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School Redesign

Innovation Schools Authorization Process

Innovation schools are established in accordance with a locally-based authorization process.

  1. An eligible applicant submits an initial prospectus to the district superintendent. Within 30 days of receiving the prospectus, the superintendent must convene a screening committee that includes the superintendent or a designee, a school committee member or a designee, and a representative from the local teachers' union; two-thirds approval from the screening committee is required for the applicant to move forward.

  2. An innovation plan committee that includes up to 11 school, district, and community representatives develops the innovation plan.

  3. Upon completion of the innovation plan, specific steps are required.

    • A conversion school requires a two-thirds majority vote of educators in the school.
    • A new school requires negotiations among the applicant, teachers' union, and superintendent if the innovation plan includes proposed waivers from or modifications to the collective bargaining agreement.

  4. The innovation plan is submitted to the school committee, which must hold at least one public hearing. A majority vote of the full school committee is required for approval.

    Upon approval, the Innovation School is authorized for a period of up to five years, and can be reauthorized by the school committee at the end of each term. The superintendent will work with the school committee to evaluate the school in accordance with the annual measurable goals included in the innovation plan. In addition, the superintendent can work with the operator of the Innovation School and the school committee to revise the plan as necessary. Any revisions that propose changes to the collective bargaining agreement require a two-thirds vote of approval from the teachers in the Innovation School.

History of Innovation Schools

As of September 2013, there are 47 approved innovation schools across the Commonwealth serving approximately 17,000 students in 26 school districts. About one-fourth of innovation schools are science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused; while other innovation schools implement a variety of themes, including but not limited to, dual language; early college; expanded learning time; and international baccalaureate models. Please refer to the June 2013 Report to the Legislature: Implementation and Fiscal Impact of Innovation Schools for detailed information regarding the 47 approved innovation schools and innovation academies.

Legislative Reports

Last Updated: February 18, 2014

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