The Alliance for Excellence in Education, a national policy and advocacy organization, has identified elements that can determine the quality of public high schools. How many of these qualities does your high school demonstrate? Investigate, and start a dialog with school and administrators. Get involved for the benefit of all!
1. Challenging classes: The “core classes” that students must include math, English, science, and history. Are the course offerings sufficiently challenging? Does the school offer college credits in the form of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, local university offerings?
2. Personal attention: Do the teachers know all of their students? Do students have an academic advisor who can guide them through the specific courses for their goals?
3. Academic support: Can faculty and staff identify academically at-risk students and supply the educational resources to help them become successful?
4. Real World Experience: Does the school allow students to make connections between book learning and work skills?
5. Family & Community Involvement: Do parents have multiple opportunities to visit the school and communicate with teacher and staff?
6. Safe Learning Environment: Is the school a safe haven for students?
7. Skilled Teachers: Are faculty members well versed in their subjects? Do they have the ability to teach students from a variety of backgrounds and abilities?
8. Strong Leaders: Are the administrators skilled in supervision, management, and organization? Can they develop an appropriately challenging curriculum?
9. Necessary: Does the school have the resources, hardware and software available for successful teaching and learning?
10. User-friendly Information: Does the community have easy access to information about the school, including graduation requirements, state test performance, and drop-out rates?
For more information, peruse their website for a more comprehensive discussion: www.all4ed.org.