Boston Public Schools / Pilot Schools

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.

New York City Schools/PROSE

PROSE (Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence) was negotiated into the 2014 teachers’ contract by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the New York City Department of Education (DOE) as a way for schools that had a history of collaborative management and innovation to have more freedom to achieve their goals. The idea came from union leaders seeing that teachers had creative ideas in their schools, but teacher teams needed an opportunity to share those within and across schools and more space to experiment with new ideas.

Los Angeles Unified School District / Pilots

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 plus pilot schools in Los Angeles.

The School District of Philadelphia

Through the School Redesign Initiative and New School opportunity in Philadelphia teacher teams have an opportunity to provide leadership to their school design and implementation process. More information is available at

Milwaukee Public Schools

Since 2001, the Milwaukee Public School board has authorized instrumentality chartered schools that it knows will be run by teacher cooperatives. Much of the autonomy for the teacher cooperatives is arranged via the charter contract between the school board and the school. Before the end of collective bargaining in Wisconsin in 2011, teachers in these cooperatives remained employees of the district and members of the union. Schools also had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the district and union local that provided waivers from aspects of the collective bargaining agreement.