Dear Fellow Bloggers:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to “Breaking Ranks: The Blog.” For those of you who are unaware of what Breaking Ranks is all about, let me tell you about it.

I should first introduce myself to you. My name is Casey Handfield and I am proud to say that I am the principal of Auburn High School. Last fall, Dr. William Allen and I started having discussions about a mutual point of interest: the structure of the American High School. The main point of our discussions focused on what is best for kids, and more specifically asking this in question form (i.e. – Is the current Auburn High School operating in a fashion that is best for KIDS?) As I started talking to my faculty about this, they all got very excited about EXPLORING the possibilities of changing Auburn High School into a very different educational institution than the one we currently know.

First published in 1996, the first iteration of Breaking Ranks II: Strategies for Leading High School Reform, titled Breaking Ranks: Changing an American Institution, presented a vision of a dramatically different high school of the 21st century. Its more than 80 recommendations provided direction for high school principals across the country in making schools more student-centered by personalized programs, support services, and intellectual rigor for all students.

Breaking Ranks II: Strategies for Leading High School Reform outlines the need for current high schools to engage in the process of change that will ensure success for every high school student. Its first set of recommendations and tools focuses on the development of a professional learning community, wherein leadership throughout the institution refocuses its work on what will successfully support every student in their high school experience. The second set of recommendations and tools focuses on the need to provide every student with meaningful adult relationships that can best support every student. And the third set of recommendations and tools focuses on the development of personalized learning, where students see their learning as meaningful and relevant, as well as rigorous and challenging, ensuring their success both within and beyond high school.

Together, these recommendations and activities ultimately lead to the success of every student, not only those typically served well by the traditional comprehensive high school.

Plato once said: “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” With Plato’s thought in mind, 25 teachers and administrators have already met twice to discuss the importance of the beginning part of the work.

We will begin to explore the different facets of Breaking Ranks in the coming months and discuss it here. Please feel free to read the blog as often as you like, and don’t be afraid to add your thoughts.

2008 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years Auburn High School has seen in a long time. Come be a part of it!



~ by breakingranks on January 23, 2008.

2 Responses to “Welcome!”

  1. As a parent it opened my eyes a little to how kids look at the internet world, how they apply common sense that they have been taught, how they perhaps keep it-relationships on line, photos on line and comments- in place that we had no such place to put anything-almost like a public form of a diary-just out there. I have a hard time with doing anything like that myself but felt this show gave some info on what the positives can be and how kids do many times use it more wisely than I had thought

  2. Hello, I hope that you don’t mind me contacting you like this.

    I was hoping to register a WordPress account with this name (BreakingRanks) and I notice that your blog has not been used for a few years. This is possibly a cheeky question but is there any chance you do not need the blog any more and will be closing the account?

    I have been producing art under the name Breaking Ranks for the last couple of years and would love to use this address to show my work. Of course if you plan to use the blog in future or want to keep the content online I totally understand and apologies for the request. Thought it was worth a go anyway!

    I’ve ticked the “Notify me of follow-up comments” button below so will get an e-mail if you reply.

    Many thanks for reading this slightly wishful request!

    Ceri Williams

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