Education Secretary Highlights PA’s Leadership in High School Reform

STATE COLLEGE – On Wednesday Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak highlighted Pennsylvania’s success in reforming high schools while opening a national, three-day summit that’s focused on helping America’s high schools better prepare students for success in the workforce.

“In Pennsylvania, we are adapting our educational system to reflect the changing needs of the global economy in order to help our students compete and succeed,” Zahorchak said as he addressed the Penn State University College of Education’s Waterbury Summit on Secondary Education. “The progressive-minded education experts assembled here also understand why this issue is so important to our nation’s future.”

Secretary Zahorchak outlined Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s ongoing commitment to raising student achievement by implementing a comprehensive and strategic high school reform agenda, including:

• Classrooms for the Future – An innovative way to transform teaching and learning that puts a laptop on the desk of every high school student and provides the training and support to teachers to ensure that classrooms operate as high-tech centers of learning.
• Project 720 – Named for the number of days a student spends in school from 9th through 12th grades, Project 720 ensures students have access to college preparatory courses in core subjects, additional Advanced Placement courses and smaller learning environments to foster one-on-one teaching.
• Dual Enrollment – A program that allows students to take college courses and earn postsecondary credit while completing high school graduation requirements, dual enrollment helped nearly 6,800 Pennsylvania high schools students enroll in 9,000 college courses during 2005-06, the program’s first year.
• College and Career Counseling – Pennsylvania is transforming the role of the high school guidance counselor through a grant program that enables school districts to enhance their middle and high school career counseling programs.

“These and other initiatives have put Pennsylvania at the forefront of high school reform,” Zahorchak said. “Governor Rendell and I are committed to continuing to push for progressive programs that will help our young people not only compete, but excel.”

The summit brings together the nation’s eminent scholars and education policy experts to discuss and examine how America’s educational system should adapt to meet a changing world. Findings from the conference will be published as a book and special report on solutions for improving the nation’s high schools.

The conference runs through Friday at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s education initiatives, please visit here.

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