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Essential Components and Next Steps for Comprehensive Whole-School Reform in High Poverty Middle Schools


by Robert Balfanz, Allen Ruby & Douglas Mac Iver — 2002

The first half of this chapter briefly summarizes the lessons learned to date regarding components that are absolutely essential for transforming high poverty middle schools. As developers of the Talent Development Middle School (TDMS) model,2 we draw upon our own experiences from the past 6 years working with high poverty middle schools in Philadelphia, Memphis, New Jersey, and Michigan. We argue that by focusing on the infrastructure of teaching and learning and by creating a communal organization of schooling, it is possible to make significant achievement and motivational gains in high poverty middle schools. In the second half of this chapter, we discuss several remaining instructional, school culture, and policy obstacles that must be overcome, and we consider the additional components that are still needed to reliably transform the most troubled high poverty middle schools into strong learning institutions.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol. 101, No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 10, 2002, p. 128-147
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18644, Date Accessed: 5/29/2017 11:08:23 AM

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About the Author
  • Robert Balfanz
    Johns Hopkins University
    E-mail Author
    ROBERT BALFANZ is an Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University, where he is Co-Director of the Talent Development Middle School project and Associate Director of the Talent Development High School project.
  • Allen Ruby
    Johns Hopkins University
    E-mail Author
    ALLEN RUBY is an Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Douglas Mac Iver
    Johns Hopkins University
    E-mail Author
    DOUGLAS MAC IVER is a Principal Research Scientist in the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University
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