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A Research-based Reform Model 

High Schools That Work

High Schools That Work is the largest and oldest of the Southern Regional Education Board’s school-improvement initiatives for high school and middle grades leaders and teachers. More than 1,000 HSTW sites in 31 states are using the HSTW framework of goals and key practices to raise student achievement.
The other SREB school-improvement initiatives are:

All of these initiatives are joined in their goal to prepare students for careers and further education by improving curriculum and instruction in high schools and middle grades. SREB and an initial group of state partners launched High Schools That Work in 1987. Through the years, the work has taken on new dimensions as needs have arisen in the areas of middle grades education, transition from middle grades to high school, raising performance in low-performing and urban high schools, and raising standards in career/technical education. Recently, SREB received funding to work with states and institutions of higher education to improve the preparation of new and emerging school leaders.

The National Perspective

Focusing Education on the FutureUSDOE Career Clusters

Career Clusters: Prepare, Connect, and Deliver

Career Clusters link what students learn in school with the knowledge and skills they need for success in college and careers.

The State Perspective

In Focus 


Maryland Career Clusters 

Maryland Career Clusters promote student success by relating high school to their future goals and aspirations. In turn, more students can reach high levels of performance, thus closing the achievement gaps.

Smaller Learning Communities

Key elements of well-run smaller learning communities:

Research shows that students in smaller settings have better attendance, are less likely to drop out, have fewer discipline problems, and that many perform better academically.  


Human Services
Health/Life Sciences
Business, Management, Finance
Art, Communications


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