We're more than 20 cities into this weekly series examining education in American cities--a few things are becoming clear. I launched the series because everybody is talking about innovation (inside and outside of education) but I don't think we know much about where it happens or how it spreads--or why it doesn't.


A foundation advisor asked, "Is there a smart approach donors might take with blended learning research?" Following are seven areas that could use some attention.


A foundation officer called last week to discuss investing in edtech. After a decade of neglect, it's a growth category reflecting the mobile inflection and the transition to digital learning.


Despite one of the most significant confluence of innovators on the planet, there are relatively few education innovators in the capital region but there are a handful of cool schools and a group of nationally important impact organizations profiled below.


Two remarkable young men realized in college that they had been fortunate in their college preparation, selection, and attendance. The both decided to do something about it. They organized nonprofits and stepped into the CEO role when the graduated.


A year ago Doug Haynes made a recommendation to the board of Rocky Mount Prep to adopt a blended learning plan modeled after the Rocketship elementary model and the Carpe Diem high school. The board asked him to become CEO and implement the plan...over the summer.


If you asked me who my favorite educator, speaker, community organizer, and tour guide was, Howard Fuller would be high on all four lists. When I heard about Rocketship's decision to pick Milwaukee as the first expansion site, I was puzzled and called the team. They said there was one compelling reason--Howard Fuller. I smiled.


With higher expectations, daunting challenges, and new technologies, it's a good time to start over. Creating new schools from scratch--particularly high schools--is a timely opportunity. The good news is that Next Generation Learning Challenges is accepting applications for "new, personalized, blended, mastery-based schools capable of generating dramatically higher outcomes for students." The $12 million grant program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will "support educators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and forward-thinking policy makers who have a plan for a new school. "If we want to confront the equity issue, we need to help districts design high schools that build on the ...


"High-quality digital learning has the power to customize learning for each student's unique needs, ensuring an education that is challenging, engaging, and relevant," said Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd).


So, asks the Smart Cities reader, why write about the disaster that is Detroit? Like New Orleans, Detroit families are beginning to benefit from the man-made disruption and corruption. The portfolio emerging from the disaster is worth watching.


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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