learn / 2015

The Incubator School: Designing the High School of Tomorrow Today

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by The Incubator School

The Incubator School will build on our playbook for entrepreneurship education by developing a high school and an evaluation model that meet the needs of 21st Century students, families, and communities. Outcomes include a detailed plan for an innovative school that can function within the constraints of staffing and budget faced by other urban schools, and an evaluation system for on-going feedback and improvement. Both will be developed and piloted in 2016 and expanded in 2017.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Westside
  • LAUSD

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • District-wide graduation rates
  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed
  • Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)
  • Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

We will use this funding to build and implement two products: (1) A complete overview of a high school model, focused on cultivating entrepreneurial skills and mindsets; (2) A comprehensive evaluation and learning system for grades 6-12

The high school model will build on our innovative middle grades design, allowing us to continue testing and refining our practices as we add one grade per year. Our oldest cohort of students is currently in 9th grade; this grant will support piloting of core elements in the spring of their 9th grade year and fall of their 10th grade year, as well as the development of the full 9-12 arc.

Our design requirements are twofold- extending and deepening elements of our existing model to meet the needs of older adolescents and creating new programs specific to high school students. Extensions include: entrepreneurship education, blended learning, outside mentors and experts, social-emotional learning. High School Specific Components will be: Individual Impact Projects, early access to college level courses, internships in exponential careers.

Students at all grade levels at Incubator School participate in Impact Projects, the learning design that best encapsulates our approach: rigorous design challenges which provide a context for applying knowledge and skills to real-world problems.

A major goal of all of these experiences will be to help students develop the skills and abilities needed for the “Exponential Careers” that are projected to be highest need in our local and national economy.

Our second grant outcome, an evaluation and learning system, will differ from traditional evaluation systems in several ways: o Explicit focus not just on external reporting but on generating data for internal learning and improvement; o Balance of traditional school success indicators with measures of the process and impact of unique design elements; o Methods to document high-impact practices for incorporation in the playbook and other forms of dissemination within LA County and beyond.

At a minimum, the evaluation and learning system will include:·
o A portfolio of success metrics to both meet accountability requirements and measure our unique mission. o Annual surveys of key constituents; o Data templates for collecting and analyzing administrative, survey, and achievement data; o Documentation of key model components o Template for Annual Report

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

An evaluation and learning system is one of our two grant deliverables. Metrics for the two deliverables: (1) High school model Key components in place by December 2016: i. Curriculum arcs, including tools for evaluating and providing feedback on student learning ii. Plan for implementing internships iii. Extension of advisory program to cover older teen issues and post high school transition iv. Development of model for implementing individual impact project program for select middle school and all high school students v. Passes peer review by advisory board of high school design thought leaders vi. Student achievement data (short run) and post-high school success data (long run). (2) Evaluation and learning system i. Portfolio of success metrics developed and approved by full Governing Council by March 2016 ii. Constituent surveys developed and piloted May 2016 iii. Full annual report template approved by Governing Council by December 2016.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research