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.

Learn More
Primary Contact Name:
Hannah Williams
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Startup Type:
New School
Not operating

Find learning everywhere


School: Out of the Box Learning Studio
Grades Served: 6-12
Location: Seattle, WA
Operator: New CMO
Operator Type: Charter
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 40
Students at Capacity: 160

HALLMARK FEATURE: Student-directed, self-paced media arts-based learning cycles

The model for Out of The Box Learning Studio reimagines almost everything about “school:” the role of the teacher, what and where a classroom is, what constitutes curriculum, the purpose of technology and its role in learning, and how proficiency is conceived, demonstrated, and accounted for. In this student self-directed model, each student’s Individual Learning Plan will serve as the roadmap for their learning, anchored by that student’s passions and wonderings. Standards will become the skills to master, refine, surpass, and then redefine through problem-solving and deep inquiry. The “Home Base” extended learning team of one teacher and 15-20 students will stay together throughout their time at Out of the Box Learning Studio.

Through “Home Base,” students will engage in two-week learning cycles of activities designed, proposed, and facilitated by both teachers and students that are adapted and extended as their inquiry unfolds. These interdisciplinary experiences will be grounded in the media arts. Utilizing a blended-learning approach, students will work individually with online content to develop and practice math and literacy skills that are related to their learning activities while the teacher works one-on-one or with small groups of students. Learning can happen anytime, anyplace; community resources will help make learning relevant for students and students can help impact meaningful change in their community.

The learning is documented in and reflected upon through a digital portfolio, a knowledge map, digital badges, a personal blog, and other media arts projects. The studio also takes a self-paced competency-based learning approach, and after each learning cycle, a “Next Move Team” works with students individually to figure out what they will do next.

Part of the school’s broader mission, augmented through the Puget Sound Consortium for Secondary Innovation, is to serve as a laboratory for teachers and school leaders interested in transitioning to a student-centered blended learning model.