2005 - 2006

Soul Element: Breaking the Stereotypes
Boston Arts Academy, Boston, MA
Prejudice, apathy, and violence trap many minority teens, especially males, in a downward spiral. Male students at the Boston Arts Academy believe they can combat this spiral by using theater to challenge and inspire their peers.

Teen Pregnancy Within An Immigrant Community
Bronx International High School, Bronx, NY
Cultural norms surrounding teenage pregnancy vary widely. Educating teens and families about pregnancy in a diverse immigrant community requires a nuanced approach.

Pier 14 Tiles Project
Build San Francisco Institute, San Francisco, CA T
his past fall, city leaders in San Francisco asked students at Build San Francisco Institute to design and create a set of sixteen ceramic tile installations for a new public pier on the city's waterfront. After much research, the students decided to create a visual timeline of water transportation in San Francisco Bay.

How A School Turns Itself Around
Central High School, Providence, RI
Schools with bad reputations have a hard time turning them around. But a group of students in Providence have an online journal and a set of short videos in the works to showcase how their school is changing on the inside.

Searching For The Net: Stop Drop Outs
Excel Academy, Chicago, IL
When graduation rates that rarely cross the 50 percent-mark, some urban students wonder exactly how the realities they face everyday-gangs, violence, drugs, foster care-impact the rate at which their peers dropout.

An Investigation Of The Impact Of The Loss Of Climax Vegetation On The Biological Communities That Exist In A Hemlock Forest
Glen Este High School, Cincinnati, OH
Though a tree may seem unchanged year-to-year, invasive plant species threaten forest vegetation and wildlife on a daily basis. In Smoky Mountains National Park, endangered hemlock trees-and the wildlife they house-are in need of a scientific conservation plan.

Youth Action For Educational Change
Gonzalo Garza High School, Austin, TX
Although the Austin School District's redesign initiative involves ³youth mobilizers² and ³youth consultants² in the planning process, are youth voices given the weight they deserve?

Comfortable Learning Is The Key
Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy, Wilmington, CA
At Harbor Teacher Prep, classroom space is scarce: two or three teachers are crowded into each bungalow-style room. Students argue that greater classroom space would create a more productive learning environment.

Garden For Life
Johnson Senior High School, St. Paul, MN
One dilemma in the debate over child obesity is the wide availability of unhealthy foods. A group of St. Paul students propose a solution, investigating whether students who toil and grow their own healthy food will make changes in their diets.

Violent Misconceptions: Physical Altercations In Schools
Lima Senior High School Of Multiple Intelligences, Lima, OH
Incidents of violence often dominate the media's coverage of schools, though their accounts are sometimes exaggerated or untrue. A team of Ohio students is setting the record straight about their school.

National Animal Identification System
Newell High School, Newell, SD
Most people who don't live on a farm are ignorant of the benefits and challenges of the National Animal Identification System. But in communities where cattle outnumber people, the complex program impacts life on every level.

Park Redesign
Pablo Neruda Academy, Bronx, NY
As a Bronx high school redesigns a park near its campus for use by both the school and the community, complicated factors come into play. How are resources best allocated? How should the needs of the school balance with those of the community?

Biological Restoration in a Maine Lake
Poland Regional High School, Poland, ME
Situated in commuting distance of several Maine cities, Tripp Lake is bursting with new development that threatens its once pristine water and shoreline. Terrestial Biology students at nearby Poland Regional High School are making the lake's restoration their passion.

Education Reform
School For Democracy And Leadership, Brooklyn, NY
When a school receives a grant, it's not always clear how that money can best be spent. As one student says, ³we can't succeed with old text books and new metal detectors; although we're
protected physically, it doesn't protect our education.²

Public Restroom Study
South Granville School Of Health And Life Sciences, Creedmoor, NC
Public restrooms are dirty places; they harbor bacteria, fungi, and viruses. If restaurants are held accountable for restroom cleanliness by posting letter grades after health inspections, why shouldn't schools do the same thing?

Listen To The Young People
Students At The Center, Clemson, SC
Though New Orleans students are scattered in communities around the country, they remain connected through a shared sense of home and a commitment to rebuilding the communities they lost. Dispersed students from Frederick Douglass High School are working to create an anthology of their writings as they cope with the destruction.

Responding To Katrina
Urban Academy, New York, NY
Out of the waterlogged ruins of New Orleans schools, a team of students from New York's Urban Academy has joined the rebuilding process to understand more deeply how the cultural, political, and racial landscape will shape the rebirth of New Orleans schools.


2004 – 2005

The Problem We All Live With: Educational Inequalities between Boston's Urban and Suburban Schools
Brighton High School, Brighton, MA
From funding and curriculum to discipline and extra curricular offerings, the differences between urban and suburban can be large, spelling vastly different outcomes for students.

Obstacles Immigrant Students Face in Attaining Higher Education and the Solutions Small Schools Provide
Bronx International High School, Bronx, NY
For many immigrant students, gaining access to the resources and skills needed to succeed in college can be overwhelming; small schools may give them a leg up.

A Study of San Francisco Housing Development South of Market Street
The Build San Francisco Institute, San Francisco, CA
In upscale cities like San Francisco, when a neighborhood becomes “hot,” what affordable housing remains can vanish almost entirely.

Will Power: Tackling Obesity in Adolescents
Carrabec High School, North Anson, ME
Obesity among American youth has become a national epidemic. In rural Maine, a group of students hits the weights at dawn and then tracks the results.

Big to Small: What's Gained and Lost As a Comprehensive High School Converts to Small Schools?
Enumclaw Adventure School, Enumclaw, WA
When a thriving comprehensive high school breaks down successfully into small schools, it may still leave some members of the community questioning the change.

