Over a dozen U.S. schools gaining recognition for innovative strategy

May 23, 2016
Education Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Tech Insider has compiled a list of the 14 most innovative schools in the U.S., which include an off-the-grid solar powered elementary school in Arizona as well as Wisconsin’s The Alliance School, which has an anti-bullying mandate for its 50% LGBT student population.
  • Another school on the list, the THINK Global School, is a NYC-based high school without walls which brings students abroad to study in different cultures and countries.
  • The mission of the Young Women’s Leadership Network in New York is to to close the gap between men and women in high-ranking jobs, and has graduated over 8,00 students, and the school’s executive director says grads complete four-year college degrees at triple the rate of other students.

Dive Insight:
Although the strategies used by many of the selected innovators are unique and appear to be successful thus far, it might not be possible to replicate or scale certain academic models. Ted Fujimoto, the founder and president of the Landmark Consulting Group, a consulting company that focuses on scaling innovations in learning, has been able to successfully scale innovative models for U.S. public school designs like New Tech Network and Big Picture Learning.

Fujimoto says that replicable school designs are key. That way, impact can be broad enough to affect change, and good ideas that are working can become contagious.

“For any transformation to take place, I think it’s important that you are clear about what you are fighting for, not just what you are fighting against,” Fujimoto previously told Education Dive. “With the new ESSA in place, I hope that states will use the flexibility to create policies and direct resources to support the adoption of replicable, deeper learning, whole-school designs using a powerful school culture of trust, respect, responsibility, and excellence, coupled with using project-based learning authentically tied to student interest, passions, and real-world problems. I challenge every state to produce initiatives — not to just try to fix the bottom 5% of schools, but transform a third of their schools.”

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