It has long been assumed that school redesign can't happen in already existing comprehensive high schools. The thought has been, if you want to make real change, start your own school. While it seems expedient to follow this path, two decades of pursuing change by building new schools has left the majority of high school students trapped in traditional settings that have continued to provide less than adequate educational opportunities for the vast majority of adolescents. The authors believe that the challenge facing America's high schools is how best to support change in schools. Through this book the authors will demonstrate how real change can come about while providing concrete examples from work in schools and classrooms, with multiple stakeholders, and with local and state leaders over the past 20 years. It may take more time and entails accepting the fact that each school's unique culture requires a unique journey to transformation. This book presents a variety of strategies that can be employed in changing existing high schools rather than creating new schools.
Joe DiMartino is founder and president of the Center for Secondary School Redesign (CSSR). Jason B. Midwood Director of Innovation, Strategic Planning, and Federal Programs for the Central Falls School District here recently served as Vice President of Operations at the Center for Secondary School Redesign (CSSR).