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Schools of Opportunity

Please note: The project is on hiatus during the pandemic. 

The Schools of Opportunity Recognition Program recognizes public high schools around the nation that are creating remarkable opportunities to learn for all their students. 

The Schools of Opportunity project arises out of the reality that existing recognitions strongly favor schools that enroll students who, outside of school, have the richest opportunities. These recognitions favor high schools that are selective or serve students who are affluent. While many of those schools are indeed outstanding, we believe it important to recognize schools that are excellent because they engage in research-based practices that focus on closing gaps in opportunity, regardless of the students they serve.

Providing the highest-quality education means creating rich opportunities to learn by addressing the educational factors that are under the control of schools. Accordingly, this project recognizes high schools that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to equity and excellence by giving all students the opportunity to succeed. Based on the principles of the Closing the Opportunity Gap book, we recognized schools for engaging in proven practices that close opportunity gaps for student learning. In doing so, we encourage such practices by bringing attention to what good schooling looks like, by showing policymakers alternative ways to ascertain school performance, and by inspiring schools to build capacity and thus improve learning outcomes for all students.

Schools of Opportunity is a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). The mission of the NEPC is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions.

Special note related to COVID-19

Here at NEPC, we are holding close our small community and the larger communities to which we belong. This crisis will have impacts, large and small. The hardships it’s creating are universally felt, yet they fall hardest on our society’s most vulnerable. The crisis is also highlighting the multiplicity of demands we’ve put on our public schools and the people working in them, providing a powerful reminder that we’ve entrusted our schools to meet the needs of our children in wide-ranging ways. Schools of Opportunity are demonstrating through their work how they are critical structures of support and care for students through these most recent challenges. 

NEPC Resources on Schools of Opportunity