April 2004 Show Resources—Reforming High Schools & Career and Vocational Education
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Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE)

OVAE works to ensure that all Americans have the knowledge and technical skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education, the workforce, and life. Specific programs are listed below:

  • Preparing America's Future: The Secretary's High School Initiative
    The Secretary of Education has launched an initiative to ensure that all American high school students graduate with the knowledge and skills they need for good jobs or further education. The initiative will focus on high expectations for all; innovative learning structures that fully engage students, high-quality teaching and leadership, and accelerated transitions to work or additional education.

  • State Scholars Initiative
    The State Scholars Initiative (SSI) is designed to better prepare students academically by encouraging them to take more rigorous courses that reflect National Commission on Excellence in Education (NCEE) recommendations. Managed by the Center for State Scholars in partnership with OVAE, SSI is being piloted by six states in the 2002-2003 school year. These states are: Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Indiana, Maryland, and Rhode Island.

Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)

OPE directs, coordinates, and recommends policies for programs that are designed to provide financial assistance to eligible students; improve postsecondary educational facilities and programs; recruit and prepare disadvantaged students for postsecondary programs; and promote the domestic study of foreign languages and international affairs, research, and exchange activities. Specific programs and sites of interest are listed below:

  • The Student Guide: Financial Aid From the U.S. Department of Education
    The Student Guide is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. Grants, loans, and work-study are the three major forms of aid available through the Department's Federal Student Aid office. Updated each award year, The Student Guide tells you about the programs and how to apply for them.

  • College Preparation Checklist
    Provides information about what students from pre-high school through their senior year can do to prepare for college. This brochure recommends steps that students can take to get ready for college, including taking challenging classes, becoming involved in extracurricular activities, starting to save for college, and investigating financial aid opportunities.

  • Career Colleges and Technical Schools
    This website is designed to help students choose a school with an emphasis on state licensure and accreditation. It also includes information on finding a school that pays for your education, diploma mills and other helpful publications and resources. This website will help students choose the correct school that focuses on their career goal.

  • Think College Early
    The Think College web site has been designed to provide information on educational opportunities beyond high school for learners of all ages. Think College Early focuses on students in middle school, their parents, and teachers; High School and Beyond is targeted to high school and college students; and Returning to School emphasizes the educational needs of adult learners.

The Education Trust

The Education Trust works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels from kindergarten through college. They strive to close the achievement gap that separates low-income students and students of color from other youth. The Education Trust provides assistance to school districts, colleges, and community-based organizations to help raise student achievement and offers expert testimony on policies that are intended to improve education. They encourage all schools to reach high levels of academic achievement and makes a strong effort in improving the education of all students, but predominantly those students that the system has left behind.

Dougherty County Schools

The mission at the Dougherty County School System is to create a stimulating environment in which all students can and will pursue excellence, take responsibility for their lives and contribute positively to their families, schools, environment as well as the global community. They believe that even though learning is a life-long process, all children can learn and must have the educational foundation to succeed in a changing global society. In the past several years Dougherty's high schools have adopted reform models to ensure all students, particularly minority and economically disadvantaged students, are prepared for post-secondary careers and education.

Child Development and Behavior Branch (CDB

The CDB is one of the branches of the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development at the National Institutes of Health. They support research on psychological, psychobiological, and educational development from conception to maturity. They focus on the following programs:

  • Social and affective development; child maltreatment and violence
  • Pediatric Behavior and Health Promotion Research
  • Reading, Writing, and Related Learning Disabilities
  • Language, Bilingualism and Biliteracy Development and Disorders; Adult, Family, and Adolescent Literacy
  • Early Learning and School Readiness
  • Mathematics and Science Cognition and Learning—Development and Disorders

Talent Development High School (TDHS)

The TDHS is a comprehensive reform model for large high schools that face serious problems with student attendance, discipline, achievement scores and dropout rates. The model consists of specific changes in school organization and management in order to establish a strong and positive learning environment. It also contains curricular and instructional innovations to help transition all students into advanced high school work in English and Mathematics.

High Schools That Work (HSTW)

HSTW is the nation's first large-scale effort to engage state, district and school leaders and teachers in partnerships with students, parents and the community to help improve the way high school students are prepared for work and further education. Their mission is to prepare high school students for both postsecondary education and a career by having students complete a solid academic core and either an academic, a career/technical or a combined concentration. HSTW locations expect students to complete a challenging curriculum that focuses on raising academic and technical achievement and meeting their performance goals in reading, mathematics and science.

Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)

The mission of IEL is to improve education and the lives of children and their families through positive and visionary change. They have a wide variety of programs some of which are listed below:

  • Catalog of Research on Secondary School Reform (CoRSSR)
    The CoRSSR is an on-line catalog of research that has recently been completed and published. The research focuses on questions of implementation, effectiveness and policies that specifically address one or more of the key attributes of the effective schools.

  • National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform (NCCSR)
    The NCCSR collects and publicizes information regarding education reform efforts that have built the capacity of schools to help raise the academic achievement of all students. Its website offers good information on comprehensive school reform (CSR) including the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Project (CSRD).

