Best Practice Framework: High School

Research teams investigated ten consistently higher- and five consistently average- performing high schools to determine differences in their 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) ELL Elementary (2016) High School (2008) Middle School (2007)
Organizing Themes Best Practices
Curriculum & Academic Goals
  • Collaborative development of goals and consistency between district, school, and classroom goals related to increasing student mastery and closing achievement gaps.
  • Continual revision of strategic plans aligned with goals and a shared vision of success.

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Staff Selection, Leadership, & Capacity Building
  • A highly professional climate in which teachers and administrators are encouraged to keep up with their fields and actively contribute to the functioning of the school.
  • A teacher evaluation process supportive of constant improvement.
  • Active recruitment of candidates to match specific needs, goals, and fit with community and school culture.

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Instructional Programs, Practices, & Arrangements
  • Broader spectrum of students offered opportunities to take AP and honors classes and flexible scheduling to best meet student needs.
  • Expectations that teachers have not only content expertise but also the ability to effectively differentiate their instruction.
  • Instructional supports such as labs and tutorials to help students succeed in rigorous courses.

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Monitoring: Compilation, Analysis, & Use of Data
  • Collective accountability for student performance.
  • Constant collection and interpretation of a variety of data from multiple sources followed by action strategically targeted to address current and future needs.

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Recognition, Intervention, & Adjustments
  • Flexibility in developing and revising the schedule and allocating resources in time and faculty to where data show the most need.
  • Interventions focused on keeping students on track before AIS is needed.
  • Connecting with families to intervene early when social, emotional, or academic problems present themselves.

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