Innovation Resources

Additional Resources and Examples of Innovative School Models

The ICSB recognizes that innovation comes in many forms. Today’s most forward thinkers have not cornered the market on innovation, and many of tomorrow’s most innovative school models have yet to be designed. The ICSB has provided the following list of resources as a set of examples for inspiration and further understanding of existing, promising school innovations. The list includes actual school models as well as organizations and resources that may be of use to applicants in crafting their own unique models.  

Applicants should not feel compelled to follow any of the specific examples or ideas given here. The ICSB has provided these resources and examples simply to inform applicants’ thinking about their approaches to innovation. 


Teaching offers resources and tools schools can use to redesign jobs and use technology to reach more students with excellent teachers. The site contains detailed school models, tools for school design teams, job descriptions and career paths, and financial models for sustainably paying teachers more for impacting more students with excellence.

Education Resource Strategies (ERS)provides resources and tools that aim to change the way people, time, and money are used in urban education, to dramatically improve student learning. A variety of resources can be found on the organization’s resources page.

Niswonger Foundation focuses on northeast Tennessee, aiming to expand rural students’ access to excellent teachers and advanced coursework, often through online learning. See a video introduction here.

The “T3” (Turnaround Teacher Teams) Initiative at Teach Plus represents an innovative approach to recruiting, developing and supporting teachers to serve in high-need schools.

Examples of schools taking innovative approaches to teaching include Matchbook Learning and City Charter High School. At Matchbook,  they start with an existing failing school and turn it around using same staff and students.  Matchbook incorporates a blended learning style providing teachers the autonomy to customize their teacher to direct meet their students' needs.   At City Charter, teachers have multi-level career ladders where their pay is tied to demonstrated competencies rather than seniority and education credits. Teachers work in teams and specialize in roles that match their areas of expertise.




The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation (formerlythe Innosight Institute)  applies theories of “disruptive innovation” to solve ongoing problems in education. Innosight maintains a database of blended-learning programs nationwide, offers resources on blended learning, and has released other notable publications.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has released a set of detailed blended-learning case studies, created to help better understand what works for students in blended learning models. The site also includes a variety of blog posts on blended learning.

CEE-Trust's BlendedLearningNow aggregates leading blogs, articles, and online videos about blended learning.

How to break free of our 19th-century factory-model education system” advocates using tools thoughtfully as school leaders consider innovation.

Kickin’ it old school and inventing the future” discusses features of new blended-learning models.

“Peering into the future of blended learning” recaps visits to several blended-learning schools and offers observations about the future of blended learning.

Teachers in the age of digital instruction” discusses the importance of new staffing models in reaching all students with excellent teachers to realize the promise of technology.

"Carpe Diem-Meridian: Achieving Academic Progress through Digital and In-Person Instruction" provides a case study by Public Impact on ICSB school Carpe Diem-Meridian.  

Examples of schools and programs taking innovative approaches to technology include Flex Public Schools, Rocketship Education, FirstLine Schools, New Classrooms (previously School of One), Nexus and Summit Public Schools.

Videos: The following videos provide insights into different blending learning models.

  • Fundamentals of Blended Learning: This animated video discusses what blended learning is, explains some models of blended learning and briefly discusses how students and teachers have reacted to blended learning.  
  • Changing Education Paradigms: Sir Ken Robinson discussed the need to break free of old ways of delivering education in this animated video.   
  • Los Angeles Alliance BLAST School Model: This video explains this blended-learning model, how data is used, and student and teacher reactions.
  • New Classrooms Overview, Parts One and Two: This shows the various “modalities” through which students receive instruction, and the “playlist” or individual learning plan for each student, organized by the schools’ technology and ongoing assessments.
  • Seton Partners Mission Dolores Academy School: This explains the blended-learning model at this Catholic school in San Francisco’s Mission District.



The National Center on Time & Learning focuses on adding more learning time to the school day and year. The Center has released a report, Time Well Spent: Eight Powerful Practices of Successful Expanded-Time Schools, which includes 30 examples of schools successfully implementing time-related innovations. The Center also offers a variety of school profiles, videos, tools, and publications on its resources page.

Education Resource Strategies (ERS)(also noted under “teaching”) provides resources and tools that aim to change the way people, time, and money are used in urban education, to dramatically improve student learning. A variety of resources can be found on the organization’s resources page.

Examples of schools and networks taking innovative approaches to time include Aspire Public Schools, Diploma Plus, The Excel Center, and USC Hybrid High.



Combining innovations in several areas, 2Revolutions discusses Future of Learning models and provides a video overview and white paper on its Knowledge page.

Boston Family Engagement Partnership: The Wheelock College Aspire Institute works with Boston traditional, charter, and parochial schools on school-family engagement.

Center on Education Governance: This site provides a series of profiles of promising practices in governance innovations in charter schools.

The SEDL National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools: This site offers research syntheses that may provide inspiration for innovation.