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.

Policies That Advance the Mission

Policies That Advance the Mission

If the structure does not permit dialogue, the structure must be changed.

—Paulo Freire


After checking with the next-scheduled parent, Mr. Harper asks us not to sit in on the second meeting. He offers no explanation, but we take it that something is to be discussed in confidence, and we gladly exit. We decide to go to the media center, as we know a group of students and teachers is meeting there to do some extra work on a policy project. While Aspire High has had peer mediation for a number of years, they are considering a peer adjudication policy. The thought is that for certain levels of student misconduct, peers—following guidelines developed by a committee of ...

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