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Commonalities of Georgia's 85-10 High Schools

Abstract

This report examines common characteristics and conditions that enabled certain Georgia high schools to: (1) have a graduation rate of at least 85% in 2008; (2) increase the graduation rate by at least 10% between 2004 and 2008; and (3) sustain the 85% graduation rate and 10% improvement through 2009. The schools that met the criteria for this research are referred to as 85/10 schools.

The strategies used by the 85/10 schools varied, yet mutually dependent commonalities emerged. Each school had a culture of high expectations for all and support for students who were struggling academically, which is a requisite for students' academic success. The vocabulary of excellence including goal setting, data, growth and achievement was the same for the entire community - administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community leaders. The importance of an open, respectful, caring environment that nurtured personal relationships among educators, students, and families was stressed also.