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What Makes a High School Successful? (page 2)

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Updated on Dec 17, 2007

6) A Safe Learning Environment
Every high school must guarantee the safety of its students, teachers, staff, and visitors, and every school should be kept free of drugs, weapons, and gangs. School leaders need to build a climate of trust and respect. They should encourage peaceful solutions to conflict wherever possible, and respond directly to any bullying, verbal abuse, or other threats.

7) Skilled Teachers
Every high school teacher should know well the subjects they teach and should know well how to teach all kinds of students, from all kinds of backgrounds. New teachers should get the guidance and mentoring they need to be successful in the classroom. And all teachers should have enough time to plan lessons, carefully review student performance, and continuously improve their teaching.

8) Strong Leaders
Every high school needs a skillful principal, one who supervises personnel effectively, manages finances capably, and keeps the organization running smoothly. Every school also needs a strong educational leader (this could be the principal, a senior teacher, or another staff member) to define a vision of academic excellence, work with teachers to develop an engaging and coherent curriculum, and serve as a mentor and role model for teachers and students alike.

9) Necessary Resources
Every high school should provide all students and teachers with the books, computers, laboratory equipment, technology, and other resources they need to be successful. And every school should maintain safe, clean facilities that are fit for teaching and learning.

10) User-Friendly Information
All community members should have easy access to information that gives a clear, straightforward picture of how well the school is serving all of its students, including those from every income level, ethnic group, and racial background. Some of the key pieces of information include a school's graduation requirements, graduation and dropout rates, and student performance on state tests.

This checklist provided by the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit with a mission to promote high school transformation, and to make it possible for every child to graduate prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.

www.all4ed.org

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