Mass. gives funding boost to “innovation schools”

Massachusetts is awarding $350,000 to accelerate the planning process for 26 potential new Innovation Schools across the Commonwealth. Local superintendents, school committee members and union leaders, have already approved the initial plans for these schools and the grants will be used to develop innovation plans to be presented to local school committees for final approval. Many of these schools could open as early as September 2011.

Innovation Schools are in-district, charter-like public schools that employ inventive strategies and creative approaches to education while keeping school funding within districts. The funding was made available as part of a total of $2 million in support from the state’s successful Race to the Top proposal and additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The proposed schools will operate with different schedules that are designed to increase instructional time for students and professional learning time for educators.

“Innovation Schools provide educators with a new option to build supportive schools that ensure students reach high standards and expectations,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. “These planning funds will help educators and partners have the resources necessary to design more effective approaches to increase student learning.”