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  • CA: Helping all students graduate
    Summary: In San Jose, California, all students pursue a college-preparatory curriculum to earn their diplomas. As a result, the district has raised its graduation rate, lowered its drop-out rate, and seen improved student achievement, especially among minority students. In 2001, only 23 percent of Hispanic twelfth graders in San Jose Unified School District graduated with the requirements they needed to enroll in one of California’s four-year public colleges. It was a sobering statistic for an urban district where half the students are Hispanic. But school officials weren’t the only ones concerned. Parents, community members, even the students themselves said the district needed higher expectations for its
  • CA: A culture of collaboration spurs academic growth in low-income school district
    Summary: Eighty-eight percent of this school district's students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch and seventy percent are classified as English language learners. Given this background staff and administrators thought they "weren't doing so badly," but test results showed something different. In 1999, the district had some of the lowest achieving scores in the county and the state. Changing the school culture to one of collaboration with an unwavering focus on excellence has helped the school grow from one with dismal performance to one with distinguished growth. By 2005, the district was recognized for its outstanding academic progress.

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