I live in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Recently, a local business journal published the rankings of local high schools. I was happy to see that the top six schools are all using innovative approaches to teaching teens. Five are "early college high schools" and one is a charter school.
If you're not familiar with early college high schools, it's a wonderfully simple idea. Early college high schools give students 2 graduation paths. A student can attend for the typical 4-years and leave with a high school diploma. However, if the student stays for 5 years, he or she can leave with a diploma and an associates degree--and it's free for the student.
I've volunteered at an early college HS and left so impressed. The teachers are creative and passionate. The students are excited about learning. Many of them are the first generation in their families to get a college degree.
I hope early college HS's are adopted in more states. It's a win for the kids and a win for America.