XQ: The Super School Project

It’s time for America to go back to high school.

We'll use our creativity, scientific minds, and technology to reimagine high school. Today our idea of high school is doing the least it possibly can for kids—and it’s time we did the most.

America was first in the world to create universal high school education. For decades we had the best-educated workforce on the planet, and vastly broadened access to the middle class.

But now, our high school students rank 19th in the world in science, 20th in reading, and 31st in math. The education levels of our overall adult population have dropped from 1st to 5th in the world, and our young adults are only 15th— not exactly a recipe for success in the increasingly international “knowledge” economy.

How did this staggering reversal happen? American high schools have not changed significantly from the ones that achieved those results. But the world has.

Students are shepherded through boring, low-level courses that don’t prepare them for either college or work. Many—1 in 6, with higher numbers for students of color, low income students, and boys—end up dropping out. Others persevere to the end, but wind up with diplomas that mean nothing. Forty-seven percent of grads haven’t completed the coursework to prepare either for college or for work, and fewer than 1/3 perform at the college ready level on tests of college preparation.

This is not an unsolvable problem. We can return America’s high schools to greatness.

This optimism is what led to XQ: The Super School Project. It started with an open invitation to communities to reimagine their local high school. We had an overwhelming response – more than 1400 communities formed teams, surfacing thousands of ideas for new models of high school.

Ten new high schools were chosen to be redesigned or created from scratch, and soon thousands of students will be stepping into classrooms vastly transformed. We’re also supporting dozens of communities with additional project-based support to quickly accelerate promising ideas into practice.

XQ: The Super School Project is leading the movement by activating communities across the country to build the high schools of the future.

Our Perspective