- The XQ Institute awarded $100 million to 10 schools around the country experimenting with nontraditional teaching and learning techniques as part of its Super School Project, funded by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
- The New York Times reports the Somerville Steam Academy in Massachusetts operates without standard class periods or grade levels, Rise High in Los Angeles is organized around the needs of students who are homeless or in foster care, and Brooklyn Laboratory Charter High School will have a nearly 9-hour long school day.
- While the 10 schools differ in location and design, they share a commitment to using personalized learning techniques that utilize technology and time to create rigorous learning environments for students.
Other schools that won the $10 million prize include the Washington Leadership Academy, which is giving all students the opportunity to learn chemistry in a virtual reality lab. Students at New Harmony High School in coastal Louisiana will take classes on a barge to study coastal erosion and in the New Orleans Superdome to study displacement and migration. And in Michigan, The Grand Rapids Public Museum High School will turn the museum into the school.
The nation is still trying to figure out what a good education looks like in the 21st century. Educators, policymakers and philanthropists know society has changed, as have expectations for students. It is now virtually impossible to earn a middle class living without a high school diploma, and a college degree is also increasingly necessary. What these 10 schools share are ideas that could make high school more engaging for all types of students, setting them on a path for college and successful careers.