The Talent Development High School model is designed to change school organization, management, curriculum, and instruction and provide professional development to assist high schools that have serious problems with student attendance, discipline, achievement scores, and dropout rates.

Support for Students below Grade Level

  • Ninth Grade Success Academy – a self-contained, school-within-a-school model for ninth graders organized around interdisciplinary teams designed to provide incoming ninth graders with a smooth transition into high school.
  • Double-Dose English and Mathematics
    • Strategic Reading – a semester 90-minute course for students who are two or more grade levels behind in reading which is paired with English I giving students a year-long English experience. Strategic Reading provides specific reading strategies and on-going experience with writing, while reading relevant and authentic sources.
    • Students who are particularly far behind in reading may have their freshman science course replaced by a Literacy Lab as an elective course.
  • Transition to Advanced Mathematics – a semester long 90-minute course is paired with Algebra I or Integrated Mathematic to provide motivation, skills, and approaches needed for success in Algebra and Geometry.
  • Freshman Seminar – All freshmen take a semester long 90-minute course designed to give students the social and study skills they need to engage in active and contextual learning. It also introduces students to high school requirements and procedures, and demonstrates how school and schoolwork are related to adult life and success.

Professional Development

Transition to Advanced Math – 2 days
Geometry Foundations – 2 days
Freshman Seminar – 2 days
Reading and Writing in Your Career – 2 days
Strategic Reading – 2 days
Teaching in the Extended Class Period – 1 day

On-site, job-embedded support – 34 times


The Center for School Reform Quality Center Report of October 2006 found 2 quantitative studies meeting the most rigorous research design standards that report positive effects on student achievement.

  • Balfanz, R. Legters, N., & Jordan, W. (2004). Catching up: Impact of Talent Development ninth grade instructional interventions in reading and mathematics in high-poverty high schools (Report No. 69). Baltimore: Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Rick, Johns Hopkins University.
  • Kemple, J.J., Herlihy, C. M., & Smith, T. J. (2005). Making progress toward graduation: Evidence from the Talent Development High School model. New York: MDRC.