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College Acceleration  

Innovating Through the New American Research High School  

by by Eric J. Ban, Elephant Rock Books, Ashford, Conn., 2012, 144 pp., $19.95 softcover


In College Acceleration: Innovating Through the New American Research High School, Eric J. Ban approaches leadership from a distinct perspective. After serving as a teacher, assistant principal, assistant coach and assistant professor, the author entered the corporate world in an educational startup company. There he spent several years helping invent ways to wholesale college inside of high schools using innovative learning theories and technology before returning full time as principal of Crown Point High School in Indiana.

Ban’s book asks how do we make high schools a successful experience for each student who passes through the doors? He points out major shifts in the work of the 21stcentury American public high schools including:

  • From expectations for some to expectations for all;
  • From technology as optional to technology as central;
  • From teacher as worker to student as worker; and
  • From parents as observers to parents as participants.

In addition, the author, who is principal of Crown Point, Ind., High School, advocates that the New American Research High School demonstrates a leadership role in the advancement of “partnership models.” This network of regional high schools would benefit from developing partnerships with social service agencies, trade schools, colleges and local business to provide work and learning environments for students.

By including examples of resolving the issues that arise in one high school’s creative journey, College Acceleration demonstrates a prototype for high school improvement that others can emulate. 

Reviewed by William J. Leary, professor, Ross College of Education, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Fla.


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