Eight Ways New Schools Innovate

From Forbes, November 19, 2020, by Tom Vander Ark

The rapid global shift to hybrid and remote learning—with lots of versions and variability—provoked renewed interest in new school models. And, compared to 20 years ago, the invention opportunity is enhanced by the science of learning, broad agreement on the importance of success skills, and better tools.

The opportunity to design schools to promote whole child development is expressed in a framework from Turnaround for Children. The five design principles include “positive relationships, environments filled with safety and belonging, integrated supports, the intentional development of critical skills, mindsets and habits that all successful learners have, and rich meaningful instructional experiences so that students discover what they are capable of.”

With Altitude Learning and for the Texas Learning Exchange, we are building on Turnaround’s complication of learning science and cataloging innovative school models. We spotted and tagged features of innovative schools in eight dimensions. New school models innovate in one or more of these dimensions. They may not have a long track record of success but their early practices and results are promising.

6. Organization of time and staffing: innovative ways of organizing learning experiences, schedules, supports and staff. Examples include:

  • Schools in the Opportunity Culture network share a system of multi-classroom leadership that provides both a talent development ladder and better support for junior teachers.

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