School districts across the United States are trying to improve student performance. But few have taken as radical an approach as Adams 50 in Colorado.

For starters, when the elementary and middle school students come back next fall, there won't be any grade levels--or traditional grades, for that matter. And the organizational transformation -- to a pattern popular in the era of the little red schoolhouse, but with a modern twist -- is only the most visible change in a district facing significant challenges. Adams 50 is striving to reverse dismal test scores and a soaring dropout rate by opting for a wholesale reinvention...

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