Teachers College Press









Schools Within Schools:
Possibilities and Pitfalls of High School Reform

Valerie E. Lee and Douglas D. Ready
Series on School Reform
Pub Date: January 2007, 224 pages

Paperback: $36.95, ISBN: 0807747521
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“An insightful and trenchant critique. . . . The stories Lee and Ready tell about these schools and the recommendations they make based on their research should be required reading for anyone concerned about improving secondary education in this country.”
Jeffrey Mirel, University of Michigan

“Lee and Ready's nuanced analysis of small school conversions offers sobering lessons for educators, reformers, and policymakers.”
David Ferrero, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

How effective is whole-school high school reform, such as the Schools-Within-Schools (SWS) model? What benefits does it have for students and in which areas does it fall short? This book seeks to answer these questions through the compelling stories of five public high schools that have embraced the SWS method. In order to fully understand the effectiveness of such a system, Valerie Lee and Douglas Ready have delved into every aspect of the reform in these settings, including participants’ reactions, curriculum structures, governance and leadership, and the allocation of students to the schools. The result is a thoughtful look at the SWS model that considers the benefits and problems of implementation, along with issues of equity and access.

  • Provides the first comprehensive, systematic report on the Schools-Within-Schools reform.
  • Offers suggestions for how this popular high school reform can be implemented to work for all students, not just the most academically able or socially advantaged.
  • Follows five schools for several years to determine the long-term results of the reform.

Valerie E. Lee is a professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. She also serves as a Faculty Associate at the University’s Institute for Social Research. Douglas D. Ready is an assistant professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.


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