What Makes a District Succeed?

A closer look at school districts that are preparing their underserved students for college and beyond

School boundaries and the neighborhoods they draw from explain much of the success of individual schools. We wanted to see how often entire public school districts with sizable numbers of students from low-income families manage to prepare students for college across the majority of the high schools within their larger geographic boundaries.

This paper identifies 16 socioeconomically diverse districts, in 8 states where we had enough data to track their students into college, where at least half of their high schools qualified for a 2019 College Success Award. It also offers insights on policies and models that states, districts, and schools across the country should consider to ensure that greater numbers of students from low-income households are prepared for success in college and life.
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This paper is part of a series of reports which identify promising practices among high schools and districts based on findings from GreatSchools’ 2019 College Success Awards.

Also in this series:

Success without Selection
Identifying district high schools that help underserved students enroll and persist in college.

Charter Network Success
An analysis of charter school types that successfully prepare students for college and beyond.

For more information about this report, contact pr@greatschools.org.