Press Release

Schools of Opportunity Recognition Program Application NOW OPEN: Public High Schools Encouraged to Apply

BOULDER, Colo. – The 2017 Schools of Opportunity application cycle recently launched at Building on the success of the past two years, the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder will again recognize public high schools that are creating remarkable opportunities to learn for all their students. The application deadline is May 1, 2017.

Schools that apply are asked to demonstrate how they work to close opportunity gaps across a range of key areas. The NEPC derived this set of opportunity measures from the expertise shared by top researchers in Closing the Opportunity Gap, the 2013 book published by Oxford University Press.

Two criteria are required of all applying schools: (1) broadening and enriching learning opportunities and (2) creating and maintaining a healthy school culture. Applicants also select, from a menu of eight additional criteria, four that best represent how their school is responding to its unique local needs. All ten criteria are described on the Schools of Opportunity website, along with the scoring rubric used by the evaluation teams.

NEPC designed the Schools of Opportunity project as a way to highlight the nation’s best schools and practices, shifting away from the nation’s imbalanced focus on standardized test scores.

“Even in the face of stark inequities across our social and economic systems, as well as our education system, every school can adopt research-based best practices,” says Project Co-Director Linda Molner Kelley. “The 37 Schools of Opportunity recognized over the first two years of the project illustrate how all schools can work to provide great opportunities for their students.”

Along with Kelley, who is the former Assistant Dean of Teacher Education and Partnerships at CU Boulder, the project is led by Adam York, NEPC Project Manager, and by NEPC Director and CU Boulder School of Education Professor Kevin Welner. The Ford Foundation and the NEA Foundation both provide funding to support the project.

Each school’s application will be reviewed by a team of evaluators from across the nation, including educational researchers and current and former school leaders. Finalists are selected based on narrative responses as well as data and other evidence submitted. Site visits to top schools are also a vital part of the project. Educators have found that the application process provides a rich opportunity for high school teams to work together to reflect on their strengths, assets and areas of potential improvement.

Recognized Gold and Silver schools will be announced later in 2017 in the Washington Post Answer Sheet blog and other media outlets. Applications are welcomed through May 1, 2017, with all nomination information and forms available online at:

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Learn more at:

Media Contacts

Kevin Welner: (303) 492-8370,

Adam York: (303) 735-5290,

This is a sponsored message and does not necessarily represent the views of the Education Writers Association, its board of directors, or its members. Want to see your release on the EWA site? Promote it with EWA.