Today, improving high schools is an urgent priority for school districts. In recent years a focus on the early grades and piecemeal reform efforts has left many U.S. high schools in need of improvement. In response, Accelerated Schools plus™ has launched Accelerated High Schools™ – a powerful, research-based instructional approach that uses “inquiry academies” to increase student achievement.
History of Success
The goal of Accelerated Schools plus is to create powerful learning opportunities for all students. By building on the strengths of each student, the school uses the best of what we know about instruction to accelerate learning. Founded in 1986 as a pilot program in two schools, Accelerated Schools plus has partnered with more than 1,800 public schools in 42 states. There are 162 Accelerated Learning Academies (K-8) and Accelerated High Schools. Accelerated piloted its high school model in 2003 and is now implementing Accelerated High Schools nationwide. Accelerated High Schools are now operating in California, Illinois, Kentucky, and Connecticut.
Accelerated High Schools
Accelerated High Schools draw on Accelerated Schools’ philosophy, research, and processes. Implementation is based on what we know works at the secondary level:
. Smaller schools support higher levels of engagement, achievement, and
graduation rates. Each school should have no more than 400 students.
. Learning based on research and student inquiry.
. Multi-disciplinary curricula.
. Functional accountability through multiple forms of assessments.
. Autonomy over scheduling, budget, staffing, and time.
. Support for teaching through continuous professional development.
. Direct parents and community engagement.
. Partnerships with local colleges, universities, and corporations.
Key Feature: “Inquiry Academies”
Accelerated High Schools consist of small schools that take the form of “inquiry academies.” Students, faculty, and parents elect to join an academy. This process of choice helps create and sustain a culture of achievement where students take responsibility for their own learning through “inquiry projects” linking classroom learning to careers and vocations. Academies are supported by local corporations and `community agencies.
What We Provide
Each Accelerated High School is established through a five-year partnership agreement between the school, the school district, and Accelerated Schools plus . The partnership is a collaboration in which the entire high school community comes together to transform the school. Accelerated provides each partner high school with key resources to help it succeed:
. Visioning and Strategic Planning: The school community forges a shared vision of what it wants the school to be and identifies priorities. The school addresses those priorities by working through an Accelerated Schools’ governance structure and analyzing its challenge areas.
. Training: Accelerated’s coaches spend 25 percent of their time on a weekly basis supporting their schools. The coaches guide and motivate the school as it transforms itself.
. Professional Development: Accelerated provides research and practical applications for classroom-level instruction in K-12 classroom settings.
. Continuous Assessment: Accelerated facilitates self-assessment activities to measure student academic achievement and school performance. Diagnostic assessments are used to gauge a school’s progress and to provide data for sustained classroom improvement.
. Networking: Accelerated creates many opportunities for partner schools to interact on issues and strategies. It also hosts regional and national conferences, publishes newsletters, and supports a web site.
Results and Accomplishments
Accelerated Schools plus has been extensively studied and evaluated. It has been found to be one of the most successful school improvement models in the nation. Research and evaluations have shown that the Accelerated model leads to increases in student achievement and school improvement. An extensive summary of results can be found at the research link on this web site.
Additional Accelerated Capacities
In addition to school improvement partnerships, Accelerated Schools plus is one of the nation’s pre-eminent providers of professional development for teachers and principals, and strategic management services for “turn-around” schools and charter schools.