Your Nominees for the World’s Most Transformational Learning Environments

I know most of us have already checked out for the year, but I wanted to share the nominees I’ve received so far in my ongoing search for the world’s most transformational learning environments.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve received recommendations either via Twitter or posted comments on this blog and/or Huffington Post. I’ve done my best to capture every recommendation I’ve received. If I missed yours, or if you have a new one to add, just post your comment and I’ll add it to the master list.

Keep in mind that this list, which features 58 nominees overall, merely aggregates what people have recommended. Of the nominees, 47 are schools or programs here in the United States: 9 public charter schools, 4 public charter school networks, 3 general networks, 13 public schools, 13 private schools, and 5 “others.” For the 11 international nominees, 6 could only be classified as “other” — an interesting contrast, I thought. In any case, see what you think, check them out at your leisure (and keep in mind the QED Transformational Change Model as a way of judging how transformational they are), and let’s all keep adding to the list.

Nominees for World’s Most Transformational Learning Environments

Categories: Learning, Organizational Change

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  1. Jara
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    nice list! Have you seen the list of transformative education by the schumacher college? It is in need of an update but still VERY valuable. check it out.

  2. David Marshak
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    A transformational school—Explorations Academy in Bellingham Washington;

    QED’s model focuses on personalization of learning, curiosity- and enthusiasm-based inquiry, learning in community, and education for social justice. This is a coherent post-modern paradigm. So the listing of “standards-based inquiry” under philosophy is inconsistent with the rest of the model. In fact, “standards-based inquiry” is an oxymoron. When one is engaged in genuine inquiry, standards are irrelevant. The standards for physics in 1900 would have informed Einstein that his theory of relativity was absurd.

  3. Posted January 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    A public pre K-12th grade school without grades or credits where the students hire their own teachers and administrators? Unthinkable? Incredible?
    No, such a school actually exists in Lakewood, Colorado at Jefferson County Open School. Check out my book about the alumni of this 42 year old “experiment” called Lives Of Passion, School of Hope at or my web site above.

  4. Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks Dr. Posner! Looks like a remarkable place, and as they say, perhaps the first public option school. I hope I get the chance to visit.

  5. Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    A nice piece of enterprise. I’ll mention on my blog and other sites.

  6. Posted January 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Hello there,
    I’d like to recommend Jasper Place High School in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for your list of transformative schools. We are a school of over 100 teachers and 2400 students, serving a wide ethnic and socio-economic community. Why are we transformative?
    -Diversity of programming- This allows for students to choose what interests them beyond the core subjects.
    – student-friendly curriculum. Students are are given the curriculm and use it to guide their studies through the learner outcomes. Students make their own rubrics based on their work and the curricular outcomes and this guides assessment
    – programs to meet the needs of all students: interactions, inclusive programming, K and E, STAR (Mental Health),
    – Commercial fishing license-Yep, we grow fish. Why is this great? The fish are used in Culinary Arts. The waste in CA is used to feed the worms. The worms feed the plants in the hydroponics unit with the fish AND our Permaculture garden. The plants in the garden are used in Culinary Arts. Biology and Chemistry are used in these cycles, and even art (we’re creating a living sculpture- a wire tree that supports hops vines).
    – Pow-Wow school. Our nearby reservations arranged so that instead of going to work for the summer, students were paid to go to school, helping to bridge the gap for many students.This took place on the reservation in August.
    – Connected arts programming. Students are able to work on projects at home and at school, and the projects are tied to events and community programs, including iHuman(arts programming for at risk youth), Latitude 53(contemporary art gallery), Global Youth Assembly, Homefest (part of the City of Edmonton’s 10 year plan to eradicate homelessness), and the Alberta Gallery of Art.
    – Global Cafe. A space within the school for students run by students. This space is for a variety of projects. We have a “living library” where community members are books and can be “signed out” to talk about what they are passionate about. It is a space for showcasing local talent, and for sharing presentations and projects.
    – Instructional Walk Through and Instructional Talk Through school- collaborating within and outside of the school by looking at best practices in teaching.
    -IPP’s (Individualized Program Plans)
    -Principal Advisory board. Students meet on a regular basis with the principal to determine what is working and what is not.
    -Dialogue about data drives instruction
    -School-within-a-school program for 2012- students are connected with a “set” of teachers, and allowed to program cross-curricular, out of the block-time schedule, personalized learning.
    -Finnish/Alberta partnership school. Looking at Finnish and Alberta teaching and programming and creating schools that are better than both current systems. Working with Dr. Dennis Shirley to move beyond “Educational Tourism”.
    I don’t know how much you want to hear, but this is really only a few of the highlights of what we are doing to make school great for all kids. Let me know what you think!

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