Innovative School Model Opportunities for Delaware
Through Race to the Top, Partnership Zone regulations, and School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds, Delaware is well positioned to lead national efforts to turnaround persistently low-performing schools. Through these various initiatives, communities are afforded unprecedented resources to design and implement new school models tailored to their students’ needs. Each school would undergo one of the intervention models – transformation, turnaround, restart, or opening a charter school- as outlined by federal requirements. These school models, however, are not designed solely for implementation within low-performing schools. Any community can employ these models to redesign their school structure or open a new school to better prepare students for evolving college and workforce demands in the 21st century.
Yesterday, Innovative Schools hosted a Model Showcase to feature three high school redesign organizations, Big Picture Learning, EdWorks, and New Tech Network– with which they will partner to support communities interested in replicating these successful schools through their Make Mine a Model School campaign.
Through this initiative, Delaware communities have the opportunity to adopt successful models from around the country, replicate them, or build our own model based upon lessons learned. Some of these efforts are already underway throughout the First State. For example, Seaford High School is adopting the New Tech Network model through a transformation plan supported by SIG funding. Additionally, there are efforts underway to create a Montessori charter school that includes their renowned methods of student-directed instruction and multi-age classrooms. And last, several successful charter school models have explored coming to Delaware; including Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) and Mastery.
This is an unprecedented opportunity for students, parents, teachers, and other community stakeholders to work together in designing schools that meet their needs. School models can range from the Early College High School Model, supported by EdWorks, which includes partnerships with higher education institutions to provide college-level instruction, to Big Picture Learning’s model of incorporating classroom instruction with real-world experience through intensive internships.
Ultimately, we need to recognize that our current approach to instruction isn’t serving certain students, and that proven alternative school models — with support from community stakeholders — can transform any campus into a high-performing institution that prepares students for higher education and beyond.