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.

Beyond Bricks and Mortar

Beyond Bricks and Mortar

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

—Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

LISTEN

We return to Aspire High for the third and final day of our visit. As with our previous visits, we are greeted at the door by students. All guests are greeted by students who rotate to welcome, sign in, and escort guests—both expected and unexpected. The students who meet us today are our tour guides. They introduce themselves as Chris and D’Shonna. Although we followed Mr. Harper around for a while on our first day, ...

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