In their previous book, Best Practice: New Standards for Teaching and Learning in America’s Schools, Daniels and his colleagues drew on the national curriculum standards to define good teaching and learning. Then, the authors personally put those standards to work on the West side of Chicago, starting the city’s first new public high school in thirty years.
In this book, the authors take us along on that adventure, from the earliest planning meetings to the school’s first graduation six years later. They tell exactly how Best Practice High School got started, what worked and what didn’t, where they stumbled and soared, and what is still left to do.
But this is more than the story of one innovative school. Rethinking High School is designed to be a template for change. Organized around eleven fundamental choices that all secondary schools must make, the book serves as a checklist, an agenda, and a study guide for high school reform. Instead of dictating right answers, the authors pose key questions and recount a range of creative alternatives developed by schools around the country. By offering this rich array of stories and models, the book speaks directly to readers who wish to improve existing high schools, to break larger schools into smaller ones, or start new high schools from the ground up.
Rethinking High School—complete with a companion website—articulates a clear vision of successful secondary school reform. Acknowledging the monumental challenges of renewing high schools, it shows how ordinary but determined people, working together, can accomplish the extraordinary.