Stories from the Field

A leading elementary school in the Project-Based Learning-driven New Tech Network, Katherine Smith School is a neighborhood school with a majority Hispanic population, generational poverty, and numerous challenges. However dedicated leadership and a committed staff have transformed the school into a vibrant and sought after exemplar for 21st century learning.
In the low-income neighborhood of South Sacramento in the late 1990’s, parents and guardians were told by the school district that they were “partners” in their children’s education, yet they felt they were treated like problems rather than solutions. Communication, and trust, were at an all-time low. Helped by a...
An increase in social-emotional support for students as well as opportunities for them to exercise leadership skills is paying off in increased attendance and the percentage of students on track to graduate at John Hancock College Preparatory High School on Chicago’s southwest side. Leadership and service opportunities—whether it’s promoting wellness...
Leaders of Fulton County Schools, just outside Atlanta, realized that increasing its use of wireless technologies would bring several challenges, from ensuring the district’s network could handle increased capacity to training teachers on best practices for using devices in the classroom. The school district recently shared its story, below, with...
Henriette Taylor has only been the community school coordinator at The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School (HSCT) in Baltimore for a little over a year, but she works hard to make sure the school’s “467 amazing little souls” understand the legacy behind the school they attend. She reminds them to...
When he was hired as the community school coordinator at Benjamin Franklin High School in Baltimore, Dante de Tablan was still learning what it meant to be a community school. But one thing he was certain about was that the front of the building—a former middle school—needed a facelift. The...
When Cole Young, former principal of Humboldt Elementary School, received an email from a nonprofit organization about how highly performing schools overcome challenges, he initially thought it was an ad asking his school to take part in a competitive application process. It wasn’t, and Humboldt Elementary is one of five...
Every morning, Daisy Dyer Duerr, the principal of tiny St. Paul High School in northwestern Arkansas, ends the morning announcements with a rallying cry: “No excuses. No limits.” In the isolated, rural town of St. Paul, on the edge of the Ozark Mountains, the streets are dirt and the poverty...
The Education Trust honored three outstanding public schools at their Dispelling the Myth Awards ceremony. These schools were chosen because, “[they] are doing the right thing for kids: providing a rich, coherent curriculum and making it interesting and engaging for their students. In the process, they are making themselves the...
It’s just a short but beautiful drive from the picturesque city harbor on the bay in Belfast, ME, to 60 spectacular acres dotted with greenhouses, cold frames, a community garden, and beautifully designed and maintained flower beds. This is the inviting home of Troy Howard Middle School, which houses 400...