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White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools Background

This post provides a summary of potential announcements for the White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools.

In 2013, the President issued a challenge in his State of the Union to redesign America’s high schools so that young people graduate with skills and abilities aligned with the needs of a global economy. As part of that call to action, the President has visited a number of leading high schools, including Manor New Technology High School (Texas), P-TECH (New York), and Worcester Technical High School (Massachusetts).

Earlier this year, as part of his State of the Union, the President called for a national effort to create more Next Generation High Schools – schools that incorporate key elements of redesign including personalized learning, work-based learning experiences, deeper ties to post-secondary, and include a focus on expanding STEM opportunities for girls and other groups of students who are underrepresented in these high-growth, well-paying fields.

In spirit of that vision, potential announcements for the Summit includes those that are:

  • Expanding access to rigorous coursework for students, such as Advanced Placement & International Baccalaureate, or advanced coursework in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that was previously not offered to students in a particular school, district, state, or region.
  • Supporting personalized and active learning by shifting education away from a teacher-centered model to a student-centered model that a teacher facilitates. Through this approach, the pace of learning is driven by the student’s unique needs, interests, progress, and, mastery. This is often buttressed with technology, most prominently through blended learning models.
  • Igniting the imagination of American students by giving them access to tools, mentors and spaces for hands-on learning and Making that not only promotes values such as creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-expression, but can also serve as a path to inspire more girls and boys to excel in STEM subjects.  
  • Building partnerships that allow high school students to accelerate their learning in the form of dual enrollment or early college high school experiences
  • Providing students the ability to gain work-based competencies by extending their educational experience to real-world settings through internships, apprenticeships, or other work-based experiences, that provide students exposure to a particular field relevant to their areas of professional and academic interest.
  • Pursuing innovative approaches to the use of time to drive student achievement. This can be done through efforts such as expanded learning time, redesigning the school day and year, and developing and implementing competency- or performance-based assessments that rewards students’ demonstration of knowledge and skills over seat-time.
  • Redesigning academic content and instructional practice to better align with postsecondary education and careers, such as encouraging the development of non-cognitive skills like collaborative problem solving, critical thinking, and perseverance.
  • Creating more next-generation learning cities and regions, where local leaders, museums, libraries, afterschool providers, community foundations, employers and others, all work together to support the creation of next-generation high schools.

Mario Cardona is a Senior Policy Advisor in the White House Domestic Policy Council.