Thursday, November 1, 2012

Small "Houses" Make a Difference for Students

I've always been fascinated by the way schools are organized. That's because the structure of schools can create enormous possibilities for positive relationships between students and between students and teachers, can open up opportunities for powerful learning and can take large schools and create a more personalized environment. Recently I read a story about the "small house" system at Danville (IL) High School. Danville High is a school with many students from low-income families. Mobility is high. They also failed to make adequate yearly progress. So, Danville High School needed to rethink how they served students.

This story from The News-Gazette, a local newspaper serving Danville, describes the four small houses including the Freshman House designed to help 9th graders make a smooth transition from middle school. It's an interesting approach and one that has already had a positive impact on students and their experience in high school. Achievement is up. Attendance has improved. The graduation rate is the highest ever and both dropouts and suspensions have declined.

I'd enjoy hearing from you about your experience with small houses or other structures that positively impact student learning. 

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