Case Studies

Innovative Schools and After-School Programs

Innovative districts, schools, and after-school programs are proving that education reform can work in every community.

  • E.L. Haynes - The students at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School promise to uphold these basic principles in return for a rigorous curriculum and standard for achievement that prepares them for college and beyond.
  • Gary & Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High - The founders of San Diego's High Tech High charter school set out to redesign high school to meet the needs of today's students and prepare them for the 21st century economy.
  • George I. Sanchez Charter School - The George I. Sanchez Charter School (campuses in Houston and San Antonio) are run by the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans. The Sanchez schools have achieved excellent student performance and provide an impressive list of "wraparound services," including substance abuse prevention, counseling, and daycare for student parents.
  • Higher Achievement Program (HAP) - HAP is an independent Washington, D.C. after-school and summer program for 5th - 8th graders. HAP's academic program is remarkably broad and rigorous, featuring intensive small group mentoring in math, literature and technology. HAP is engaged in a study of its effectiveness with researchers at Princeton and Columbia.
  • KIPP Foundation - The KIPP Foundation recruits, trains, and supports outstanding teachers to open Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) public schools in high need communities nationwide. There are now 38 KIPP schools with a total enrollment of over 6,000 students.
  • San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) - Former Superintendent Linda Murray raised district graduation standards to the highest in California, matching state university admission criteria. Without any drop-off in graduation rates, all students are now required to take 3 years of college preparatory math and science, and 2 years of foreign language.

Teacher Training and Recruitment Programs

Innovative teacher training and recruitment programs are helping to get the best teachers into the schools that need them.

  • Institute for the Development of Education in Advanced Sciences (IDEAS) - Hofstra University's IDEAS Institute brings science and math teachers from surrounding public school districts to retrain them in how to teach more effectively. In its teacher training program, IDEAS emphasizes the importance of engaging students through teaching an appreciation of science in daily life.
  • Merck Institute for Science Education - The Institute collaborates with teachers, curricula supervisors and public school district administrators to develop, implement and assess effective science education for kindergarten through 8th grade. As part of the program, Merck scientists volunteer to work in classrooms with public school teachers.
  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) - NBPTS certifies exceptional teachers through comprehensive performance-based standards. The National Board is partnering with a growing number of states to provide incentives and train teachers to meet the standards. It has certified approximately 40,000 teachers in its first 15 years.
  • Teach For America (TFA) - TFA recruits recent college graduates to commit two years to teach in low-income urban and rural communities. Since 1990, TFA has recruited approximately 14,000 new teachers, who together have taught more than 2 million students. More than 60 percent of TFA's teachers have stayed in education as teachers, principals, school founders and education policy advisors.

Legal and School Financing Reforms

Comprehensive legal and school financing reforms can change the way states deliver public education.

  • New Jersey's Abbott districts - In response to the Abbott lawsuits, New Jersey has implemented the most comprehensive education funding parity system in the country. Starting with equal per pupil funding for all districts, the state then adds funds for pre-school, after-school, supplemental services and facilities renovation in low-income districts.
  • The New York Adequacy Study - Conducted by the American Institutes for Research, the study examined the full range of programs and services provided by the best public schools in the state and determined what it will take to provide the same services in low-income districts in New York City.

Research Presentations

These presentations show how and why programs succeed.

  • Comer School Development Program (SDP) - Part of Yale University, SDP uses a system-wide approach to school reform that focuses on child development and seeks to bridge the gap between psychiatry and education. SDP conducts extensive research on school climate and student self-image, behavior, social competence and academic achievement.
  • Successful Title I schools - Dr. Joseph Johnson, of the Ohio State Superintendent's office, has done extensive research on the distinguishing characteristics of successful low-income public schools and districts.
  • Teach For America (TFA) Mathematica - The Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., study specifically investigated the impact of TFA teachers on student achievement.