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Pilot school agreements (Boston and Los Angeles)

In 1994, Boston Public Schools designed “pilot schools” in an effort to retain teachers and students after the Massachusetts legislature passed a state chartering law in 1993. Under the pilot agreement, the BPS Superintendent delegates authority to pilot schools’ governing boards to try new and different means of improving teaching and learning in order to better serve at-risk urban students. The potential exists for the boards to informally transfer that decision-making authority to the group of teachers at the school. Some boards have done this, to varying degrees.

In 2007, the United Teachers of Los Angeles and the surrounding community launched the Belmont Zone of Choice, modeled after Boston Pilot Schools. After initial success, UTLA “overwhelmingly” voted to expand the number of schools in 2009. In 2010 a new Kennedy Zone of Choice emerged and in 2013 a third option opened in the Sotomayor Zone of Choice. In 2015, there are now 18 Zones of Choice that house small school options for students including 50 pilot schools in Los Angeles. Some of these pilot schools have chosen to have teacher-powered school governance structures.

All Boston Pilot Schools take part in a network led by the Center for Collaborative Education. CCE provides schools with coordination support and assistance, including coaching services, professional development, advocacy, and research and evaluation. CCE was also involved in the development of Los Angeles’s pilot model.

As part of this work, CCE developed the Five Conditions of Autonomy for schools that are espoused in both the Boston and Los Angeles pilot school agreements (memorandums of understanding, or MOUs), which are arranged between the school district and the union. The five conditions include: staffing, budget, curriculum & assessment, governance, and school calendar. In addition to the MOU, teachers at each Boston and Los Angeles pilot school collectively write an Elect to Work Agreement (EWA) for their site on an annual basis that outlines the working conditions at the school. In Los Angeles, these EWAs are also approved by their union, UTLA. This is a means to exercise more autonomy at the school level, at the will of the teachers.

The EWA is voted on by the teachers at the site, and teachers who do not agree to work under the conditions will enter the district’s hiring pool and default to the working conditions outlined in the existing collective bargaining agreement.

Schools With This Arrangement

Social Justice Humanitas Academy

In the Social Justice Humanitas Academy, we treat each of our students as individuals, and we teach to their diverse learning needs. We prepare each and every one of our students to get to and through college, in an effort to increase their social capital. Our curriculum combines the lessons from th...

Boston Teachers Union School

The BTU School teaches a broad curriculum, with a focus on integrated, thematic units. Students receive instruction in English, mathematics, science, history, geography, Spanish language, the arts, and physical education.

Studio Middle School

The Studio School inspires students to strive for academic and creative achievement and excellence by means of the Renaissance model of Studio work in which authentic work and learning are integrated. A Studio School middle level education, with its emphasis on inquiry, problem solving and creativi...

UCLA Community School (UCS)

UCLA Community School is an innovative K-12 learning environment that prepares all students for college, work, and civic participation. The instructional program is community-based, learner-centered, and university-assisted. Building on the strengths of the local neighborhood, the school is bilingu...

Dr. Julian Nava Learning Academy (JNLA)

The mission of JNLA is to nurture students who are intrinsically motivated to prepare themselves for college and their future careers. By integrating relevant thematic units and real world applications through an emphasis on developing artistic talent and exploring multicultural studies, students wi...

Fenway Pilot High School

Teachers develop their own lesson plans, projects and materials to give students “multiple points of entry” to the curriculum. In other words, teachers use different modes of instruction e.g., lecture, project-based learning, small group discussion, individual research and writing so that every ...

Another Course to College

The curriculum in all academic courses is rigorous, and designed to prepare students for four-year colleges. Classes are heterogeneously grouped and the academic expectations are the same for all students. Students have the option of taking any course as an Honors course by meeting additional req...

Esteban Torres

Esteban E. Torres High School consists of 5 independent schools/academies: Performing Arts, Social Justice, Engineering and Technology, Humanities, and Renaissance.

Boston Arts Academy

To be a true artist, one must also be a scholar. The academic curricula at Boston Arts Academy prepare a diverse community of aspiring artist-scholars to be successful in their college or professional careers and to be engaged members of a democratic society. In addition to specializing...

Mission Hill K-8 School

Learning program is based on John Dewey and W.E.B. Du Bois’ ideas that we learn from experiences. Learning is a continual process. We’re always learning, regardless of age. Focus is on how to foster opportunities for learning, leadership, and citizenship for both students and adults.

East LA Renaissance Academy

ELARA is a Pilot School, an innovative model developed in a collaboration of LAUSD, UTLA, and the LA Small Schools Center. It is a result of LAUSD’s Public School Choice program, year one, and won its place at Torres in a public competition. The campus itself is the result of years of community ac...

ArTES (Art, Theater, and Entertainment School)

The Art, Theater, and Entertainment School (ArTES) has been granted increased autonomy by LAUSD to inspire and celebrate innovation. ArTES employs the power of technology to engage learning, and every student here has an iPad. ArTES is a school that develops meaningful relationships between students...

School of History and Dramatic Arts

The School of History and Dramatic Arts has an environment in which skilled and caring adults prepare future generations of capable and motivated professionals and community leaders by making connections between learning, arts, careers, and life. An indepth study of history develops an expansive per...

Academy of Medical Arts

The Academy of Medical Arts values interdisciplinary educational experiences, the democratic process, student voice, shared leadership, community partners, and learning that extends beyond the school walls. Teamwork is a hallmark of our culture. Staff members will regularly reflect and share ideas o...

Los Angeles High School of the Arts

Los Angeles High School of the Arts offers rigorous classes in theatre, dance and technical theatre; provide opportunities for students to be involved in our season of dramatic performances; and create opportunities for students to observe and work with professionals in the performing arts community...

Ambassador School of Global Education

Our Mission: The Ambassador School of Global Education nurtures children, helping them experience success in academic and social settings with an appreciation of the various cultures, languages, and communities around the world. Our Vision: Regardless of a child's background, cultural e...

Bancroft Elementary School

Bancroft Elementary provides all students with an excellent academic foundation as creative and critical thinkers who are empowered to act responsibly with respect for self, community, and the world. Bancroft fosters: An environment where learning is active. Students are en...

The Academic Leadership Learning Community School for Advanced Studies

The ALC Vision The Academic Leadership Community (ALC) believes that a healthy intersection of rigorous academics, leadership opportunities and a nurturing community will empower our students to reach their academic and professional potential. Thus, we declare our vision and pur...

School of Social Justice

EDUCATE Graduates of The School of Social Justice experience a unique education that is both academically rigorous and personalized. In addition to California Content State Standards and university requirements, the SSJ curriculum utilizes inquiry-based instruction and higher-level questi...

Baldwin Hills Elementary Pilot & Gifted High Ability Magnet

School Motto: Anchored and grounded in strengths from our past, poised and ready to soar. Opening Statement of School Mission: The mission of Baldwin Hills Elementary Pilot and Gifted/High Ability Magnet, a culturally and linguistically diverse communit...