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Rethinking Schools: An Introduction to New York City's Experience

Only half of New York City's public school students complete high school in four years, one- third of all 9th graders fail, and fewer than 40% of students in large, low-performing schools graduate. To address student needs and thereby increase future student achievement, the district is working with nonprofit organizations and funders to support and develop small high schools. The preliminary results of these efforts are promising.

Do smaller schools have a positive impact on student learning? This WestEd report for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation takes an early look at how New York City schools, the largest system in the U.S. with over one million students, is working to create smaller learning communities. The report describes the population served by the district's small school initiative, provides some initial data about how students are fairing in their new schools, and profiles of one school, the Marble Hill School for International Studies, whose success underscores the importance of creating partnerships with diverse local and national nonprofit organizations.


Go to the study

Huebner, T.A. for WestEd. (2005). Rethinking High School: an Introduction to New York City's experience. Seattle: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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