A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Promising Initiatives to Improve Education in Your Community - February 2000

New American High Schools

The Department recognizes outstanding high schools that are committed to high standards for all students and have achieved excellent results. The initiative showcases schools throughout the country that represent a broad range: comprehensive, magnet, redesigned vocational-technical schools, theme, and pilot schools as well as alternative schools serving the needs of at-risk youth. As part of the initiative, the Department provides information and technical assistance, conducts research and evaluations, and promotes standards-based reform efforts.

In 2000, $1.4 million will be used to identify and support up to 100 new showcase sites.

New American High Schools differ from traditional high schools in many ways:

How can your school become a New American High School?

Schools compete to become New American High Schools. Schools must supply compelling evidence indicating that they have undertaken standards-based, locally driven reform efforts that have had a positive effect on key indicators of school improvement and student success. Schools must provide documentation showing increases in student achievement, increases in student enrollment at postsecondary institutions, increases in student attendance, and reductions in student dropout rates.

What are the benefits of becoming a New American High School?

Schools that receive New American High Schools recognition receive immediate benefits. Schools, their districts, and communities gain public recognition of their success. The 1999 award recipients were recognized at the White House by Secretary Riley. Each school receives a small stipend to cover the cost of outreach and information-sharing activities, including participating in a network with other New American High Schools. Schools have access to a wide variety of technical assistance from the Department, including assistance on ways to improve their accountability systems and use data for continuously improving school performance. New American High Schools also inform policy and practice at the federal and state levels.

For more information call Gail Schwartz at (202) 205-5445.


Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, New York

Project Abstract:
Brooklyn Tech was instituted by a New York State legislative mandate and is open to all students of the City of New York by competitive examination. Expectations for high academic achievement are reflected in the rigorous curriculum of this science and technology magnet. All students take courses in all academic areas mandated by the New York State Board of Regents, including: four years of English, four years of social studies, three years of mathematics, three years of science and three years of foreign language. Building on a "house" guidance system used in the first two years, students select one of fifteen career majors for their junior and senior year experience. This system allows students with common interests to work together and establishes, within a school of 4,000 students, a smaller, more personalized learning environment. As a result of its continuous pursuit of excellence, Brooklyn Tech was named a "1999 U.S. News and World Report Outstanding American High School."

Adlai Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois

Project Abstract:
The curriculum at suburban Adlai Stevenson High School is a model of challenge and relevance for the 3,300 + students enrolled. Newsweek (1998) rated Stevenson among the top 20 high schools in the United States on efforts to give as many students as possible the opportunity to do the most advanced work. The payoff at Stevenson is remarkable: more than 90 percent of 1997 graduates exceed Illinois state math and science course requirements; the College Board (1997) ranked Stevenson first in the Midwest and among the top 10 schools in the world in the Advanced Placement program for producing more AP scholars than any school in the world; and more than 95 percent of 1996 graduates enrolled in postsecondary education.

Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Houston, Texas

Project Abstract:
The Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, located approximately one mile from the world renowned Texas Medical Center, is recognized as one of the finest public high schools in Texas. The school was established in 1972 as a partnership between the Houston Independent School District and Baylor College of Medicine to address a critical shortage of health-care providers in Houston. Today this urban school, which recruits students from across the city, has gone beyond that original mission to become a state model of pre-professional college prep in a public high school. It prepares the most diverse student body in Texas for programs leading to potential careers in medicine, nursing, and allied health, as well as engineering, communications and finance.

Sussex Technical High School, Georgetown, Delaware

Project Abstract:
Rural Sussex Tech is one of the nation's best success stories about how a school transformed itself from an area vocational school to a school-of-choice that competes successfully for student enrollment with public and private schools. Sussex has been restructured to promote both high standards and the integration of academic and vocational education. The high school reorganized its occupational program into four clusters, each with a challenging program of study that includes academic and technical courses. The programs of study include advanced math and science courses in each occupational area. Sussex has eliminated all remedial and general track courses and study halls.



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