Document Type

Graduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2005

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



Committee Chair

Gary Shelly

Second Committee Member

Steven W. Nourse

Third Committee Member

Jack L. McPherson


This project examined the essential components of a small learning academy to be established at Mt. Rainier High School. The review of current research found that six components are necessary for a small learning academy to be successful when breaking down large comprehensive high schools into small learning communities. The components that are evaluated include personalization of education, creating studentcentered and authentic curriculum, adaptive teaching strategies, performance-based assessment with high expectations, teacher collaboration and professional development, and strong community connections. The overall purpose of the guide is to focus attention on the components that matter in the establishment of the small learning academies as Mt. Rainier High School attempts to restructure education by breaking down into three or four learning academies.