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:
Claire Fisher
Award Date:
March 2016
Grant Type:
Regional Launch
Start Date:
Fall 2016
Startup Type:
Complete Redesign

School: Urban Promise Academy
Grades Served: 6-8
Location: Oakland, CA
Operator: Oakland Unified School District
Operator Type: District
Setting: Urban
Students: 384

Blended Model Types: Station Rotation, Flipped Classroom and Individual Rotation

Key Features: Competency-Based Learning, Project-Based and Experiential Learning, Community Partnerships, Social-Emotional Development

The Operator

Oakland Unified School District is a public education school district that operates about 100 elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in Oakland, California. Its mission is to build a Full Service Community District focused on high academic achievement while serving the whole child, eliminating inequity, and providing each child with excellent teachers, every day.

The Academic Model

Urban Promise Academy strives for high academic achievement and growth, social emotional well-being for all school members, and strong community collaboration. The academic model focuses on three high-leverage strategies:

  • Social-emotional learning: Daily Crew (advisory) classes help students expand their self-knowledge, growth mindset, and relational skills; Academic curriculum links directly to habits of success and goal-setting.
  • Personalized Learning Time: The school’s instructional model helps students be self-sufficient learners. Using the Summit Basecamp model in 6th and 7th grade, students work at their own pace through a series of content skills, teachers pull small groups to provide tailored, timely instruction.
  • Project-based learning: Project time is when students focus on creating projects with their peers to master cognitive skills. Many of the key focus areas are reinforced through project work.

6th Grade Basecamp

The Organizational Model

  • Flexible staffing to support an inclusion model
  • Block schedules with mentor time on Wednesdays
  • 1-to-1 use of computers
  • Family Engagement has always been strong at UPA, but the school is extending this by empowering families to learn how to use technology to support their children.

Project Time during Basecamp

Learn more about the NGLC Regional Fund for Breakthrough Schools program that supported these grantees by visiting the NGLC in Oakland grant page.