Members of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools are breaking the model of traditional public education and building policies, programs, and practices that serve as examples of how forward-thinking leadership, combined with driven, empowered educators and smart technology use, can transform learning.
This was the mission of the League when it launched in late 2011. Three years later, that initial cohort has turned promising early results into sustained success. And, perhaps more importantly, the size and reach of the League has grown tremendously as more school districts commit to using innovations to improve access and achievement for all students.
Today, we are excited to welcome 11 new public school districts into the League of Innovative Schools network. The vision, commitment, and potential to positively affect student achievement set these districts apart from a competitive and compelling group of applicants from across the United States.
The addition of these members expands the League’s reach to more than 3.2 million students across 57 school districts and education agencies in 27 states. Members of the League commit to sharing lessons learned, participating in national and regional forums, and partnering with research institutions, technology developers, and one another to deliver better results for students. Collectively, this group has the ability to move the needle on important challenges facing education.
Below are the 11 new school districts selected for the League of Innovative Schools fall 2014 cohort:
Situated at the edge of Denver’s northernmost suburbs, this mid-sized district enrolls more than 42,200 students, but ranks near the bottom in Colorado in per-pupil funding. Despite that, the Five Star District is committed to investing in innovations that help all students – even those most at-risk – succeed.
Superintendent: Chris Gdowski
This small urban district knows how to leverage the resources in its community. Avonworth Schools, located just 10 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, partners with local museums, business, universities, and government agencies to help enrich student learning. Avonworth also collaborates with neighboring districts and fellow League members Elizabeth Forward School District and South Fayette School District.
Superintendent: Thomas Ralston
Students and staff at Bristol Township’s 11 schools use document cameras, interactive whiteboards, and video conferencing to collaborate in classrooms and across schools, districts, and countries. In fall 2014, Bristol’s two middle schools – Armstrong and FDR Middle – began implementing 1-to-1 digital learning programs through the Digital Promise Schools initiative.
Superintendent: Samuel Lee
With roughly 19,500 students – 100 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced-priced meals – spread out over an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, Coachella Valley Unified School District is committed to closing the digital learning gap. Last year it completed a 1-to-1 initiative that equipped all students from pre-K through high school with an iPad.
Superintendent: Darryl Adams
Students at Kettle Moraine – a small school district in southeast Wisconsin – don’t sit in rows of desks. Instead, the district’s roughly 4,200 students work in small groups, collaborate on projects, and engage in personalized, self-driven learning. This unconventional learning environment reflects Kettle Moraine’s commitment to transforming how the district delivers education to engage students and better meet their needs.
Superintendent: Patricia Deklotz
Loudoun County’s leadership is no stranger to the League of Innovative Schools. Eric Williams, the district’s newly appointed superintendent, was a founding member of the League while at York County Schools, also in Virginia. Educators at Loudoun County Public Schools regularly use student data to make instructional choices and students participate in live virtual debates with peers around the globe.
Superintendent: Eric Williams
A small district located just outside of New York City’s easternmost boroughs, Mineola is committed to standards-based, technology-enhanced instruction. The district developed fully-digital open source curriculum for grades 3-9, and created an app that allows students and parents to track student progress on individual standards.
Superintendent: Michael Nagler
Owsley County Schools is a small rural district committed to closing the digital gap. The median family income in the district is less than $20,000 and nearly 90 percent of the district’s 740 students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. Almost all students have fiber-optic Internet access thanks to a partnership with the district’s local telephone cooperative. Owsley County leverages this access to deliver virtual instruction so students can access courses not available at the district’s schools.
Superintendent: Tim Bobrowski
District Seven is one of the most diverse school districts in South Carolina, with a student body that is almost 70 percent minority students. Every student in grades 3-12 receives either an iPad or a MacBook Air through Seven Ignite, the district’s 1-to-1 initiative, and instructional technology integration specialists in each school help teachers get the most out of the digital resources available.
Superintendent: Russell Booker
Vista Unified is committed to equipping its more than 22,000 students – the majority of whom are considered low income and qualify for free or reduced-price meals – with 21st century skills. The district uses technology to support instruction and is one of four districts working to close the digital gap through the Digital Promise Schools initiative.
Superintendent: Devin Vodicka
With more than 153,000 students, Wake County Public School System is the largest school district in North Carolina and the 16th largest in the United States. This rapidly growing district has 171 schools, including more than 30 magnet schools and nearly 30 STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – schools. Wake County Schools was one of four districts chosen to participate in the Digital Promise Schools initiative, which aims to close the digital learning gap at a diverse array of middle schools.
Superintendent: James Merrill
Digital Promise will begin accepting new applications to the League of Innovative Schools this summer.