For more than 32 years, the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) was at the forefront of creating and sustaining personalized, equitable, and intellectually challenging schools.

By coaching for cultures of continuous improvement and powerful professional learning communities focused on student achievement, CES worked with educators to support and promote innovative and effective teaching. CES worked with school districts and other entities to shape the policy conditions that support and promote schools characterized by personalization, democracy and equity, intellectual vitality and excellence, and graduates who experience success in all aspects of their lives: educational, professional, civic, and personal. Please visit What We Do for more about CES’s programs and activities.

The CES Network and Essential Schools

Though CES no longer exists as a national organization, many schools and support organizations continue to identify with the CES Common Principles. The CES network includes hundreds of schools and Affiliate Centers. Diverse in size, population, and programmatic emphasis, Essential schools serve students from pre-kindergarten through high school in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Essential schools are places of powerful learning where all students have the chance to reach their fullest potential. CES practice is exemplified by small, personalized learning communities in which teachers and students know each other well in a climate of trust, decency and high expectations for all. Essential schools work to create academic success for every student by sharing decision-making with all those affected by the schools and deliberately and explicitly confronting all forms of inequity. Essential schools focus on helping all students use their minds well through standards-aligned interdisciplinary studies, community-based “real-world” learning and performance-based assessment.

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CES’s Vision