In the Fall of 2014, the city of Oakland was awarded a Next Generation Learning grant to support the launch of innovative schools models across the city. The grant was placed under the stewardship of the Rogers Family Foundation, who hired Mastery Design Collaborative to co-design and lead facilitate the program that would ultimately serve the goals of the grant. The program was designed to answer the following challenge, “how might we catalyze transformational change and innovation in existing district and charter schools in Oakland?”

Our Approach

In partnership with the Rogers Family Foundation, MDC designed an 18 month program to support schools in designing new school models. We sequenced the program across three support phases. At each phase, a subset of schools was chosen to move on to the next phase and received funding to continue their transformation process.

Phase 1: Discovery

The goal of the discovery phase was to draw in a diverse range of schools to participate in the school redesign effort city wide. The discovery phase offered schools the opportunity to learn about new innovations in teaching and learning, ask questions, and explore new interests. Some schools discovered an interest in project based learning, others discovered the Maker movement, while some schools were inspired by student directed learning. The Discovery phase alone drew in the participation of over 30 schools across the city, charter and district, that served low-income families. At the conclusion of the discovery phase, 10 schools received grants of $60-10K to move onto the planning phase.

Phase 2: Planning

The goal of the planning phase was to give the time and space to reimagine and plan out a new school model. Schools assembled a 4-5 person design team and participated in a 9-month school design bootcamp, that today, looks similar to MDC’s Prototype and Transform programs combined. The bootcamp included in a series of design workshops, coaching from experts in the field, innovative school visits, and access to online design resources. The schools worked towards creating a School Redesign Blueprint, which laid our 3 year plan and roadmap for school transformation. School teams engaged students, families, and staff in creating their plans, and the program concluded with a presentation of their new school model to the community.

Phase 3: Launch

The goal of the launch phase was to provide schools with the capital and implementation supports to drive plans outlined in their School Redesign Blueprint. Six of ten schools from the original launch cohort were selected to participate in the launch phase, and each school received a $300-500K launch grant to support the work. Schools have used these funds to receive ongoing coaching support on their plans, purchase technology, curriculum, staff and furniture to build our their model, and measure their progress over time. Schools design teams have also been given access to MDC’s Pathway to Personalized Learning portal, which allows teachers to get certified in personalized learning competencies by completing online courses in PL. These courses have enabled schools to build up their staff’s capacity to adopt change.

Early Results

  • >100% of planning grants schools have implemented blended learning, leveraging digital content to provide targeted standards based instruction
  • On average, each planning grantee impacted at least 200 students with a new, personalized learning practice prototype
  • On average, 10 hours per week of instructional time per students was redesigned to provide greater personalization
  • Across all schools, classrooms that received personalized instruction demonstrated greater gains than non-personalized classrooms

What's Next

Today, all 6 launch grant winners have begun implementing their new school models outlined in their School Redesign Blueprint. 100% of these schools are on track with their implementation plans and engaged their broader staff in the change management effort. The Rogers Family Foundation has partnered with the national NGLC organization and the Center for Reinventing Education to study the schools’ implementation progress and their impact on student outcomes.