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:
Andrea Kunst
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:
Complete Redesign

Bringing learning to a new level through physical activity

School: Boston Day and Evening Academy 2.0
Grades Served: 9-12 (ungraded)
Location: Boston, MA
Operator: Boston Day and Evening Academy
Operator Type: Charter
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 480
Students at Capacity: 600

HALLMARK FEATURE: Adventure-based leadership training

Boston Day and Evening Academy (BDEA), a Horace Mann Charter School, is an innovative, year-round high school with a unique mission: to serve students who are over-age for grade level and who are either at high risk for dropping out or have already dropped out of high school. The student-centered, competency-based teaching and assessment practice blends strong academics with wrap-around supports to inspire critical and creative thinking, independent learning, and active citizenship.

Building on its student centered, high expectations, competency-based (self-paced and mastery-based credit) model, BDEA intends to redesign itself into BDEA 2.0 by incorporating these additional strategies:

  • First, BDEA will partner with Project Adventure to incorporate its adventure-based experiential education approach into the BDEA academic model, promoting healthy social-emotional development and 21st century skills.
  • Second, ten to fifteen minute “Brain Breaks” of physical activity will occur before and after core courses. This physical activity throughout the day (or evening) is designed to optimize the learning experience and improve motivation, mood, and overall well-being. The physical activity complements a healthy lifestyle curriculum, including healthy eating.
  • Third, BDEA will create a blended learning environment by incorporating technology-delivered instruction with face-to-face and experiential instruction in its five core courses: Humanities, Math, Science, Adventure, and Technology. The flipped classroom and station rotation blended models will be used to promote a more cost-effective and responsive competency-based curriculum.

Small group projects, group-based learning, and development of collaborative interpersonal skills will be integral to these new model features. During the experiential “Project Month,” students focus deeply on a single topic and present their project to the school and broader community on Symposium night.

BDEA envisions scale through knowledge and model-sharing with other alternative Boston Public Schools, with schools in Project Adventure’s network, and through its Responsive Education Alternatives Lab (REAL) summer institute for educators.