Reframing Education: The Partnership Strategy and Public Schools

Posted by on May 6, 2006

[posted from Public Education Network newsblast]


A new study by the Youth Development Institute of the Fund for the City of New York reveals emerging lessons from the New Century High Schools Initiative. The urgent need for redesign of urban high schools is clear and has become a major focus of reform efforts nationally. The three-year-old initiative reinvents large, underperforming high schools in New York City by creating small autonomous schools and developing partnerships with outside organizations that are central to the conceptualization and implementation of the new schools. Partnering organizations include settlement houses, museums, universities, youth development organizations, and cultural institutions. The initiative?s hallmark strategy of “school-level partnerships,” has resulted in innovative curricula, greater personalization for students, and improved school management practices that offer important lessons for policymakers and school leaders across the nation. Key findings from the report include: (1) Education partnerships attract more school resources and enhance academic content; (2) A growing number of superintendents are recognizing the potential of partnerships to make systemic changes in schools; (2) When fully implemented, partnerships help transcend traditional approaches to school governance, teaching practices, and social supports for students. New Visions for Public Schools, a local education fund, manages the initiative, which is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Open Society Institute. Dr. Janice M. Hirota, the principal investigator says, “Organizational partners bring new resources, approaches, expertise, and opportunities to the students in their schools. But actually putting these partnerships into practice does more. It requires reframing the means and meaning of the high school educational enterprise…”

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