In 1993, Washington State committed to a new strategy in education reform. The state's Commission on Student Learning set out to identify student learning standards, which clarify what students must know and be able to do if they are to succeed as adults in the 21st Century. Based on these standards, the state designed tests that will tell whether individual students, schools, school districts, and the state as a whole, are meeting the standards. The state also committed to a set of actions to help struggling schools, eliminate regulations that reduce school effectiveness, and help teachers do their jobs better.
This report marks the third year of our exploration into the way fast-improving schools in Washington State work. This year, we turned our attention to high schools. Using data from the tenth grade WASL, we selected and interviewed principals from 26 high schools across the state that made greater gains than other schools serving similar populations.