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June 2018

Sharing the Story of Impact: Philadelphia Innovation Schools

Looking back at four innovative high school models funded by Barra

The Barra Foundation’s Catalyst Fund supported four innovative high schools in Philadelphia – Building 21, Science Leadership Academy, The Workshop School and Vaux Big Picture. Given Barra’s desire to share learning as part of the innovation process, the Foundation decided to embark on its first “thematic review” to look back across these models to capture learnings. During the 2017-2018 school year, ImpactED, in partnership with the Foundation, engaged in an intensive year of learning about these school models.

Below are resources, including case studies with findings from this process. Click here to read the Key Takeaways & Implications report, which summarizes conclusions from across the four school projects. Click here to watch a video overview of the project. We hope that by sharing these learnings others will be inspired to think differently. To help readers consider how these models might be adopted and adapted, ImpactED has included a Recommendations section at the end of each school’s case study.

Building 21

Case StudyArticle / PhotosWebsite

Science Leadership Academy

Case StudyArticle / PhotosWebsite

The Workshop School

Case StudyArticle / PhotosWebsite

Vaux Big Picture

Case StudyArticle / PhotosWebsite


CONVENING: At a June 18, 2018 convening, speakers from each school and The School District of Philadelphia led a conversation about what it takes to implement and sustain innovative school models. The following are video presentations by the leaders of each school, describing their school’s values and learning model: