While public high schools have been called “penitentiaries of boredom” and are believed by some to be failing, there are plenty of public schools that have found innovative ways of delivering education.
Below we have compiled a list of 12 inventive and engaging schools that provide students with more than just a typical education. The list is a mix of charters, magnets and traditional public high schools. These are institutions that prove you don't need to shell out thousands of dollars for a private education.
Do you know an interesting public school that we left off the list? Let us know in the comments section.
In 2010, Clintondale High School , became a "flipped classroom" school, meaning that homework is done during the day, and instruction takes place at night in the home via online videos. Though the school, which is located in a suburb of Detroit, previously ranked among the worst five percent of schools in Michigan, Principal Greg Green says standardized test scores have improved since the change.
The Chicago High School For Agricultural Sciences is a public school set on the city's last farm, a 55-acre plot which students help maintain. In addition to core subjects like math and English, attendees also study subjects with an agricultural bent. Animal sciences, horticulture and agriculture technology are just some of the fields students can explore, according to The New York Times.
"It's very rare that school is explicitly a gay-friendly school and that's always been part of our mission also because so many LGBT youth are bullied to the point of dropping out of school or committing suicide," said lead teacher Tina Owen in December 2013.
High school student Hillary Devoss told NPR in 2008 that participating in The Walden Project made her more involved in her education. "I wasn't very engaged in my education. I kind of was failing all my classes. I really care a lot about my education now, which I didn't before," she said.
Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy
Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy is a public school in Colorado where students have the opportunity of being full-time athletes. According to its website, "The goal of VSSA is to challenge its student-athletes with a rigorous academic curriculum while supporting a world-class training and competition schedule." In order to get accepted to the school, which is run in collaboration with the local Eagle County School District, students must have first been admitted to the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, a nonprofit that trains young skiers.
This unconventional education model seems to be working. In 2007, NPR wrote that the school boasted high test scores and that most of its graduates go on to college.
Another Course to College
Another Course to College, a public school in Boston, is unique in that students must be accepted into college in order to graduate. They are not required to enroll in a college after graduation. According to the school's website, "It is the ACC staff’s responsibility to guide (or push) the students through the college application process."