Combining High School and College?
Many gifted high school kids already take some college classes as a way to accelerate their education (indeed, AP classes are supposed to be at the college level, and some 60% of high schools now offer them). Now a school district in California is proposing combining a high school with a junior college to allow kids to earn a high school diploma and a 2-year degree at the same time. While many gifted kids have their eyes on 4-year-degrees, I think this close relationship between a high school and a college would be a great model for other districts.
You can read about Chico, California's efforts here. You can also read some complaints about the project here.
This particular letter-writer doesn't like the idea because kids will be giving up "friends and school activities." But one of the big complaints about the last few years of high school for many bright kids is that they're a holding pattern. You're pretty much grown up, but not entirely, from a legal perspective. You're probably ready for college work, but that requires a real push from parents or the kid to make that happen (will you take a bus to a college? Walk? will the college say yes? who pays?) Combining a high school with a junior college not only allows bright kids to move ahead, it allows kids at the junior college to brush up on subjects they might be spotty on. It's an unfortunate truth that approximately 40% of community college students must enroll in some sort of remedial course. If such classes are already being offered at an attached high school, both the students and taxpayers could save some money.
Of course, many concepts sound better in theory than in practice, but I think this one's worth a try.