I'm spending a couple days with the most thoughtful folks in leadership development. We'll spend part of the time looking at new school models and asking what it means for preparing the next generation of school leaders.


It is easy for schools that serve high-challenge communities to be preoccupied with remediation. With the growth of double-blocked core subjects and managed instruction programs, one can assume that engaging projects and what might be called enrichment activities only happen in independent or suburban schools


Everything is changing... • Mobile devices and apps; adaptive instruction--teachers, parents, and kids flipping and blending their own learning. • Online learning and new tools are being blended into new school models that leverage great teaching with technology. • And just beginning to emerge: learner profiles, smart playlists, customized and competency-based pathways.


It is pretty easy to run a secondary school using open math content. There is Khan Academy, CK12, NROC, and more. But it seems to be harder to find open education resources (OER) in English language arts.


Startups get all the love on the blogs. With the slow demise of print, the big guys are negotiating the long uneven edu-version of the Innovator's Dilemma by cannibalizing existing revenue streams with converted or acquired digital product lines. In between, a handful of midsize companies are innovating and delivering value at scale.


The innovative Bay Area school network is a pioneer in blended and competency based learning. CEO Diane Tavenner launched Summit Prep, the organization's flagship school, a decade ago. With each new school, Diane and her talented team continue to innovate on the secondary school model. Here's the ingredients of the current blend:


"The company that has transformation opportunity," said Peter Cohen of McGraw-Hill Education (@MHEducation). Cohen joined McGraw in March as President of K-12 School Education. "It was a chance to work in a nimble organization with great digital products," said Cohen.


Blended learning isn't just handing kids a laptop, it's new school models that incorporate differentiated and distributed staffing strategies--educators of different levels and in different locations--to boost learning productivity


Local philanthropic partnerships can leverage resources to attack big problems but they are challenging to create. Between us, we've created hundreds of local and initiative-based funding alliances, so we've seen our share of good and bad marriages.


Over the summer we interviewed two dozen school and network leaders producing strong academic results and developing powerful young people. Considering their leadership stories, we found ten things in common:


The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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