schools-within-school model, and to extend class periods to give teachers more instructional time and direct contact with students ( Legters, chap. 14, this volume; McPartland, et al., 1996). An underlying principle of these efforts is that given the opportunity and time, teachers and school staff can build more caring and trusting relationships with students, and better help>lb /> them achieve their fullest potential.
Many schools that serve poor and minority adolescents, however, might lack the resources and personnel necessary to provide students with the personal support and guidance they may need to avoid stumbling into maladaptive behaviors, low school engagement, and poor achievement. Such schools, however, are not wholly without resources. Caring adults in these adolescents' families and communities can work with teachers and other school personnel to support and guide these youth ( Nettles, 1991; Sanders & Epstein, chap. 15, this volume). Many reform efforts that seek to create caring learning environments for students are encouraging more parent and community involvement to achieve this goal ( Dryfoos, 1998; Lucas, Henze, & Donato, 1990; McDonnell, 1989; Stephen, Varble, & Taitt, 1993).
These and other reform efforts must be supported and continually evaluated and improved to ensure that all students are appropriately served by schools. Further research delving into ways of possibly maximizing teacher expectations and support is needed. Such research should investigate how school and class size influence interpersonal relationships between teachers and students; what organizational and contextual factors influence the development of teacher expectations; and how best to support teachers in developing and sustaining high expectations for all students, irrespective of class, race, and gender. In addition, more research on how families and communities can best partner with schools to create supportive learning environments is needed. Findings from such studies could further inform and improve reform efforts in American high schools.
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