Why would I want to create an innovation school?
Innovation Schools represent a chance for local school committees – in cooperation with superintendents, teachers’ unions, parents, outside partners and others – to internally charter their own schools. The new law gives traditional schools and educators the chance to develop the autonomy and flexibility to compete with charter schools and eliminate the need for school funding to leave the districts. In addition, it empowers teachers and others to take a leadership role in the development and operation of public schools.
This initiative represents an opportunity for local educators to implement innovative practices within traditional public school settings and control their own curricula, staffing, schedules, budgets, and professional development. In exchange for the much broader authority and discretion, our pioneering educators are held responsible, under the innovation plan agreed to by the local school committee, for advancing student learning and school performance.
Innovation Schools allow for deeper engagement in core subjects, more enrichment activities, longer school days, schools with particular instructional themes or areas of focus, and freedom from certain district rules and/or contract provisions. Innovation Schools provide teachers and others with an unprecedented opportunity to increase ownership of their schools and to take charge of both academic programming and operations. Applicants can operate schools under the terms and conditions that will best meet the needs of their students, as they will have the authority and flexibility to adopt curricula, implement instructional and assessment practices that they think will ensure students learn. As a result, Innovation Schools can dramatically increase opportunities for teacher leadership and deepen teacher professionalism.