The Schools of Opportunity project arises out of the reality that existing recognitions strongly favor schools that enroll students who, outside of school, have the richest opportunities. These recognitions favor high schools that are selective or serve students who are affluent. While many of those schools are indeed outstanding, we believe it important to recognize schools that are excellent because they engage in research-based practices that focus on closing gaps in opportunity, regardless of the students they serve.
Providing the highest-quality education means creating rich opportunities to learn by addressing the educational factors that are under the control of schools. Accordingly, this project recognizes high schools that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to equity and excellence by giving all students the opportunity to succeed. Based on the principles of the Closing the Opportunity Gap book, we recognized schools for engaging in proven practices that close opportunity gaps for student learning. In doing so, we encourage such practices by bringing attention to what good schooling looks like, by showing policymakers alternative ways to ascertain school performance, and by inspiring schools to build capacity and thus improve learning outcomes for all students.