Massachusetts, the state where the first public high school opened in 1820 and the “common school’’ movement began in the 1830s, has ranked first in NAEP scores over seven consecutive tests since 2005. The Kids Count Data Center placed Massachusetts first in 2017, second in 2018, on overall preK-12 education indicators.
On Tuesday, a newly formed nonprofit approved overseeing six schools in Waco for the next two years.
Five of those schools were at risk of closing earlier this year are part of the schools that will now be managed by Transformation Waco.
“It really sets the stage for the play that comes next. What can we do together: Transformation Waco, Waco ISD, Prosper Waco and other community partners, to help students at these campuses be successful,” Waco ISD Communications Director Kyle DeBeer said.
Five more Denver schools will have additional freedom this fall from school district rules.
The school board voted unanimously Thursday to allow one school to join an existing “innovation zone” and another four to create a new one. Innovation zones represent a different way of managing schools that is somewhere between the traditional approach and that of charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently run.
What We’ve Learned From Leading Schools in Denver’s Luminary Network — And How We’ve Used Our Financial Freedom
Three years ago, we were among a group of Denver principals who began meeting to tackle an important question: How could we use Colorado’s innovation schools law to take our schools to the next level?
As leaders of innovation schools, we already had the ability to make our own choices around the curriculum, length of school day, and staffing at our campuses. But some of us concluded that by joining forces as an independent network, we could do even more. From those early meetings, the Luminary Learning Network, Denver’s first school innovation zone, was born.
Denver’s Luminary Learning Network Shows How Innovation Zones Can Work for Teachers, Students, and Families
When we helped four school leaders launch an “innovation zone” in Denver two years ago, we weren’t sure where the journey would take us.
The guiding vision was for radical empowerment of the educators closest to the students. So we began simply by asking fundamental questions about who gets to make key decisions about new hires, schedule, curriculum, culture, and budget.
Two teachers who represented the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership during Gov. Charlie Baker’s State of the Commonwealth speech said it is a testament to the work being done by administrators, teachers, parents and students.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” said Tammy Grimes, chairwoman of the special education department at the High School of Commerce, which was the first high school in the district to join the empowerment zone.
Education leaders, advocates, and policymakers interested in pushing more decision-making, budget flexibility, and ownership to the school level can hear lessons from Colorado’s first independently run innovation zone of public schools – thanks to a new case study and webcast discussion from Gates Family Foundation.