Around the country, there is a growing movement to radically re-design high schools. Recently, a number of initiatives have popped up with the aim of re-designing high schools including:
- The XQ Institute is in service of parents and pioneers, entrepreneurs and teachers, business leaders and administrators, youth and education experts—who are joining a movement to rethink America’s schools.
- In May 2015, the Mayor of Boston launched a competition calling for new out-of-the-box models of high school. This accompanies the recent Innovation Schools Initiative launched by the state of Massachusetts to spur new school models.
- In November 2015, the White House held a summit on Next Generation High Schools.
- Most Likely to Succeed, a documentary about a next generation HS in San Diego, has won acclaim at documentary film festivals and sold out with audiences around the country.
MOvement amongst educators and authors
There is a concerted effort led by educators and authors calling for more sane, healthy high schools that redefine success. A movement for high schools that values both academic achievement and that incorporates social and emotional health and skills. There is a movement of educators to redefine success, and to create high school experiences that are healthy and rewarding for students.
This movement has gained particular steam in high-achieving districts like Palo Alto where students suffer disproportionately from mental health issues and have even seen several suicides clusters in the past several years. A host of books has come out in the past few years calling for a change to our overloaded students:
- Beyond Measure, Ables
- Gift of Failure, Lahey
- Where you Go is Not Who you Will Be, Bruni
- How to Raise an Adult, Lythcott-Haims
- Age of Opportunity, Steinberg
- Most Likely to Succeed, Dintersmith and Wagner
- Overloaded and Underprepared, Brown and Pope
- Excellent Sheep, Deresiewicz
Inspirational school models
- Deeper Learning Network is a collection of over 500 traditional and public schools including ten different school networks that are helping to lead the way in terms of high school innovation.
- In the independent school area, the Nueva School is creating a new model and Riverdale High School in NYC and University High School in San Francisco are making waves with mentoring programs and purpose learning programs that focus on developing a students’ sense of interiority and purpose
- The three words most used by high school students to describe their school experience are: tired, stressed, and bored. This is according to a poll that surveyed 22,000 high school students published last year and reported in USA Today.
- This is a great article capturing the magnitude of the dysfunction of our current high school model by Temple University professor and leading adolescent development expert Laurence Steinberg published on slate.com.
- This article in the New Republic captures the remarkable amount of boredom encountered by young people at our high schools. Great lens into a typical day at a high school. Well-reported.
- This is a powerful article about a veteran teacher who shadows a student at his high school for two days – and it changes his whole outlook on what it means to be a high school student and the need for radically changing how students learn.