Home | Initiatives | HSTW Initiative
PDF Print
HSTW Initiative

High Schools That Work Initiative (HSTW)

High Schools That Work (HSTW) was originally created in 1987 by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) in partnership with a consortium of eleven states. High Schools That Work has been nationally recognized as the nation's fastest growing, whole school reform initiative with data to show it works. HSTW sites provide a program of study that includes both academic courses and modern career and technical studies to prepare all students for both broad career fields and further education.

HSTW came to SW Ohio in 1998, through the work of William E. Lambert. He utilized School-to-Work funding to support six high school sites in investigating the model. A team from each of these sites wrote a unique HSTW model blueprint that would enable them to implement the model in their high school or career-technical center.

The HSTW initiative is a comprehensive approach to high performance schools that complements and supports the educational goals of Ohio. As a research and assessment-based reform initiative, HSTW sites are guided by a framework of goals, key practices, and key conditions to improve school instruction and student achievement. The HSTW vision requires its schools to rethink the way they deliver learning, so that all children are successful. The initiative provides targeted professional development, networking with high performing sites, and regular feedback from expert professionals. A comprehensive assessment allows staffs to track their progress.


High Schools That Work Key Practices

High Schools That Work Key Practices

Students actively engaged - Engage students in academic and career-technical education classrooms in rigorous and challenging proficient-level assignments using research-based instructional strategies and technology

Guidance - Involve students and their parents in a guidance and advisement system that develops positive relationships and ensures completion of an accelerated program of study with an academic or career-technical concentration. Provide each student with the one mentor throughout his or her high school experience to assist with setting goals, selecting courses, reviewing the student’s progress and suggesting appropriate interventions as necessary.

Extra help - Provide a structured system of extra help to assist students in completing accelerated programs of study with high-level academic and technical content.

Culture of continuous improvement - Use student assessment and program evaluation data to continually improve school culture, organization, management, curriculum and instruction to advance student learning.

High expectations - Motivate more students to meet high expectations by integrating high expectations into classroom practices and providing frequent feedback.


Program of study - Require each student to complete an upgraded academic core and a concentration.

Academic studies - Teach more students the essential concepts of the college preparatory curriculum by encouraging them to apply academic content and skills to real-world problems and projects.

Career-technical studies - Provide more students access to intellectually challenging career-technical studies in high-demand fields that emphasize the higher-level academic and problem-solving skills needed in the workplace and in further education.

Work-based learning - Enable students and their parents to choose from programs that integrate challenging high school studies and work-based learning and are planned by educators, employers and students.

Teachers working together - Provide time and support to cross-disciplinary teams of teachers to work together to help students succeed in challenging academic and career-technical studies. Integrate reading, writing and speaking as strategies for learning into all parts of the curriculum and integrate mathematics into science and career-technical education classrooms.