Case Study #1: Re-thinking How School is Done in Maine
- Poland Regional High School: History: Opened 6 years ago; replaced letter grades wtih student assessments; students work daily with their advisors who they remain with for all 4 years. Result: Every student is required to apply to college and more than 80% of the student body attends a college or university (in comparison to 35-40% prior to the opening of the school).
- Machias High School: History: Removed poorly attended parent-teacher conferences and replaced them with meetings between students, parents, and advisors, with students formally presenting their work to their parents. Result: 98-100% parent turn-out since the program began; increase of graduates going on to college from 50% to nearly 80%.
Case Study #2: When One School Won't Do, Enroll Students in Two (Maryland)
Thanks to a $1 million yearly donation from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Loudoun Academy of Science is projected to enroll 250 students, 9th-12th (this year, 23 seniors and 62 freshman have started). The focus of the school is to bring an integrated, hands-on science program to the students, who will spend part of the week at the Loudoun Academy of Science and the rest of the week taking their remaining classes in their Loudoun County neighborhood schools.
"We've been doing it backwards. They learn about rocks, but they don't know anything about chemistry. They learn about earthquakes, but they don't know anything about waves." -- said George Wolfe, who left a 20-year teaching position and his own PBS television show in NY to come to Maryland to design and direct the program, in describing why the school will teach all science subjects in integrated, year-long courses rather than the traditional manner.