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Aurora Institute

Innovation Zones: How State Leaders Generate Space for Transformation

Education Domain Blog

Authors: Dale Frost

Issues: State Policy, Create Pilots and Innovation Zones


 

For states beginning their journeys to student-centered learning, a powerful strategy that policymakers can start with is to create space for local educators to lead this transformation with innovation zones.

Innovation zones offer school districts a way to request waivers or exemptions from regulations and statutes to implement groundbreaking learning environments. They enable state leaders to identify outdated policies and regulations that can impede these innovative educators from meeting the needs of every student.

Innovation zones also help to change the relationship between school districts and state departments of education from one based largely on compliance to one involving support of school districts and building their capacity. Innovation zones are also known as “districts of innovation” or “schools of innovation.”

To help state policymakers enact effective innovation zone policies, we’ve published an updated issue brief today, Innovation Zones: Creating Policy Flexibility for Competency-Based, Personalized Learning, highlighting how the following seven states or localities have approached innovation zones statutes and regulations:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New York City
  • North Dakota

For more information, download the iNACOL issue brief, Innovation Zones: Creating Policy Flexibility for Competency-Based, Personalized Learning, and access related issue briefs here:

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Dale Frost is State Policy Director at iNACOL.


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