Reopening: Moving Toward More Equitable Schools
Header image

William Smith High School Recognized as a Gold 2016 School of Opportunity

  • Date

  • Author

    Amanda Neville

William Smith High School in Aurora, CO was one of eight schools recognized as a Gold 2016 School of Opportunity by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC).

NEPC’s goal is to provide high-quality research and information to impact education policy. One of the ways NEPC has done this is by creating the Schools of Opportunity project, which recognizes high schools that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to equity and excellence by giving all students the opportunity to succeed.

The principles are based on the book, “Closing the Opportunity Gap” by Prudence L. Carter, Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology at Stanford University, and Kevin G. Welner, Professor of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Applications for the 2016 “Schools of Opportunity Project” went through four levels of screening, including rubric-based ratings and in-person evaluator visits to the recognized “gold” schools.


Evaluators looked at school practices that fell into categories such as create and maintain healthy school culture; broaden and enrich school curriculum; use a variety of assessments designed to respond to student needs; and support teachers as professionals.

“The [Schools of Opportunity] project offers an alternative way of assessing school quality – one that rejects the idea that test scores identify the nation’s best schools,” said Carol Burris, co-director of the project. “Schools of Opportunity use research-based practices to support all students and their teachers, thereby creating engaged and successful learning environments.”

Read the full story on the National Education Policy Center’s website.