Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today celebrated the opening of 26 new Innovation Schools in Massachusetts with students and staff at the newly converted Carlton Innovation School in Salem. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recognized district and school leadership for their bold innovation plan, which received a $45,000 Innovation School Implementation Grant from the state in August.
"I want to commend school leadership for taking on this ambitious innovation plan and the students for rising to the challenge that educational excellence demands," said Governor Patrick. "I am thrilled at the continued growth of the Innovation School initiative and wish all of the new schools opening this year a successful start."
"Innovation Schools are a new and exciting way for community members to build a school tailored to the unique needs of students," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "As we embark on another school year, the 26 new Innovation Schools across the state will help unleash the creativity of our teachers and empower our students to excel in and outside of the classroom."
A signature component of Governor Patrick's Achievement Gap Act of 2010, Innovation Schools are in-district, public schools that employ inventive strategies and creative approaches to education to accelerate student achievement while keeping school funding within districts. Innovation Schools can utilize greater autonomy and flexibility with regard to curriculum, staffing, budget, schedule/calendar, professional development and district policies. There are currently 44 Innovation Schools in operation in communities throughout Massachusetts.
In August, the Patrick-Murray Administration awarded $585,000 in Innovation School Implementation Grants to support the operation of 20 Innovation Schools that opened this fall, including the Carlton Innovation School in Salem. Funding for these implementation grants was made available as part of a total of $2 million in support from the state's successful Race to the Top proposal and additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation funding to the Executive Office of Education supports schools that utilize Innovation School flexibilities and autonomies, while also incorporating the elements of the Next Generation Learning Model - in particular, the inventive use of technology and real-time and ongoing student assessments.
"I am thrilled to celebrate the continued development of excellent new Innovation Schools statewide which will help ensure all students have access to the instruction and support we know they need to be successful students and lifelong learners," said Education Secretary Paul Reville.
"I applaud Governor Patrick and his Administration for their tireless efforts to close the achievement gap in our public schools, a major obstacle in the statewide effort to increase access to quality education for all students in Massachusetts, regardless of location or socioeconomic background," said Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. "The Carlton Innovation School joins the ranks of other innovation schools in Massachusetts that are already succeeding in providing creative, effective, and cost-efficient learning opportunities to students across the Commonwealth."
"The state's Innovation Schools program has allowed Salem's Carlton School to creatively look at ways to address the needs of our students and focus on effective methods to improve student achievement," said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. "I commend the important work of the Patrick-Murray Administration and Secretary Paul Reville in developing this program for communities across the state."
About Carlton Innovation School:
The Carlton Elementary School is a K-5 school serving approximately 235 students in Salem. In October 2011 the school was approved by its local school committee to re-open as the Carlton Innovation School this fall.
The school emphasizes an individual approach to teaching and learning designed specifically to better serve its student population. Students are placed in multi-age classrooms within team levels, as opposed to traditional grade levels and remain in the same classroom with the same teacher for up to two and one-half years, depending on the student's progress. Students poised to transition to the next team level are evaluated by their teacher three times per school year at trimester intervals before being permitted to progress to the next team level. The school has also added an optional forty minutes to the instructional day in the morning, making staff support available for students who arrive early for intervention groups in reading, writing and math.
These innovations in school structure and others in curriculum support the teaching and learning of each individual student and tailored instruction aims to improve student achievement outcomes for all students.
"As one of the Commonwealth's new Innovation Schools, the Carlton School and others across Massachusetts will have new opportunities for great success," said Senator Frederick Berry. "Thank you to the Patrick-Murray Administration, and congratulations to the Carlton School. I wish them the best of luck in this new school year."
"I would like to thank Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for their strong support of education and Innovation Schools," said State Representative John D. Keenan. "The Carlton School is an exciting example of how Innovation Grant Funds can energize public schools to allow for more creative models of learning. Carlton School students are thriving in their multi-age classrooms where the focus is on individualized learning and student advancement. This brings us closer to closing the achievement gap."
For more information on Innovation Schools, please visit http://www.mass.gov/edu/innovation-schools.html.