America Diploma Project (ADP)

The ADP conducts research on what all high school graduates need to know and are able to do in order to succeed in college or the workplace. Its long-term goal is to create new benchmarks in reading, writing, and mathematics that reflect what all American students will need to know and be able to begin college or join the work force.

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

The mission of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is to increase the competitiveness of manufacturers and to improve American living standards by shaping a legislative environment conductive to U.S. economic growth. NAM also tries to increase the understanding of the importance of manufacturing to America's economic strength among policymakers, the media and the public. One effort is the Center for Workforce Success (CWS). The Center's purpose is to find innovative workforce solutions for U.S. manufacturers enabling them to compete in a competitive global economy.


No Child Left Behind

Helping Your Child Series

The Helping Your Child publication series focuses on providing parents with the tools and information necessary to help their children succeed in school and in life. The two newest titles in the series are "Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics" and "Helping Your Child Learn Science."

No Child Left Behind—Especially for Parents Page

On this site the U.S. Department of Education offers information about public school choice, supplemental services, testing and accountability, as well as parenting tips on reading and homework.

  • Tools for Student Success: Selected Publications for Parents and Teachers
    This catalog provides brief descriptions of a number of publications featuring the latest research and most effective practices in subjects such as reading, homework, and staying drug free, as well as information on how to obtain these publications in hard copy or online.

  • No Child Left Behind: A Parents Guide
    This is the essential guide for parents, and provides answers to questions about No Child Left Behind and what the law means for parents, in an accessible and easy to understand format.

  • Questions Parents Ask About Schools
    This pamphlet provides answers to commonly asked questions on topics such as Getting Ready for School, Monitoring School Work, Helping with Reading, and Working with Schools and Teachers.



Susan Sclafani is Counselor to the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). In her capacity as Counselor to Secretary Rod Paige, Dr. Sclafani provides counsel on educational issues and initiatives. As Assistant Secretary, she concurrently serves as the principal adviser to the Secretary on all matters related to vocational and adult education. Through OVAE's Preparing America's Future Initiative, Dr. Sclafani is working to mobilize effective and scientifically based state and local high school reform initiatives, to support America's community colleges, and to improve adult education programs.

Janis Somerville is the director of the National Association of System Heads (NASH)/Education Trust state K-16 initiative. The goal of Education Trust is to improve student achievement at all levels and close historic achievement gaps between students of different racial and economic backgrounds. Ms. Somerville began her work as a high school teacher in Trenton, New Jersey and in 1989 founded the Philadelphia Schools Collaborative. The collaborative brought K-12, college, and community resources together in a comprehensive high school restructuring and college access improvement effort.

Phyllis Eisen is vice president of the Manufacturing Institute for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and serves as the executive director of the Center for Workforce Success (CWS), the education, training and research arm of NAM. The Center's purpose is to find innovative workforce solutions for U.S. manufacturers enabling them to compete in a competitive global economy. Prior to her position at NAM, Ms. Eisen was a consultant to the American Motor Vehicles Association and Mack Trucks. Ms. Eisen serves on a multitude of boards and committees including the Board of Directors for the National Center for Education and the Economy and the Department of Labor's Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship.

Horace Reid is the principal of Dougherty Comprehensive High School in Albany, Georgia. Dougherty High School is an urban school with approximately 1200 students—96% are African-American and 89% are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Under Mr. Reid's leadership, Dougherty has undergone a comprehensive reform effort culminating in its recent designation as a School of Excellence in Visual Performing Arts and Humanities. Prior to his current position, Mr. Reid was the assistant principal at Merry Acres Middle School.

James McPartland is the Director of the Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS) at John Hopkins University and co-director of the Talent Development High School (TDHS) reform model. Currently active in 11 states, TDHS aims to reform and improve large high schools that face serious problems with attendance, discipline, achievement scores, and drop out rates. Professor McPartland has worked intensively with the school improvement team at Patterson High School in Baltimore and still continues to work with other Baltimore high schools to assess and evaluate all components of the Model.

Peggy McCardle is the associate chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch for the Center for Research for Mothers and Children at the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The Child Development and Behavior Branch supports research on psychological, psychobiological, and educational development from conception to maturity. Prior to this position, Dr. McCardle served as a scientific review administrator and a senior advisor to the Deputy Director for Extramural Research in the office of the NIH Director.

Sally Whatley is the Superintendent of Schools for the Dougherty County School System in Albany, Georgia. The mission of the Dougherty County School System is to create a stimulating environment in which all students will pursue excellence, take responsibility for their lives, and contribute positively to their families, schools, society, environment and the global community. As Superintendent, Dr. Whatley has been working diligently towards continuous instructional excellence as well as operational improvement. She has also helped create a culture of high expectations, academic achievement, and accountability in the Dougherty County School System as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Monica R. Martinez is the Director of the Network for the Advancement of Secondary Education at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL). IEL's mission is to improve the lives of children and their families through positive visionary change. Dr. Martinez is the founder of and advisor for the National High School Alliance and is also the Project Director for the Theme High Schools Network, the Catalog of Core Research on Secondary School Reform (CoRSSR), and IEL's work with the National Clearinghouse for School Reform (NCCSR). Prior to this position, Dr. Martinez worked on issues related to educational access and achievement for low-income and minority students.


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Last Modified: 08/02/2013