The ideal school is closer than you think. Welcome to Aspire High! The world’s best high school may be a dream, but it’s not out of reach. It’s a model drawn from research, observations, focus groups, and interviews, and each aspect of its success exists in a real school today. In this book, you’ll discover what makes Aspire High’s culture of aspiration work. Whether you’re a policymaker or district leader who can build a school from the ground up or an educator aiming for incremental change, you’ll find your next steps, including: • A whole new way to work with all stakeholders • Research and action for best practices, from physical layout to curriculum • Principles for designing practices that encourage student aspirations • Messages from thought leaders inside and outside the field of education Aspirational culture is good for the whole school community—and beyond. Make your school a dynamic place that promotes aspirations and meaningful learning for all.

Introduction Imagining Tomorrow’s School Today
Introduction: Imagining Tomorrow’s School Today

Nothing will work unless you do.

—Maya Angelou

Time for a Revolution

By now, it has become commonplace to point out the relative obsolescence of the inherited model of school. Designed for a time when information was hard to get and student populations were soaring due to immigration and new laws requiring compulsory schooling, a model inspired by the punctual efficiency and quality control of the industrial factory made sense. And so empty-headed students, who were “batched by date of manufacture” (Robinson, 2009) sat in neat rows in front of experts in various, distinct subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic, science, and social studies to have content installed, reviewed, and tested. With hallways as conveyer belts, bells rang to ...

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