The public high school is a uniquely American invention, and our public high schools have played a powerful role in the development of our nation. The challenge is that in today’s world, a high school diploma alone is not enough to usher young people immediately into a middle-class, life-supporting existence. Further, public high schools must take all who walk in the door, regardless of prior motivations, learning experiences, and life circumstances, and find a way to graduate all of them ready for some sort of post-secondary education or training--a mission they are not currently designed to meet.
Over the past five years, a group of six states have been working with the Everyone Graduate Center at Johns Hopkins University on the Cross State High School Redesign Collaborative initiative. Many of these states are using the comprehensive school improvement provisions from the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act to organize the work. Dr. Sonja Robertson, Executive Director of School Improvement for the Mississippi Department of Education, has been part of this effort from the very beginning and joins Bob Balfanz to discuss the many things we’ve learned from this cross-collaborative effort.