Tag Archives: innovation school

A Glimpse at New Schools: Math and Science Leadership Academy

After the Colorado Independent brought attention to Denver’s Math and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA) on Friday, I decided it was turn to shine the light on a brick-and-mortar school that is unique for one reason: no principal. No principal, you say? That has to be good, right? When I throw spit wads at the kid next to me, whose office are they going to send me to? Right? Okay, okay, I can stop being goofy for a few minutes. MSLA is not a charter school but an innovation school. The school’s founders had to ask for waivers from state law that would allow it to operate with two “lead teachers” instead of a principal. Teachers evaluate each other through a peer review system. Located in southwest Denver, it’s a K-5 elementary school with a “primary focus” on “science, technology, and mathematics.” MSLA opened its doors this year to students in kindergarten through second grade. Parents who are interested can go to the school’s website for more information on admissions.

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Best Wishes for Students in DCTA's New Math & Science Leadership Academy

I don’t have time for a long post today. But my Education Policy Center friends wanted to let you know that they have only well wishes for the success of Denver’s new innovation school (not really a traditional district school, not really a charter): Math and Science Leadership Academy. The school is going to be run by teachers through the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), the local union. The outgoing DCTA president Kim Ursetta explains on her blog some of the reaction that the new school is getting because DCTA is taking the unusual step of not having a principal: In talking to some administrators (central and building) today, they still don’t understand what we’re trying to do. One principal said, “Yeah, but who is the administrator?” Another said, “Good luck with your charter school.” My favorite is the principals who asked what I’ll be doing now, and I tell them about the school. They just stared… and walk away. I didn’t know that math and science, to start, was THAT out of the box. Unorthodox? Yes. But I hope for the academic and all-around well-being of the students who are enrolled to attend there, that the teachers there find […]

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Innovation Pioneers Manual & Montclair Win DPS Backing, Move to State Board

When I say “Top o’ the mornin” to you today, I really mean it. Good news! What is it, you say? Yesterday I hoped out loud that the Denver Public Schools board would make the right decision about the state’s first two “innovation school” proposals. Well, sometimes your hopes and dreams do come true. At least, so reports Rebecca Jones for Ed News Colorado: By a 4-3 vote, the board agreed to forward the proposals from Manual High School and Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment on to the state Board of Education, which will consider the requests on Thursday. If approved – and state officials have already indicated they feel the schools’ proposals are in order – Manual and Montclair will be given broad leeway to waive district policies and union contract provisions on everything from staffing to scheduling to teacher compensation. They will have many of the same freedoms as charter schools, but unlike charter schools, will still be directly accountable to the DPS board. On the fast track for the world of education, the waiver requests from Manual and Montclair are scheduled to go before the State Board of Education later this week. After (hopefully) receiving approval […]

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