caroline
Education Week, v24 n26 p1, 13-14 Mar 2005
In this article, the author discusses a school improvement model, First Things First, developed by James P. Connell, a former tenured professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in New York. The model has three pillars for the high school level: (1) small, themed learning communities that each keep a group of students together throughout grades 9-12; (2) a "family advocate" system that pairs teachers with 15 to 17 students over four years; and (3) a heavy emphasis on instructional improvement. Although initially met with resistance in the Kansas City, Kansas, school district, the model was eventually implemented, and all five of the district's high schools were restructured into small learning communities. Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has remarked that First Things First appears to be the best model for improving existing high schools. In this urban district, where nearly four of every five students are non-white, and three out of four qualify for federally subsidized school meals, attendance is up, the graduation rate has increased, and reading scores have improved.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas