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New American Schools was established in 1991 to help schools transform themselves into high-performing organizations. This report is a formative assessment of the first two years (1995-1997) of the scale-up phase, during which NAS partnered with 10 jurisdictions to implement design-based programs for improving student performance. A series of lessons emerged from this analysis: (1) The effort at school reform is complex because of the multiple actors involved. (2) Design teams do not accomplish implementation by themselves but only with the cooperation of schools and districts. (3) Teachers found stable school and district leadership and clear signals about the effort's priority to be important. Perhaps the most important lesson is that there still are no silver bullets for ensuring the implementation of reforms, but several districts have made significant progress in the two-year period.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    History of NAS and the Scale-Up Strategy

  • Chapter Three

    Research Approach and Methods

  • Chapter Four

    Findings on Progress Toward Implementation

  • Chapter Five

    The Influence of the Selection Process and School Climate

  • Chapter Six

    Influence of Design and Team Factors

  • Chapter Seven

    Influence of School Structural and Site Factors

  • Chapter Eight

    Influence of Jurisdictional and Institutional Factors

  • Chapter Nine

    Caveats and Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Background History of New American Schools

  • Appendix B

    Descriptions and Designs

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was supported by New American Schools and conducted by RAND Education.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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