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
World Class Schools logo
Primary Contact Name:
Joe Ableidinger
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Planning
Planned Start Date:
Fall 2015
Startup Type:
New School

Extending the reach of excellent teaching to all students

School: Lodestar Academy (Durham); Soundings Academy (Charlotte)
Grades Served: 6-12
Location: Durham & Charlotte, NC
Operator Type: Charter
Students at Opening: 200
Students at Capacity: 832

HALLMARK FEATURE: Opportunity culture for teachers

World Class Schools (WCS) is a new organization based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle dedicated to extending the reach of excellent teaching to all students and creating an "Opportunity Culture" for teachers. WCS is inspired by the path-breaking work of Public Impact (see

Research consistently shows that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor influencing student outcomes. The WCS model optimizes teachers' roles by using technology to personalize educational experiences through digital learning, and by efficiently channeling teachers' efforts toward meaningful engagement with students in their areas of greatest skill and deepest passion. Students will receive live in-person and remote instruction from excellent teachers across the WCS network, coupled with high-quality digital learning in a personalized, flexible model. And teachers will have opportunities to advance in their careers, and earn more, without leaving the classroom.

The model will evolve—rapidly and dramatically—as the quality of digital content and adaptive digital learning and assessment tools improves over time. This process of improvement will be guided by a new approach WCS is calling “SMART iteration:” Strategic, Manageable, Aligned, Rapid & Reflective, and Teacher-Led. School leaders and teachers will frequently analyze school and classroom-level practices and resource allocations, to build on what's working and fix what isn't—week-to-week or even day-to-day. One anticipated evolution in the learning model is a shift over time from fixed rotation blended learning to more flexible, personalized learning. Other unique features of WCS include ambitious plans for scale within clusters of schools, movement away from grade-level designations, rigorous internal accountability measures, and the ability to leverage partnerships with leading national and local education reform organizations.

Photo by jbarreiros, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons