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The Accelerated Schools Project originated at Stanford University in 1986 when Dr. Henry Levin and Associates developed a comprehensive approach to school change, designed to improve schooling for children in at-risk situations. Instead of placing students into remedial classes, accelerated school communities -- staff, parents, administrators, students, district office representatives, and local community members -- accelerate learning by providing all students with challenging activities that traditionally have been reserved only for students identified as gifted and talented.

Traditionally, students in at-risk situations have been tracked into remedial classes that slow down the pace of learning and simplify the content of curriculum. Though this practice of remediation is intended to allow students to catch up to their peers, research finds that remediation actually causes students to fall farther and farther behind the mainstream. So instead of remediating, accelerated schools hold high expectations for every student, and provide each student with powerful learning experiences that stress complex and engaging activities, relevant content and active discovery of curriculum objectives.

By assessing and reflecting on the school's present status, uniting the school community around its own vision of an ideal school, and empowering every member of the community to participate in creating that school, accelerated schools transform themselves into the "dream schools" everyone would want for their own child.

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