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:
Dr. Keith Look
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Launch
Start Date:
Fall 2013
Startup Type:
Complete Redesign

School: Bate Middle School and Danville High School
Grades Served: 6-12
Location: Danville, KY
Operator: Danville Independent Schools
Operator Type: District
Setting: Rural
Students Served: 900

Blended Model Type: Flex and A La Carte

Key Features: Competency-Based Model, Higher Education Partnership, Project-Based Learning

The Operator

Danville Independent Schools is a small district south of Lexington, KY with one middle school and one high school. The district was recognized as a District of Innovation in June 2013 by the state department of education, allowing for modifications and waivers from many state regulations and laws in order to test new approaches that could be adopted across Kentucky. The District of Innovation proposal was based on the district’s long-range Innovation Plan, developed over the previous four years, that has garnered significant community and school-level support. The Innovation Plan forms the basis for the complete redesign of the middle and high schools. Their grant-funded work focuses primarily on the high school.

The Academic Model

The model design utilizes Danville Schools’ existing middle school and high school facilities but transforms the learning experience for students in those schools to one that is competency-based, problem-based, and blended.

  • The model fulfills the five district goals of powerful learning experiences, global preparedness, growth for all, excellence in communication, and an informed and involved community.
  • The academic core in 6-10th grade is redesigned so that all students will meet state-set ACT benchmark scores by the end of 10th grade through a competency-based learning approach.
  • In 11th and 12th grades, students focus on advanced learning opportunities, project-based “Research & Analysis, Design, and Action Experiences,” internships and other community-based learning experiences.
  • A personalized learning and academic profile guides each student’s learning trajectory; schedules are custom-designed and flexible.

The Organizational Model

  • The full implementation of the redesign will unfold over three years, starting with new courses and performance tasks embedded in the school beginning in fall 2013.
  • In addition to classroom-based teachers, the instructional staff includes new positions of Success Coach (postsecondary liaison, college counselor, and personal learning pathway advisor), Interdisciplinary Learning Designer (specially certified teacher who designs challenging, engaging, real-world learning opportunities and courses), and Technology Integration Specialist (leader who builds vision and capacity for blended learning).
  • With thorough and conservative revenue assumptions and strong sustainability indicators, the financial model is positioned to be a best practice district-based model.
  • The district is supported in its efforts by the P20 Innovation Lab at the University of Kentucky, the Council of Chief State School Officer’s Innovation Lab Network, and other districts in Kentucky attempting various innovations.