WestEd Book: How California’s Most Challenged High Schools are Sending More Kids to College

Jordan Horowitz’s Inside High School Reform, Making the Changes that Matter details the turnaround approaches that are preparing more students for college – disadvantaged students who wouldn’t get there otherwise.


  1. Treat teachers as the trained education professionals they are.
  2. Hold students to high expectations.
  3. Continually use school, teacher, and student data to decide what changes to make next.
  4. Start with what you want students to know and achieve, then work backwards to create tests and lesson plans.
  5. Coordinate lesson plans and tests within departments and across grades and schools.
  6. Don’t take the “easy way out” when deciding how to help underachieving kids.
  7. Create an optimistic, college-going culture and help students understand how high school work affects their future college and career choices.
  8. Develop flexible school systems to maintain reforms that work.
  9. Find partners such as local colleges, businesses, other schools, and parent groups to provide help.
  10. Stay alert for new partners, activities, and funding streams while maintaining a focus on reform.