New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Primary Contact Name:

Award Date:
May 2014
Grant Type:
National Launch
Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:
New School

School: PACE High School
Grades Served: 9-12
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Operator: Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
Operator Type: Charter
Setting: Urban
Students at Start: 150
Students at Capacity: 600
Blended Model Type: Flex and A La Carte

Key Features: Competency-Based Learning, Project-Based and Experiential Learning, Early College and Dual Enrollment, Higher Education Partnership, College Readiness & Success

The Operator

Founded in 2004, Alliance is the largest charter management organization in Los Angeles, operating 22 middle and high schools that educate more than 10,000 low-income students. The mission is to open high-quality, college-prep schools in poor communities in Los Angeles with historically underperforming schools. Current Alliance schools—both traditional model schools and the ten schools using the BLAST blended learning model—send 95% of graduates to college, but college persistence rates (59% in college or graduated after five years) are not meeting Alliance’s expectations. The PACE High School model addresses three key challenges faced by Alliance alumni in college: insufficient academic rigor in high school, lack of self-direction and time management skills, and financial pressures.

The Academic Model

  • Self-pacing and mastery based progression through Common Core-aligned courses, California A-G college prep courses, and early college courses
  • Blended learning in core content classes combine self-paced progress through adaptive online digital content with targeted small group instruction
  • To strengthen 21st century learning skills, Forum is a daily independent learning period where students choose whether to spend their time on additional academic support, study groups, online courses, or Capstone projects
  • Students have the opportunity to complete up to one year of college during high school through online and in-person courses offered by Los Angeles Harbor College and California State University Dominguez Hills

The Organizational Model

  • PACE Advisory Board includes faculty from Los Angeles Harbor College and Alliance to ensure alignment between high school and college curriculum Partnership with online courses
  • Forum requires two large open spaces in the school facility with moveable furniture to accommodate up to 150 students working on a variety of projects
  • With the addition of college instructors teaching college courses, the staffing model requires fewer full-time high school teachers
  • Los Angeles Harbor College courses cost $9,000 per course, Young Scholars courses cost $3.50 per student per course