Early Insights on Designing Innovative High Schools: Interim Findings from an Evaluation of the Opportunity by Design Initiative
Oct 19, 2017
The Carnegie Corporation of New York's (CCNY) Opportunity by Design (ObD) initiative is intended to address the ambitious goal of preparing students for postsecondary success, based on the premise that promising high school reforms need to be integrated into a comprehensive school design and accompanied by appropriate, sustained levels of financial, policy, and implementation supports. The ObD initiative was founded in 2013 to support the design and launch of a network of small high schools of choice that focus on ten design principles, which, if fully implemented, should result in a school that functions differently from a traditional high school. Springpoint: Partners in School Design supports the ObD districts in using innovative school design to enable broader district reforms.
RAND began conducting a five-year formative and summative evaluation of the ObD initiative in June 2014 when the first schools opened. This interim report describes findings from the first two years of implementation across two cohorts of schools. The findings from this report are based on principal, teacher, and student surveys; interviews with teachers, principals, and district staff and with leaders at CCNY and Springpoint; student focus groups; parent focus groups in four schools; classroom observations; and a sample of artifacts from each school. This report provides detailed examples of how the design principles are implemented in the ObD schools along with rich descriptions of facilitators and challenges. The report examines areas of similarities and differences across schools and districts, as well as comparisons across cohorts and over time.
Culture and Instruction
School Management and Operations
Early Lessons for the Field