Innovative Public Schools

All the school on this list are ones that I know personally. If you know of others that you think are deserving please share using the comments box. These are all schools that, at least as of my last contact, are exemplars of public progressive education in the democratic spirit.


Anzar High School
“We educate all high school students in a safe, challenging, and equitable environment, in partnership with families and our culturally-rich community, by engaging students in real-world problem solving, meeting the state standards, demonstrating their ability to think, and actively continuing their education, in order to become responsible members of a global society. The staff will act a an effective team while making school-wide decisions, undertaking administrative tasks, developing and implementing curriculum in a collaborative manner, following the communication guidelines, and pursuing professional growth.”

Central Park East Elementary School
1573 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029
CPE was founded by educational reformer and innovator Deborah Meier in 1973 and now 40 years later is still going strong. Based on progressive open classroom principles, it has had what some would call miraculous success serving largely Latino and African-American students in East Harlem. David Bensman’s Book Central Park East and It’s Graduates tells the story of what makes this school so special.

Graciela Garcia Elementary School
1002 W Juan Balli Rd.
Pharr, Texas  78577956-354-2790
Garcia Elementary is a Dual Immersion school serving mostly low-income Latino students that uses active thematic instruction where “children, parents, and the community are actively involved in the learning process. Students [are] surrounded by and environment that will challenge and encourage all students to become creative independent thinkers.”


High Tech High
2861 Womble Road
San Diego, California 92106-6025
“The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High Charter School is a bold innovation in public education. Launched in September 2000 by an industry and educator coalition, High Tech High (HTH) occupies a newly designed learning space at the former Naval Training Center (NTC) in San Diego. A small, diverse learning community with a current enrollment of 452 students, HTH is founded on three design principles: personalization, adult-world connection, and a common intellectual mission. Innovative features include performance-based assessment, commom planning time, state-of-the-art technical facilities for project-based learning, internships for all students, and close links to the high tech workplace.


The International High School
31-10 Thomson Avenue
Long Island City, N.Y. 11101
718 482-5455
International is a small, multicultural high school whose mission is to prepare English
Language Learners for college. Students develop their academic and English
skills by completing individual and group research and projects.


June Jordan School for Equity
325 La Grande Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112
“As a school for social justice serving a largely working-class, Latino and African-American student population, the mission of JJSE is not just to prepare students for college, but also to prepare our graduates to be agents of positive change in the world.”


The Met (High School)
362 Dexter Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02907
(401) 752-3400
“The Met is a small public high school open to all students in Rhode Island.  We educate one student at a time, so each student’s curriculum is determined by his or her unique interests, background, and learning styles.  All students work on projects in real-world settings related to their interests and develop strong relationships with teachers and project mentors.  The Met enrolls families, not just students.  We have a very diverse student body, and every Met graduate has been accepted to college.  Learn more from the Met Portfolio, the book One Kid at a Time, and the video Learning Journeys.”


MetWest (High School)
314 East 10th Street
Oaklnad, CA  94606
“MetWest is one of forty public high schools around the country pioneering a model of internship-based education MetWest?s 9th-12th graders travel to the campus from all corners of Oakland. The school?s approach to learning is grounded in a commitment to educate one student at a time, in a tight-knit community of peers, family, teachers, and community mentors ? utilizing resources inside and outside the classroom.”


Mission Hill (K-8)
67 Alleghany Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02120
(617) 635 6384 Fax (617) 635 6419
Mission Hill was founded by the innovative educator Deborah Meier in 1997.
“The Mission Hill School is a Boston Pilot school, serving children in grades K-8. We are a small community, with approximately 170 students. Classrooms consist of no more than 20 students, and are multi-age; most children spend two years with the same teacher.”


Oasis Charter Public School (K-8)
404 Lincoln Ave
Salinas, California 93901
Phone: 831-424-9003 Fax : 831-424-9005
Oasis is a new small charter school in Salinas, California. It’s teaching is based on a strong constructivist multicultural curriculum and uses multi-aged classroom settings.


Urban Academy (High School)
317 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10021
“Urban Academy Laboratory High School features a rigorous academic, college-oriented curriculum that encourages students to explore and discuss ideas, conduct research, and debate and evaluate information. Seminar-style classes, field trips, participation in community service and the opportunity to take classes from selected institutions of higher education are central to the school’s program. Work is assessed by demonstration of college level skills in social science research, literary analysis, application of mathematical skills, creative arts, application of the scientific method, and art criticism. The school is a New American High School and a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.”


Vanguard High School

317 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10021
“Vanguard High School focuses on helping students become intellectually powerful, creative, and resourceful members of society. Its goal is to ensure that students develop skills for lifelong learning. The school emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to learning through such themes as law and the environment. Vanguard is a community of learners committed to becoming literate, articulate, analytic, reflective, responsible, empathetic, and collaborative. The school is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools and uses performance-based assessment to measure student achievement.”


Voices College Bound Language Academy (Elementary)
“Voices will prepare all students for the challenges of higher education through the context of an academically rigorous dual-language program. In addition we will ensure students demonstrate high academic achievement and apply critical thinking skills while making sense of their role within their own culture and the greater society.”

If you know of other schools  you think should be on this list, please share!

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