Stability in Student and Teacher Characteristics in the First Ten Years: A Study of Small High Schools in New York City

Institute for Education and Social Policy

36 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2009

See all articles by Norm Fruchter

Norm Fruchter

Annenberg Institute for School Reform

Meryle Weinstein

Independent

Robin Jacobowitz

New York University (NYU)

Date Written: April 2007

Abstract

Growing concern about the quality of public education in the United States has driven numerous educational reform efforts across the last three decades. These reforms include increased accountability as exemplified by No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the introduction of new curriculum and instructional methods in response to the standards movement, and the redesign of American public high schools, including an increased focus on small learning communities. Several national foundations and city school systems have invested considerable resources in reducing school size as a way to improve poorly performing schools and revitalize urban high school systems. But while research has shown that small high schools may facilitate the creation of positive learning environments, urban school systems face a host of challenges — such as the transience of teacher and student populations — that may influence the implementation of this reform. Indeed, changes in student or teacher populations may affect small high school environments more intensely than larger schools, because of the interpersonal and interdependent nature of small schools (Wasley et al, 2000). Because most studies of small high schools are conducted with data from only a few school years, little is known about whether transience is an issue for small high schools, and how changes in student and teacher demographics may impact small high school operations or school development over time.

The New York University Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) conducted a two-year mixed methods study to explore the process and outcomes of small high school development in New York City over the past decade. We examine how school-level student and teacher populations change over time in small New York City public high schools, the organizational and instructional practices that contribute to positive small school learning environments, and how changes in these populations over time may influence school practices. The results from these analyses are available in the companion publication, The Effectiveness of Small High Schools, 1994-95 to 2003-04.

The current report focuses specifically on how student and teacher populations at these new high schools change from year to year as they develop during their first ten years. We anticipate that our findings will have important implications for how new small urban high schools are established and supported, as well as for the development of mechanisms to help new small high schools achieve the necessary stability.

Suggested Citation

Fruchter, Norm and Weinstein, Meryle and Jacobowitz, Robin, Stability in Student and Teacher Characteristics in the First Ten Years: A Study of Small High Schools in New York City (April 2007). Institute for Education and Social Policy , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1508455

Norm Fruchter

Annenberg Institute for School Reform ( email )

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Robin Jacobowitz

New York University (NYU) ( email )

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