The New American High School Conference

This event, held in Washington, D.C., on May 22-24, 1996, was extraordinary. It represented a new kind of collaboration--from the nomination process to site selection to site visits to conference planning to conference execution--between the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education and NCRVE. The conference itself involved an impressive array of 65 cosponsoring national associations representing education, business, labor, parents, community groups, and state and local government (see accompanying box listing cosponsoring organizations).

The purpose of the invitational conference was to showcase 10 high schools selected from the 31 site visits and more than 170 nominations nationwide. These schools are making great strides in preparing students for college and careers at the same time. While they differ in important ways, all 10 schools share a commitment to comprehensive restructuring so that all students have opportunities to:

Attendees represented all levels of policymakers--local, state, and national. In addition to presentations by the 10 showcase schools, the conference also provided strategy sessions for the invitees and panelists to discuss the role of policymakers in high school reform.

Rather than an ending, we hope the conference will be the beginning of a wider understanding and support for the elements that make a "new American high school." OVAE and NCRVE are undertaking some efforts now to ensure continuity. For example, a meeting with the cosponsoring organizations next month is planned to discuss how the cosponsors can also showcase the new American high school and 10 showcase sites at their annual conferences. In addition, we are discussing ways to allow the 10 schools to bring their expertise to other schools attempting similar kinds of comprehensive reform.

The 10 school sites showcased at the New American High School Conference included:

Chicago High School for the Agricultural Sciences, Chicago, Illinois
David Douglas High School, Portland, Oregon
Encina High School, Sacramento, California
Fenway Middle College High School, Boston, Massachusetts
Gateway Institute of Technology, St. Louis, Missouri
High School of Economics and Finance, New York, New York
Sussex Technical High School, Georgetown, Delaware
Thompson School District, Loveland, Colorado
Walhalla High School, Walhalla, South Carolina
William H. Turner Technical Arts High School, Miami, Florida

The 21 Honorable Mention Sites were:

Aviation High School, Long Island City, New York
Benson High School, Omaha, Nebraska
Bethel School District, Spanaway, Washington
Bryan Senior High School, Omaha, Nebraska
Central High School, Louisville, Kentucky
Flower Vocational School, Chicago,Illinois
George Washington High School, Philadelphia, Pennyslvania
Georgetown High School, Georgetown, Texas
Gloucester High School, Gloucester, Virginia
Hamilton High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hiram Johnson High School, Sacramento, California
Leander High School, Leander, Texas
Maritime and Science Technology High School, Miami, Florida
Middle College High School, Long Island City, New York
Rezin Orr Community Academy, Chicago, Illinois
Roosevelt High School, Portland, Oregon
Sebastian River High School, Sebastian, Florida
Sturgis Brown High School, Sturgis, South Dakota
Walton High School, Bronx, NY with Walks of Life, Inc., New York, New York
Westwood High School, Fort Pierce, Florida
Winnacunet Cooperative High School, Hampton, New Hampshire

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