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MOU between school, district, and union local + Waiver from state statute

The Math and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA) in Denver, which opened in 2009, has an MOU with the teachers union, through the Denver Public Schools school board, to have a lead teacher instead of a principal. Denver Public Schools also, specifically for MSLA, requested and received a waiver from the state of Colorado so the lead teacher has autonomy to manage the school, deal with suspensions, and do teacher evaluations. De facto the lead teacher approves decisions made collectively by MSLA teachers. This model was replicated by the Denver Green School in 2010.

After MSLA was first approved, Colorado enacted the Innovation Schools Act of 2008. The Act allows a public school or group of public schools to submit an innovation plan to its school district board of education to implement innovations that "result in improved student outcomes". Once approved, school district boards of education must submit the innovation plans and waiver requests to the Colorado State Board of Education for ratification.

Schools With This Arrangement

Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy

Science, technology, and mathematics. Teachers have elected to use the district adopted curriculum and are able to modify it for their needs (they have a Science, Technology, and Math focus).