Great Schools

What is a great school?

EEvery student is capable of greatness and deserves the opportunity to reach their highest level of potential.  In fact, everything we do is focused on helping more children experience the power of a high-quality education – today.   

When we launched Accelerate Great Schools we discovered there is no single definition of a “great school.” Each state, every community, thousands of organizations – and even each individual – has a unique vision of a great school.

But we were able to identify trends across schools that helped us create our own “great school” definition. Schools identified as “great” make it clear they don’t strive to reach minimum standards; they set out to be the best – whatever it takes. They make no apologies for high standards because they expect their students to be leaders in their schools, communities, business and government. 

Great schools aspire to greatness

Students in schools identified as high-quality:

  • Achieve at high levels, regardless of their zip code, income, race or ethnicity.
  • Experience at least one full year of academic growth every year they’re in that school.
  • Consistently meet or exceed performance expectations for English language arts and mathematics.
  • Graduate from high school on time and demonstrate they are ready for the next step, whether college or career.

Great schools are more than numbers

But our research also revealed that great schools are more than numbers and test scores. Every day, in every way, great schools demonstrate:

  • High expectations for every student and every adult associated with the school. 
  • Innovative, effective committed to making the best decisions for students.
  • Teachers who “know their stuff” and inspire students to learn.
  • A top-notch support team, that takes pride in keeping the school running like clockwork and finding the resources students need to be successful.
  • A safe, well-organized environment that gets to know and understand each student, meet each student where he or she is and supports their growth.
  • A commitment to achieving, not just setting, ambitious goals.  This requires a system that quickly identifies and responds to challenges to get the school back on track when it struggles.
  • A genuine respect for and connection with parents and community that emerges from ongoing dialogue and continuous engagement.
  • Financial sustainability – sufficient resources to keep delivering on their promises year after year.

High expectations

We know our expectations are high.  Accelerate Great Schools makes no apology for its standards.  Cincinnati’s young people and neighborhoods deserve no less.