Reimagining school as we know it

Another innovative approach is also taking root in Colorado: the teacher-led school without a principal. With support from the Ford Foundation (which has made significant investments in extended learning opportunities for students and their teachers), we have been able to document the emergence of the Math and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA).

Over the past several years, we at CTQ have been documenting how school conditions and designs affect the way teachers teach and students learn. Research has demonstrated that curriculum, instructional resources, preparedness and stability of faculty, and connections to after-school and summer-school programs have strong impacts on student achievement. Teachers say the same.

Furman Brown’s Generation Schools are promising models of re-envisioned school conditions. Nearly 90% of the full-time professional staff teach classes. Students get more instructional time (up to 200 days), and class sizes can be as low as 16. Teachers have many opportunities to plan together and learn from one another. Currently, several districts in Colorado are piloting the Generation Schools model, which has found a “better way to organize and distribute work” for both students and teachers. (See this terrific report from Ed Sector on improving teacher quality through school design.)

Another innovative approach is also taking root in Colorado: the teacher-led school without a principal. With support from the Ford Foundation (which has made significant investments in extended learning opportunities for students and their teachers), we have been able to document the emergence of the Math and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA). There, strong teacher leaders, most National Board Certified, have forged deep connections to the communities they serve and are backed by a reform-minded union.

Watch the video to learn more about MSLA, and take a look at our case study about the school’s creation. MSLA is doing great things, and we need to make sure that the school, its teachers, and its stories become better known to policymakers, practitioners, and the public. We need find ways to take these good ideas to scale.