InClass

Discover what drove this educator to create a different model of high school. More than 20 years ago, a student at Dr. Eve Rifkin’s school committed suicide.“What everybody said the next day was, ‘I didn’t really know him,’” she explains. “No one had anything to say about this human being. The sch

Oct 26, 2017

Discover what drove this educator to create a different model of high school.




More than 20 years ago, a student at Dr. Eve Rifkin’s school committed suicide.

“What everybody said the next day was, ‘I didn’t really know him,’” she explains. “No one had anything to say about this human being. The school never did anything that felt intentional as a community. We lost a kid and there was no gathering, announcement, or moment of silence. The school didn’t miss a beat.”

Then, in 2004, she and two colleagues founded City High School — a place where every student is known for his or her interests, strengths, and weaknesses. A place where educators truly know their students. Today, the Tucson school enrolls about 200 students, and the waitlist is a testament to its success and care.

“I don’t knock large schools because dealing with that many kids you have to figure out systems that are going to serve the greater good. In our situation, the greater good is much smaller, so we can be more flexible and responsive to what students need,” she says. “When you get to know kids well, they do things that they never would if they were invisible or slipping through the cracks. It’s not that we are making kids be different. We’re not changing kids, we’re just seeing them in ways they have not been seen before.”

Learn more about Rifkin's story and City High School here.

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