New Immigrants in a New School: Documenting Our First Year
Flushing International High School, Flushing, NY
Special schools for new immigrants have been part of the high school reform movement for a decade, and nowhere has this been more true than in New York City, where the number of small international high schools keeps growing.

Creating a Level Playing Field: Fixing the System of Funding Education in Ohio
Glen Este High School, Cincinnati, OH
The formula by which Ohio funds local schools has been declared unconstitutional four times within the last ten years. Students at one Cincinnati high school want to raise awareness around what a more equitable system would involve.

Digging Deep: How Do Neighborhoods Benefit from Community Gardens?
Grant Union High School, Sacramento, CA
Community gardens in urban centers provide not only a green oasis, but also a chance for neighbors of all ages and backgrounds to join in growing fresh produce together.

Forestry Management in Community Open Space
Greely High School, Cumberland, ME
Responsibly cleaning up a forest requires more than a good power saw. It demands a scientific understanding of each tree's lifespan, when it should be cut, and the surrounding ecology; it also calls for an ongoing management plan.

The Two Sides of San Diego Bay: A Field Guide
High Tech High, San Diego, CA
Though the San Diego Boat Channel has historically been one of the city's most beautiful spots, recent pollution and insufficient upkeep are killing the plant and marine life for which the Channel is home—along with the beauty.

Let Your Voice Be Heard: Students As Partners in Urban School Reform
Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis, IN
As school districts rush to redesign their high schools, they would do well to invite and include the voices of students as integral players. When planners make space for student ideas, experience shows that everyone benefits.

A Photo Essay of New York City Immigrant Workers
International High School at LaGuardia Community College, Manhattan International High School, Brooklyn International High School, New York, NY
Sometimes invisible, working in back kitchens and factory lofts, New York City's immigrant workers have stories to tell, of heartbreak and accomplishment.

Keep Kids Out of Jail!
Los Angeles Leadership Academy, Los Angeles, CA
In California, children under 18 can now be charged as adults if they commit serious felonies, and the state's teenagers are going to jail in record numbers. Keeping teens on track, especially in the poorest neighborhoods, has never been more important.

How to Make a Restaurant More Deaf-Friendly
Minnesota North Star Academy, St. Paul, MN
When we eat out, few of us ever think what it would be like to be deaf and have to order food and negotiate service in a hearing world. There's much to learn about how to make a restaurant more welcoming to deaf customers.

Educating Peers about Healthy Teen Relationships
Mission High School, San Francisco, CA
With almost 900 students, it's nearly impossible for teenagers at Mission High School in San Francisco to steer clear of each other, and many say they do not know how to build healthy relationships.

When Asthma Hits Home: Tracking Asthma in Our School and Neighborhoods
New Orleans New Technology High School, New Orleans, LAW
hen a student and teacher at New Orleans high school collapsed within minutes of each other from severe asthma attacks, a group of students decided to educate themselves and others about asthma prevention and treatment.

Get the Lead Out
The Met Sacramento, Sacramento, CA
Even though over 13,000 children in Sacramento County are thought to live in areas that are at high risk for lead poisoning, the community is scarcely aware of the problem and little is being done.

College in the 'Hood?
Withrow High School, Cincinnati, OH
For all too many African American high school students, college seems tragically out of reach. Hearing from African American undergraduates who've successfully made the leap can be both helpful and inspiring.


2003 – 2004

Equal Educational Opportunity?
Brighton High School, Brighton, MA
Students at inner-city and suburban high schools want equally to go to college, but do they get the same preparation and academic opportunities?

Creating Understanding between a Small and Large High School
Bronx Aerospace Academy High School, Bronx, NY
When a small school sets up quarters within a large high school, friction can develop, especially when the small school marches to a very different drummer.

Salmon Recovery in a Maine River
Central High School, Corinth, ME
The 40-mile-long Kenduskeag Stream once supported large numbers of Atlantic salmon; the stream's degradation has wiped them out.

Evaluating the Air Quality of an Inner-City School
Humboldt High School, St. Paul, MN
Problems with temperature control and ventilation plague many old school buildings, but rarely is the school's air quality scientifically measured.

Educating Students and Families about Immigrant Workers' Rights
International High School at La Guardia Community College
Grateful to have a job, many immigrant workers are afraid to speak up when wronged by an employer and don't know where to turn for help.

Students and Elders Improving Each Other's Lives
Jacksonville Early College High School, Jacksonville, FL
Both teens and the elderly can experience alienation, loneliness, and misconceptions about their abilities; telling their stories helps turn this around.

Highway Construction in a Denver Neighborhood
Millennium Quest High School, Denver, CO
How can a new highway be built through an inner-city neighborhood without damaging the residents' quality of life?

Investigating Neighborhood Asthma
Mott Haven Village School, Bronx, NY
The asthma rate in South Bronx is triple that of the rest of New York City and one of the country's highest. Why is this so and how does it effect students?

Native Ways: Promoting Subsistence Living and Health Lifestyles in Alaskan Villages
Russian Mission School, Russian Mission, AK
As a younger generation of Alaskan Natives discards hunting and fishing and their elders become too old to gather food, health and traditions suffer alike.

Teens Helping Teens with Eating Disorders
Sehome High School, Bellingham, WA
Eating disorders afflict an estimated 15 percent of teenage girls nationwide. Yet few teens know the warning signs or how best to intervene, especially with a friend.

No Dropouts Here: Being Well Known
Skyland Community High School, Denver, CO
Small schools often have low dropout rates, many contend, because students feel "well known." How much does not being known well cause students in large schools to quit?

Suicide Prevention in a Remote Community
White Mountain School, White Mountain, AK
Alaska has the highest suicide rate in the country. When teens in small, remote villages take their lives, the whole community feels the loss.





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“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”

– Deborah Meier, educator