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:
Lori Nazareno
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Planned Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:
New School

Cultivating teacher leadership, supporting teacher-led breakthrough model schools

Planned School: Tacoma Academy of Arts and Technology (TAAT)
Grades Served: K-8
Location: Tacoma, WA
Operator: Center for Teaching Quality
Operator Type: Nonprofit
School Type: District
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 120
Students at Capacity: 360

HALLMARK FEATURE: Teacher-led model

The Center for Teaching Quality, a national nonprofit that works with current and aspiring teacher leaders, will support the launch of TAAT, a teacher-led breakthrough model school. The academic model will be student-centered, with a self-paced and mastery-based curriculum that optimizes project-based and blended learning. In this model, the teacher serves as a learning architect for students, as students take on more responsibility for developing their projects and plan for meeting Common Core State Standards as they mature. Both the arts and technology will be platforms for students to learn key competencies, which include English Language Arts and mathematics content knowledge, design thinking, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and persistence/tenacity. The learning environment of the school will involve flexible space with up to 60 students either engaged in small-group activities directly with the teachers or working independently on their project or self-paced online instructional activities.

In partnership with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity, CTQ will prepare at least one TAAT teacher to be certified as a CCSS assessor, prepared to  develop embedded performance assessments tied to the Common Core and able to support his or her peers in developing the same expertise. In addition, CTQ will utilize its virtual community of teacher leaders, the CTQ Collaboratory, to codify a curriculum for cultivating teacher leaders who can launch breakthrough model school designs, and ultimately spread teacher-led breakthrough model school ideas from community to community.

Photo credit: USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory