Innovation Study Visits

Why read about school innovation when you can watch it happen live?

Teachers, administrators and other education leaders are invited to visit classrooms, network with peers and experience a powerful and unique school culture where all adults collaborate to support, deepen and extend student learning, across their schools and into their communities.

Structure of Study Visits

Each study visit is designed to:

  • Demonstrate Redefined Professionalism, including the rounds model [link to instructional rounds blog post] of on-going school-based staff development.
  • Demonstrate aligned instructional strategies, interdisciplinary projects and community engagement within a context of inquiry and project-based learning, that support high levels of learning for all students;
  • Validate how restructured schools promote a school culture of teachers and students working together to improve college going-rates and success in life after high school;
  • Give participants the opportunity to analyze the school’s history, culture and classroom practice to deepen their understanding of high school innovation and create a stronger network of partner schools; and
  • Give participants structured time to plan implementation strategies and experience collaboration across the North Carolina New Schools network.

Schools Offering Visits in 2014 – 2015

  • Caldwell Early College High School, now in its ninth year of implementation, boasts high academic performance with no dropouts, high attendance rates and minimal teacher attrition. This school exhibits a culture of high expectations for all teachers to be learners, raising standards for students’ academic behaviors and deepening students’ understanding of content. CECHS emphasizes the development of strong relationships among staff and students, as well as the cultivation of a college-ready focus so that each student will expect and appreciate high academic challenges and develop habits of mind and heart to build affective and cognitive resilience.
  • Cross Creek Early College High School celebrates academic success with high academic performance and a strong AVID program. The school’s counselor, principal, assistant principal and instructional liaison know all of the students and their personal situations and are able to use this knowledge to work with their staff to leverage high academic and behavioral expectations. The school staff is focused on building a foundation of high academic expectations, the consistent use of aligned instructional strategies and critical feedback from application of the rounds model to improve instruction and learning.
  • Wayne School of Engineering (WSE) has made incredible progress in its seven years of implementation, graduating the school’s first senior class in 2011. As one of North Carolina New Schools’ original STEM-focused schools, the school has successfully established an autonomous culture on the campus of Goldsboro High School and has recently expanded to serve students in grades 6-12. WSE is a project-focused school with an engineering theme. The school exhibits highly engaging progressive pedagogy and a unique curriculum that includes: a community garden project developed through the earth science classes; a philosophy course for juniors and seniors; a composition course for freshmen that complements the regular English curriculum; and an issues-based science class for freshmen.

Testimonials from Participants

“Study visits to schools provide demonstrations of great teaching. They provide encouragement to teachers who want to be the best teachers and inspiration to teachers who are the best.” — Rebecca Payne, former director of STEM education and leadership, NC Department of Public Instruction.

“The learning environment here is truly first class. All the teachers were very capable and the students were impressive as a direct result of being in such a collaborative learning environment.” — Participant at the Wayne School of Engineering study visit

“This study visit was invaluable. The experience of the staff and the use of the NC New Schools vocabulary as it relates to the Design Principles made the processes so much clearer for me. I got the most out of the discussion groups with the teachers. The opportunity to do a mock schedule and see how the school sets up the day for success was really good too. This experience gave me lots of ideas for future planning.” — Participant at the Caldwell Early College study visit

“It was obvious that the staff at Cross Creek are fully immersed into the aligned instructional system. It was second nature to them and they modeled the strategies wonderfully. I’ll be sharing all the ideas with my principal and staff members – the consistency in this school is awesome and I can’t wait to talk with my school about it!” — Participant at the Cross Creek study visit

For more information

To learn more or to register for a two-day study visit, contact Isaac Lake at If you are a business leader, community member or school representative interested in participating in a one- to three-hour learning tour of a network school, email

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