Transforming a school in meaningful ways that actually change teaching and learning is hard work. In its partnerships with local school districts, the North Carolina New Schools Project forges five-year agreements in recognition of the difficulty and complexity of this work. Results are emerging, however, that indicate that high school innovation is taking hold in North Carolina.

  • More students come to school – Student attendance in the first group of 11 redesigned high schools topped that of their comparison schools by nearly 1 percentage point. The initial 13 Learn and Earn Early College High Schools had attendance rates that surpassed their districts’ rates by nearly 2 percentage points. Even fractional increases in high school attendance are considered significant.

  • More teachers believe in their schools – The percentage of teachers in innovative high schools who "strongly agree" that their school is "a good place to work and learn" is nearly double the percentage in traditional high schools (48 percent compared to 26 percent). In fact, teachers in redesigned and early college high schools are significantly more satisfied in every area measured by the state’s Teacher Working Conditions Survey.

  • More students succeed at college-level work – Nearly three-quarters of students in early college high schools took at least one college course last year, and their passing rates in those courses ranged from 76 percent to 100 percent. Nine schools recorded passing rates of 90 percent or better.

  • More groups of students making progress – Twelve of the 16 schools required last year to make "Adequate Yearly Progress," or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind law met that benchmark. The AYP mandate divides students at a school into groups by ethnicity, English fluency, and socio-economic level, then demands that every group show progress in both reading and math.

  • It’s early, but some schools do better than expected – In the first year of implementing their planned transformation, a third of the innovative high schools met or exceeded the expected academic growth projected for them in the state’s ABCs accountability system. Nine of 24 schools outperformed the other comprehensive high schools in their districts.

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