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The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) inspires and scales innovation and excellence in Kentucky’s public schools, resulting in a better future for all of our children. Here on our blog, we share about our work in a more in depth manner. Blog posts are written by staff members, teachers we work with, board members and others.

The Fund believes in unlocking the unique potential of every student by spreading innovative ideas, shining a spotlight on transforming teacher leadership, and driving sustainable change that will increase academic achievement for all students in Kentucky’s public education system.

Thank you for your consideration and visiting our blog. If you share in our vision of an innovative education culture, we welcome the opportunity to partner with you. Please visit our website at www.thefundky.org for more information.

Barbara Bellissimo

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#InnovateEd2015: Alternative School Models

By: Amanda Riley

This blog is part one in a four part mini-blog series designed to increase awareness around four issue areas that attendees will work on at the Innovate: Education Summit on February 25, 2015. Join us as we bring together key leaders in the business and education communities to work on:
  • Exploring Alternative School Models
  • Bridging the Communications Gap between Business and Education
  • Incorporating Soft Skills into "College and Career Ready": What Do Our Students Need to Know?
  • Preparing Our Students for Jobs of the Future: How Can We Prepare Them If We Don't Even Know What Those Jobs Will Be?
Today's mini-blog highlights Alternative School Models. 

When the public hears about alternative school models, so often what comes to mind is a negative picture of the nearest neighborhood school designed for habitually misbehaving students or a dismissive opinion on the possibility of charter schools. The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) recognizes the need for such 'alternative' schools but would like to move forward in championing the concept of Alternative School Models as a positive concept centered around such ideas as teacher-led schools, internship-focused schools and community schools.

By offering #InnovateEd2015 attendees the opportunity to explore what Alternative School Models might mean in the future, The Fund is leading the conversation in a positive direction. One of the most promising concepts in this field is the idea of Teacher Led Schools. This article from US News in September 2014 showcases a school in Maryland without principals. What a concept! 

Teacher-led schools offer a variety of opportunities for teachers to lead. The Avalon School in Maryland "is a democratically-run, teacher-operated school without a principal, leaving the faculty and staff to vote on all aspects of school operations." Other schools showcased in the same article offer teacher leadership opportunities in other avenues, but the most important thing here is that teachers have taken ownership of the education system in these schools, offering better student outcomes.

The article goes on to state that "Studies have shown that school leadership is second only to teaching among factors that can affect student learning, particularly in disadvantaged schools that need it most. Having a solid leader or group of leaders at the helm of a school, therefore, can be a crucial part of the students’ experience." 

Teacher-led schools are only one positive example of the Alternative School Model concept. What others are you aware of or would you like to bring to the table at #InnovateEd2015? 

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