The League of Innovative Schools’ 12 Days of Innovation - Digital Promise

The League of Innovative Schools’ 12 Days of Innovation

December 20, 2018 | By and

2018 was an incredible year for the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools and Education Innovation Clusters (EdClusters). With our renewed focus on designing, validating, and scaling effective innovation to advance equity and excellence for every student, we have had an exciting year that included launching new tools and programs, welcoming new members, hosting convenings, and sharing stories. Take a look at our Year in Review!

On the 12th day of Innovation, the League and Clusters gave to you…

12 New League Districts

We are always excited to invite new districts that are implementing new teaching and learning practices into the League. In 2018, we welcomed 12 new districts: Arcadia Unified School District, D.C. Everest Area School District, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, Graham Local Schools, Harrington Park School District, Meriden Public Schools, Middletown City School District, San Diego County Office of Education, Socorro Independent School District, South Bay Union School District, Southampton County Public Schools, and Wyckoff Township Public Schools. These new additions bring the League to 102 members in 33 states, representing almost three million students.

Representatives from our 12 new districts and 7 interim districts met at the fall 2018 League meeting in Park City, UT.

11 States Visited

Our team had the honor of visiting school districts in 11 states: California (Cajon Valley Union School District, Covina Valley Unified School District), Indiana (East Noble School Corporation), New York (Mineola Union Free School District), North Carolina (Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Rowan Salisbury Schools), Ohio (Lakota Local Schools), Rhode Island (Bristol Warren Regional School District), South Carolina (Rock Hill School District), Utah (Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, Juab School District), Virginia (Albemarle County Public Schools, Loudoun County Public Schools), Washington (Highline Public Schools), and Wyoming (Uinta County School District 1). We saw a of myriad new and exciting programs—like centers where high school students apply industry skills, collaborative spaces for students across multiple grade levels, and physical environment extensions for blind students. We hope to visit even more districts in 2019!

Kim Smith, Executive Director of the League of Innovative Schools, visits the Academies of Loudoun, one of the school visit sites of the fall 2019 League of Innovative Schools meeting. Also pictured is Eric Williams, superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools and members of his team.

10 Education Conferences

We shared the League’s and EdClusters’ work and provided opportunities to showcase our member school districts at 10 Education conferences. We hosted 20 League districts at the ASU GSV conference (thanks to the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), ISTE, CoSN, iNACOL, SXSW EDU, SIIA, NGLC, Remake Learning, JEX, and the EdElements Personalized Learning Summit.

A few conferences in detail:

  • At SXSW EDU, we highlighted the power of EdClusters in advancing educational opportunities through community.
  • At iNACOL, we talked about big questions districts need to ask about equity in a competency-based education implementation, as well as the promise of open educational resources.
  • At EdElements, we facilitated a panel that shared best practices around advancing competency-based education in unique contexts within the League.

9 Energetic Team Members

Our work has expanded—and so has our team—to support new League and EdClusters programs. We’ve provided more opportunities for network members to engage with researchers to address big challenges in Challenge Collaboratives, we created professional learning community Cohorts in which leaders can explore topics of interest with peers, and we’re developing Innovation Portfolios that showcase districts’ innovation stories and outcomes. The Digital Promise team that supports our networks has grown to NINE!

Our combined teams at our 2018 League and Clusters team retreat in Washington, DC.

8 Approaches to Innovation

We shared a blog post on eight approaches making a difference in public education—offering just a few examples of excellence happening in the League everyday.

7 Education Innovation Clusters Resources

The EdClusters team spent 2018 conducting research, piloting social network analyses, and mapping the resources in their networks. Check out the results of their work:

Read stories from these EdCluster regions:

6 District-Led Cohorts

We launched professional learning communities in the League to provide members with opportunities to lead discussions and share insights on topics of interest. The Cohort topics include Competency-based Professional Learning, Data Interoperability, Engaged Learning, Innovative Assessment, Learner Variability, and Rural Education. This year, League leaders shared strategies on implementing kindergarten badges, using virtual reality in history, designing teacher professional development for Learner Variability, and using innovative assessments to build grading habits.

5 Challenge Collaboratives

We introduced a new model for League districts to collaborate with researchers. Challenge Collaboratives are focused on creating tools, programs, and models to address education challenges. In 2018, we launched five collaboratives:

  • Real World Learning: Creating and scaling authentic, life-relevant opportunities
  • Assessment Data Interoperability: Integrating assessment data to support teacher instruction and student learning
  • Computational Thinking Pathways: Articulating equitable, competency-based K–12 CS/CT pathways
  • OER and Deeper Learning for the Next Generation Science Standards: Supporting deeper learning in NGSS through challenge-based projects and formative assessment tools
  • Computational Thinking for Next Generation Science Standards: Supporting effective, inclusive NGSS implementation through PD, computational thinking, and micro-credentials

The Data Interoperability Challenge Collaborative met in Austin, TX to collaborate and advance work in their own district’s journey to data interoperability.


4 New District Superintendent Advisory Members

We welcomed four new superintendent advisory members to our steering committee:

3 District Data Interoperability Videos

One of our major initiatives focused on demonstrating the value and benefits of data interoperability, or the seamless and secure sharing of data that provides educators with the information they need to best support student learning Check out the three videos we produced!




2 League Meetings

More than 200 League members traversed the country to attend our League convenings. Our spring meeting in Charlotte, NC, featured the Southern hospitality of hosts Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Rock Hill Public Schools and Rowan-Salisbury Schools. District leaders engaged in conversations on challenge solutions, gathered insights at district visits, and launched Cohorts. For our fall meeting, the League headed to the mountains and snow in Park City, UT, to connect and visit host districts Juab School District, Uinta County School District #1 and Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind. The meeting included the launch of our Inclusive Innovation work focused on addressing the barriers to equity for marginalized students, as well as a session on opportunities for youth in film and media led by Meredith Lavitt from the Sundance Institute.

1 Challenge Map

Drum roll! In 2018, in collaboration with the Digital Promise Research in Action team, we launched the Digital Promise Challenge Map, focusing on 36 challenges across nine themes reflecting the shared challenges League districts are addressing. The Challenge Map surfaces promising approaches and opportunities to bring educators and researchers together around high-priority issues. We will continue to update the Challenge Map, tackle the challenges, and share research-based resources and ideas from League districts.

And a partridge in a pear tree!

We’re looking forward to seeing where 2019 takes us! Thank you to the League district leaders, partners, funders, and friends who made this work possible. To keep updated with the League of Innovative Schools and Education Innovation Clusters, follow #DPLIS and #EdClusters on Twitter.

Sign Up For Updates! Sign Up For Updates

Sign up for updates!