High Schools That Work is an effort-based school improvement initiative founded on the conviction that most students can master rigorous academic and career/technical studies if school leaders and teachers create an environment that motivates students to make the effort to succeed.
The Southern Regional Education Board's Commission for Educational Quality passed a set of 10 recommendations in 1985 that encouraged states to make career/technical education a full partner in efforts to improve student achievement. The commission's work led to the founding of High Schools That Work, and later, Making Middle Grades Work, which today help schools in more than half of the nation's states. HSTW and MMGW built on the commission's findings, which stress academic rigor, helping students see relevance in their schoolwork, providing students with caring personal relationships from adult mentors, helping students understand their responsibility to take charge of their own learning, and helping teachers understand their responsibility for implementing engaging classroom instruction. These practices can help improve student achievement for all groups of students. Recent research validates the commission's vision for combining rigorous academics with career/technical skills -- resulting in improved student achievement for all groups.
Program Manager: Melissa Canney