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Boys and Books

The statistics are consistent: Young male readers lag behind their female counterparts in literacy skills. This article looks at the social, psychological, and developmental reasons why, and suggests solutions — including the need for more men to become role models for reading.

A Closer Look: Closing the Performance Gap

The performance gap — what students are expected to do versus what they can do — is compounded each year a child falls short of acquiring expected skills. As a result, underachieving high school students are at great risk for academic failure, discouragement, and disengagement. This article offers a framework to support adolescent literacy that ties improved student outcomes to an instructional core and an infrastructure core.

Demography as Destiny: How America Can Build a Better Future

Barely 50% of minority students graduate from high school on time. If this trend continues and the minority student populations increase as projected, the economic strength of the U.S. will be undermined. But if 78% of all student populations graduate on time by 2020, the U.S. can realize stunning potential benefits: conservatively, more than $310 billion would be added to the national economy.

Poor Children's Fourth-Grade Slump

Teachers have often reported a fourth-grade slump in literacy development, particularly for low-income children, at the critical transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” This study uses Chall’s stages of reading development to take a closer look.

Rethinking High School: Five Profiles of Innovative Models for Student Success

Only 68% of all students entering high school nationwide will earn their diploma. The news for students from historically underserved populations is even worse. These students have slightly more than a 50% chance of graduating from high school. To respond to this crisis, educators and policymakers are focused on developing small high schools which offer students a more personalized setting. But is the effort making a difference? In the absence of available long term data, WestEd examined five new, inner-city high schools across the country and discovered rigorous curricula, racially and socioeconomically diverse student bodies, academic access, engaged students, and supportive learning environments.

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.

Solution Shop: A Solution-Focused Counseling and Study Skills Program for Middle Schools

“Solution Shop” is a counseling and study skills program designed to address the academic needs of struggling middle school students. In this program, the school counselor serves the critical role of developing and providing appropriate interventions, which range from individual and group counseling, study skills instruction, parent consultation, behavioral contracts, math and reading tutoring, and teacher meetings.

Strategies to Improve High Schools

Research suggests six reform strategies that may help high schools better prepare students for college-level work and the workforce: planning at the state and district levels; rigorous curricula; real-world relevant curricula; improving student relationships and personalization; improving transitions to 9th grade, college, and work; and data-driven decision-making. This article lists key actions and offers practical examples and additional resources.

Summer Bridge Programs

More students fail ninth grade than any other grade and many of these students ultimately drop out. Can pre-emptive interventions lead to increased graduation rates? Emerging evidence suggests that eight-grade transition programs increase pass rates, boost enthusiasm for learning, improve academic skills, enhance self-esteem, and reduce discipline problems.