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Autonomy, Accountability, and

Continuous Improvement

Across the nation school districts are beginning to transform the high school experience by starting new small high schools or by breaking down their large high schools into Smaller Learning Communities (SLCs).

Critical to the success of this high school transformation will be:

While the high schools are the impetus for designing and implementing a new system of autonomy, accountability, and continuous improvement, careful attention must be paid by school districts to build the culture of accountability systemwide. This can best be accomplished by implementing an accountability system from pre-K through Grade 12 and by involving key stakeholders—teachers, principals, central administrators, community representatives, parents, and students, in the design and development of the new system.

Below are resources that capture the best practices nationwide by school districts in designing and implementing autonomy, accountability, and continuous improvement systems.

1. Readings on Autonomy and Accountability

2. Key Components of Large Urban District Accountability Systems

3. Continuous Improvement

4. Comparison of Large Urban District Accountability Systems

5. Cincinnati Accountability System

6. Accountability System for the Boston Public Schools

7. Review of Large Urban District Accountability Systems

8. Autonomies Checklist for New Small Schools and Small Learning Communities

9. New National Assessments for Higher Education and for High Schools (CWRA)


Useful Articles by Bob Pearlman:

"Reinventing the High School Experience", Educational Leadership, April 2002

"Smarter Charters? Creating Boston's Pilot Schools", chapter in the book "Creating New Schools: How Small Schools Are Changing American Education", Teachers College Press, Fall 1999