Transforming High School Classrooms into Smaller Learning Communities and Improving Student Achievement

As educators explore strategies for improving student achievement, it is clear that our greatest challenge today is high school reform. Steeped in tradition for too long, high schools have become outdated, and ineffective. Problems such as poor attendance, discipline problems, dropout rate, failure rate, vandalism, classroom disruption, violence, drug/alcohol abuse, teacher burnout, and low teacher morale, which confront high schools today, are much more prevalent in high-poverty, urban neighbourhoods than in more affluent ones.

In response to the evidence of academic and social benefits of small schools, government and private foundations are providing millions of dollars for large high schools to create “small learning communities” within the existing school buildings or campuses. Smallness, however, is not enough to improve student achievement.

It is critical that each classroom also be transformed into a “smaller learning community” which personalizes learning, is student-centered, success-oriented, and utilizes differentiated teaching and best practices for improving student achievement.

This workshop will show educators, step by step, how to transform their traditional high school classroom into smaller learning communities which are organized as professional workplace learning environments.

Presenters will include:

  • Educators who have transformed their classrooms into smaller learning communities (SLC’s).
  • Business executives involved in partnerships with similar programs.
  • Adult professionals who mentor at-risk students from SLC classrooms.
  • Graduates of programs which are SLC’s.
  • A featured speaker will donate wall to wall carpeting to help create a professional workplace learning environment for any educator who attends this training, and then transforms his/her classroom based on the model from this training

At the Workshop, you will Learn to:

  • Create a student-centered, success-oriented learning environment.
  • Differentiate teaching and learning to reach our very diverse student population.
  • Motivate and meet the needs of low achieving students.
  • Apply best practices for improving student achievement.
  • Employ motivational strategies for at-risk students.
  • Utilize methods and strategies for reaching English language learners (ELL’s).
  • Incorporate performance-based assessment.
  • Bridge the gap for minorities and non-minorities.
  • Remove roadblocks to learning for students in poverty.
  • Build amazing school, business, community partnerships to maximize your resources


  1. Improved student achievement

2. Increased number of students going to college after graduation

3. Elimination of almost all discipline problems

4. Reduced negative effects of poverty on achievement

5. Increased student buy-in and ownership of their own progress

6. Increased student connectivity and sense of belonging in the class

7. Greater levels of parent and community involvement in the class

8. More positive teacher attitudes and satisfaction

9. Greater safety and order

10. Fewer dropouts and unexcused absences

For Registration fee of $800, Participants will Receive:

A copy of the book, Developing Literacy and Workplace Skills; Teaching for 21st Century Employment – Second Edition – (National Educational Service, 2002) (includes 6-semester curriculum outline)

A organizer/planner specially designed for the Teacher of the 21st Century Professional Workplace Classroom (a SLC)

A copy of Reclaiming At-Risk Youth for the 21st Century Workplace – Case Study for ASCD

Training Manual

Various Handouts

Lunch each of the 3 days of the training

Coffee, tea and pastries during morning sessions

Refreshments during afternoon sessions

One year’s subscription to the Educational ReadSources Newsletter

One semester of free teacher support online and on telephone from the date of implementation

Wall to wall carpeting (color of your choice) for your workplace classroom if you implement this program and meet the requirements for this offer