The Getting Smart team visits hundreds of schools each year and is grateful for the opportunity to see high-quality teaching and learning in action. This page features stories and lists of schools that share best practices, lessons learned and next-gen teaching practices that support high-quality, personalized, project-based learning for all students.

Middle & High Schools

When visiting middle and high schools there are so many things to lookout for. Effective PBL, career pathways, environment — based on a couple thousand school visits, and with help from colleagues and readers, we’ve compiled this list of middle and high schools worth visiting.

Elementary & Middle Schools

elementary schools worth visiting

Elementary and middle schools are some of our favorite places to be. We love getting to meet the teachers, learners and administration at each building and soaking up the many essential lessons from these inspiring peers. We’ve compiled this list of elementary and middle schools worth visiting.

Montessori: The Secret Is Out

In the dual worlds where I live - part Montessori mom and part education innovation advocate - it’s been really exhilarating to see these worlds begin to collide.

Summit Denali: 12 Components of an NGLC Winning Design

The innovative Bay Area school network is a pioneer in blended and competency based learning. CEO Diane Tavenner launched Summit Prep, the organization's flagship school, a decade ago. With each new school, Diane and her talented team continue to innovate on the secondary school model. Here's the ingredients of the current blend:

Leading for Powerful Learning: Observations & Pictures from Danville

The pictures attached tell a great story! The first three are from Bate where students created furniture from cardboard. Talk about something that required thinking ...WOW! What's also really cool about this is that the kids have included their original design sketches and plans with the furniture, so you can really see their thinking processes.

Next-Gen Schools Thriving in Detroit

Getting Smart isn’t new to sharing good news from Detroit, but recently, as part of a joint trip with Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) and CEE-Trust, a couple members of our team were lucky enough to return to the city.
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A Maker Makeover for Public Education

MakerSpace team members are "die hard advocates of public education" and are completely immersed in a revolution from within. The MakerSpace ideas started flowing about four years ago when six 10th grade teachers were awarded an ARRA grant to create an integrated project-based block for 100 students.

Joy & Rigor: The And-Both Solution

Is it possible to create a high-engagement school where students do interesting and relevant work and meet high expectations? Erin Mote and Eric Tucker are a smart duo developing Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School (LAB) and they think the answer is decidedly YES.

EPiCC Academy: An In-Flight Blended Learning Update

Resting sturdily on “Endless Possibilities in Creativity and Collaboration,” the goal of E.P.i.C.C. Academy is to provide all students with engaging, innovative, and shared learning experiences that transcend the boundaries of a brick-and-mortar classroom.
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Piedmont City Schools Re-Imagines the Future for Rural Students

Piedmont City School District is not a big city story but instead proves that all of our kids deserve better conditions for learning and to be fully prepared to enter this 21st century world, regardless if they live in the city or in a “harder to reach” rural area.

Developing Life-long Leaders in the Elementary Grades

The NGLC Launch Grant has positioned Ingenuity Prep in the right position to grow and scale success. It seems rare to see new schools starting with preschoolers with the intention to bring them through their entire PreK-12 career. It may be rare, but it feels very logical.