At Innovate Public Schools
Supporting Districts to Create Great Schools
Innovate Public Schools partners with reform-minded school districts that are interested in launching new schools or that are willing to implement substantial redesign efforts to improve their lowest-performing schools.
To learn more about how Innovate partners with districts, contact Amanda Gardner, VP, Schools.
Redesigning and relaunching a school requires not only finding and supporting the right leader, but setting the school up for success. That means ensuring the district office is actively creating the right policies and supports and that parents and teachers are engaged throughout the process. Innovate provides intensive support to districts on all of these components.
The primary avenue for providing support to these district and school leaders comes through Innovate’s Start-Up Schools Fellowship. District teams include a principal and, ideally, an assistant principal, who both participate in the year-long Fellowship to redesign their school. Both have planning time to design the school and spend a day a week in a residency at a very high-performing school in the region.
Innovate also provides additional support to help district office staff implement the policies and structures that are most critical to the redesigned school’s success. Key district staff will often participate in parts of the Fellowship, including trainings and school visits.
Change isn’t easy and, in many places across the country, there have been top-down efforts that didn’t engage parents and the community, and consequently, there was significant community backlash. Innovate brings vast experience in parent organizing and engagement and supports organizations and school leadership in involving parents throughout the redesign process. When parents get excited and engaged in the process of designing a great school for their children, they become strong advocates who are deeply invested in the success of the initiative. This also helps ensure that the changes to the school are sustainable in the long-term.
Innovate is currently partnering on two school redesigns: John Gill Elementary in Redwood City and Scott Lane Elementary in Santa Clara Unified. Key elements of both designs include ensuring that rigorous instruction is available to all students, increasing consistency around classroom expectations and routines across the school, and increasing parent leadership. At John Gill, the district is in the process of implementing a Mandarin immersion program as well as the Early Learning Math Initiative (ELMI). The redesign at Scott Lane includes more collaborative planning time for teachers, including a structured professional learning community model and implementing the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) program.
Innovate is also partnering with Burnett Middle School in San Jose Unified School District as they redesign their school. Burnett is making significant progress toward transitioning from a traditional model of school instruction to one where students and teachers leverage technology consistently to personalize learning across the content areas. Burnett is also transitioning to a competency based grading model.