Best Practice Framework: High School Completion

In 2013, research teams investigated factors that promote higher than average high school completion among groups of students generally at risk of failing to complete high school. Eight higher- and five consistently average-performing high schools were investigated to determine differences in practices along the five themes of the framework below. For more information about each finding, follow the Learn More link.

High School Completion (2013) Critical Needs, Elementary (2011) Middle School Science (2009) High School (2008) Middle School (2007)
Organizing Themes Best Practices
Curriculum & Academic Goals
  • Goals look beyond graduation in four years to success in post-secondary education and career.
  • The curriculum is constantly and collaboratively revised in response to state mandates, identified needs, and student and community interests.
  • Expectations for all students are high, e.g., mastery on Regents exams, challenging courses.

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Staff Selection, Leadership, & Capacity Building
  • School culture is distinguished by strong relational trust and close collaboration.
  • The hiring process pays close attention to only hiring educators who will fit well with the school and district.
  • Teachers and administrators are dedicated to their students and their success in and beyond high school.

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Instructional Programs, Practices, & Arrangements
  • Effective instruction is defined as tailored to capture student interest and actively engage them.
  • Students, especially those at risk of failing to graduate, are provided options for meeting requirements and staying in school.
  • Co-curricular activities are not only important but are seen as an opportunity to mentor, connect with, and keep students academically engaged.

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Monitoring: Compilation, Analysis, & Use of Data
  • Data collection, analysis, and use are well-established and widespread.
  • Students, especially those most at risk of failing to graduate, are closely monitored and known individually.

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Recognition, Intervention, & Adjustments
  • The approach to meeting the needs of individual students is flexible.
  • Response to Intervention (RTI) is well established.
  • Care is taken to celebrate a variety of kinds of success.
  • AIS services are closely tied to individuals' academic performance and need.

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