Over the past two decades, Philadelphia has placed neighborhood high schools at the center of secondary education reform. One of the most ambitious urban education reforms nationwide began right here, with the creation of the Philadelphia High Schools Collaborative in 1988.
Eight years into the reforms, in 1996, the Philadelphia Educational Longitudinal Study (PELS) was created to better understand the student experience in urban high schools. PELS follows more than 2,000 students (about 10% of the 1995-96 8th grade cohort) in our public schools through to 2003-04, three years past ‘on-time' graduation.
That same year, Research for Action released the Five School Study: Restructuring Philadelphia's Comprehensive High Schools , documenting the city's reform effort.
Building on these and other key components of the School District's earlier reform efforts (The Career Academy Movement, School-to-Work/School-to-Career, Children Achieving, the Secondary Education Movement (SEM): Phase I), input and responses from parent and student organizations, and the experience of university, community and business partners, the School District is engaged in aggressively redesigning its high schools to provide multiple options to ensure success for all students — including those who have not been well served by high schools in the past and have dropped out.
The Secondary Education Blueprint planning is guided by the five anchors delineated in the School District's White Paper, Secondary Education Movement: Phase II:
- High Quality Instruction and Environment for Instruction
- Effective, Accountable Leadership
- Multiple Pathways for Out-of-School Youth and Students At Risk of Dropping Out
- Small Supportive, Rigorous Schools and/or Communities;