New data takes stock of how COVID and the sudden shift to remote learning have impacted progress toward school innovation

Across the country, redefining the status quo has become the status quo for K–12 schools. Wide-scale remote and hybrid learning, mask-wearing culture, and “pods” all fall outside the bounds of what most of us imagined as mainstream schooling before this year.

But despite how schools all face a similar set of challenges, innovation towards new solutions—especially student-centered ones—can be a surprisingly lonely endeavor. Many of the leaders and educators responsible for designing and implementing new approaches are left asking: hasn’t anyone done this before? And how do I find out?

Related content: 9 innovation tips for pioneering schools

The Canopy project aims to make those questions easier to answer. Last year, the project focused on surfacing a diverse set of innovative schools and documenting the practices they were implementing.

Now, the Christensen Institute and Transcend have teamed up, along with dozens of other Canopy project contributors, to ensure that up-to-date knowledge about school innovation is accessible and useful to the people who need it most this year: school leaders and design teams.

Across the country, redefining the status quo has become the status quo for K–12 schools. Wide-scale remote and hybrid learning, mask-wearing culture, and “pods” all fall outside the bounds of what most of us imagined as mainstream schooling before this year.

But despite how schools all face a similar set of challenges, innovation towards new solutions—especially student-centered ones—can be a surprisingly lonely endeavor. Many of the leaders and educators responsible for designing and implementing new approaches are left asking: hasn’t anyone done this before? And how do I find out?

The Canopy project aims to make those questions easier to answer. Last year, the project focused on surfacing a diverse set of innovative schools and documenting the practices they were implementing.

Now, the Christensen Institute and Transcend have teamed up, along with dozens of other Canopy project contributors, to ensure that up-to-date knowledge about school innovation is accessible and useful to the people who need it most this year: school leaders and design teams.

What’s new in the Canopy project this year

New and updated data: Recognizing that knowledge about how schools are innovating is more scarce—and more necessary—than usual this year, the project conducted a rapid-cycle round of crowdsourcing among Canopy nominating organizations, resulting in new data from August and September. The Canopy dataset now features recent information from 130 schools in total, including 78 schools that had not been included previously. All data, including last year’s, can still be downloaded freely.

New innovative practices: Like last year, Canopy data about each school includes the full set of practices that school leaders report implementing, using consistent terminology and definitions. This year, we added new practices to the mix, including some that describe the logistics of learning during COVID-19, like fully remote, hybrid, and fully in-person modalities, as well as a few other important additions suggested by schools and advisors. Each school’s profile also displays up to five practices that leaders reported as “core” to the school’s model, and how long the school has been implementing each one.

Interactive data portal with individual school profiles: The interactive portal makes it easy to search for schools based on characteristics like geography, demographics, and innovative practices. Visitors can also navigate to an individual profile page for each school that participated in the project this fall. Each profile displays a public contact for the school, allowing visitors to reach out directly.

Detailed implementation resources: Transcend is leading the charge to connect Canopy schools’ profiles to more robust, detailed resources showing how the school implements its innovative model.

What we’re learning from the data so far

In addition to making it easier to find schools and learn about their unique models, the Canopy project also offers another advantage for leaders, researchers, funders, and advocates for school innovation: insight into patterns and trends across the whole “forest” of Canopy schools.
source: Read More, eSchool News

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