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EDUCATION / Reading and the classroom: Issues, people
and trends | IN BRIEF

High Schools Move Toward Smaller Learning Centers

April 04, 2001

Backed by a growing body of research and a sense of desperation, large high schools are breaking themselves down into smaller, more personal communities.

They've won the financial support of the federal government and several major foundations, which, in the wake of the Columbine school shooting, believe smaller could mean better and safer.

"It's nearly impossible to be an outsider in a community like this," said Jesse Gross, who attends Academy X with 80 other students within 1,000-student Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, Calif.

Cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia are now knee-deep in the small-school movement. Oakland has made small schools a priority. San Francisco's new superintendent is proposing breaking schools into smaller learning communities, as are high school leaders across the Bay Area.

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