Next Generation High Schools: Redesigning the American High School Experience

Next Generation High Schools: Redesigning the American High School Experience

"...I'm announcing a new challenge to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy... We'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math."

— President Barack Obama, February 12, 2013

The President's call for a re-envisioning of the American high school experience in his 2013 State of the Union address provided the opportunity to explore new designs and features that mark next generation learning. It also highlighted the importance of collaboration between education, business and postsecondary partners to reinvent the high school experience so that it better equips and empowers students to seize opportunities in today's innovation economy.

Today's Next Generation High Schools are better engaging students by providing stronger connections to the educational needs and interests of individual students; opening new opportunities to personalize and tailor academic content and wrap-around student supports; challenging students with rigorous courses, including in new economy subjects such as computer science; using innovative approaches and strategies to restructure the scope and time spent learning; and employing innovative educational technologies, project-based learning, and competency-based progressions to engage and empower learners. Ultimately, the strategies reflected in America's Next Generation High Schools will equip today's youth with the strong content knowledge, collaboration opportunities, and critical skills needed to meet the demands of an innovation economy, while preparing them to embark upon a lifetime of learning.

Principles of Next Generation High Schools

  • Redesigning academic content and instructional practices to promote active and hands-on learning, aligned with postsecondary and career-readiness;
  • Personalizing and tailoring academic content and learning to strengthen the connection to the educational needs and interests of individual students;
  • Ensuring strong content knowledge and skills for teachers in all subjects, including STEM;
  • Providing and personalizing academic and wrap-around support services for those students who need them;
  • Providing high-quality career and college exploration and counseling on options for students after high school graduation;
  • Offering multiple opportunities to engage in postsecondary learning, including earning college credit while still in high school; and
  • Redesigning the scope and sequence of learning time in more innovative and meaningful ways, incorporating innovations such as educational technologies, project-based learning, and competency-based progressions

2016 White House Convening for Next Generation High Schools: Accelerating Reform at the State & District Levels

On September 12th, The White House is bringing together six state teams and more than 20 school districts to commit to redesigning their high schools — efforts estimated to reach hundreds of thousands of students. This second annual White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools builds on progress made during the first annual summit held in November 2015, which generated $375 million in private and public sector commitments to rethink the high school experience.

U.S. Department of Education Resources to Support Next Generation High Schools

Using Evidence to Create Next Generation High Schools

This document highlights six general evidence-based strategies to improve America's high schools for the next generation. The six evidence-based strategies in this document can be used to create Next Generation High Schools that improve important student outcomes, such as high school completion and readiness for college and careers. They provide a number of options that when combined with each other or with other successful interventions may provide a full, engaging high school experience. Though many of the effective strategies may share common features, each has been identified by the research literature as a stand-alone intervention or model for improving students' educational outcomes. Reviewed strategies for enhancing students' high school and college outcomes include:

  1. participation in rigorous curriculum;
  2. small learning communities/small schools of choice;
  3. career academies;
  4. dual enrollment;
  5. early college high schools; and
  6. college and career counseling.

Early Warning Systems Issue Brief: Results from the National Survey on High School Strategies Designed to Help At-Risk Students Graduate.

The U.S. Department of Education sponsored the National Survey on High School Strategies Designed to Help At-Risk Students Graduate and collected data in the 2014-2015 school year from a nationally representative sample of 2,142 public high schools about 13 specific high school improvement strategies designed to improve the likelihood of high school graduation for at-risk students. The first brief on Early Warning Systems is being released in conjunction with the White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools, with other briefs coming out this fall.

Personalized Learning Systems

Personalized learning holds enormous promise for addressing key quality and equity issues in our education system. To help ensure that personalized learning systems are more robust, implementations are complete and effective, and systems match current capabilities, the Office of Educational Technology is launching a blog series to define and highlight key dimensions of exemplary personalized learning systems. Beginning in late August, OET began releasing individual blogs, include a post from OII on lessons learned from RTTD. On September 12, in conjunction with the Next Generation High School Summit, OET is releasing a package of these blogs.