Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to school size. Although comprehensive high schools are still the norm, many educators are turning to the idea of small schools (typically, high schools) as a way to personalize the educational experience for all students and raise achievement. Small high schools replace the incoherency a comprehensive high school's curriculum with rigorous course, small classes, and challenging college-prep coursework. and the small scale of these schools makes personalized relationships between faculty and students possible-key to keeping dropout rates low and expectations high. Small schools or small learning communities have many benefits for students, parents, and staff, and there has been much research and foundation interest in small schools. The Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) has worked on numerous small school projects throughout New England and has developed a national reputation. In this book the CCE have transformed their "New England Small Schools Network Planning Manual" into a hands-on resource that educators anywhere can use as a guide for planning a small school.
Dan French, executive director of the Center for Collaborative Education, is the former director of instruction and curriculum for the Massachusetts Department of Education and special educator. He holds an EdD from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has published many articles, including the 1998 Phi Delta Kappan article, "The State's Role in Shaping a Progressive Vision of Public Education," and a commentary in Education Week, "Boston's Pilot Schools:Progress and Promise in Urban School Reform" (April 19, 2006). Mary Atkinson has over twenty-five years of experience in education as a teacher, curriculum consultant, and writer. She has worked both as an elementary Spanish bilingual teacher and a Spanish language teacher for grades K-12. She cowrote the Massachusetts World Languages Curriculum Framework and wrote the Texas Framework for Languages Other Than English. As a consultant to Center for Collaborative Education, Ms. Atkinson was lead author of several Turning Points Guides as well as the Small Schools Planning Guide. Her poetry and fiction for children has appeared in several books and magazines. Ms. Atkinson holds a MEd from Lesley University. Leah Rugen, publications director, has worked at the Center for Collaborative Education since 1997 as writer, change coach, and program director of the national Turning Points network. Prior to working at CCE she worked for Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, and the New York City Outward Bound Center. She began her education career teaching English and writing in public school in New York. She received her MAT in English from Brown University. Her CCE publications include Turning Points guides Creating Partnerships, Bridging Worlds: Family and Community Engagement (with Jordan Naidoo, 2003) and Understanding Learning: Assessment in the Turning Points School (2005).