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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Innovative Schools Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: A grassroots network of educators creating and nurturing innovative schools by supporting each other in developing high quality, research based resources and strategies for both educators and students.

Results: We have assisted over 160 schools and over 3,000 educators in working to implement innovative, sustainable educational opportunities for students.

Target demographics: public schools transform into sustainable, innovative learning opportunities for students

Direct beneficiaries per year: 160 schools and approximately 3000 teachers

Geographic areas served: education

Programs: professional development in innovative areas. We focus on teaching and learning in the "Innovation Zone" to assist in the transformation of our schools today so that tomorrow they will be viable and exactly what each student needs.

Community Stories

104 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have partnered with the Innovative Schools Network for the past 5 years. "Transformation" has become an overused term in education, primarily because we all want to do "it." The ISN has been an innovative leader in assisting schools and school districts in developing "zones of innovation" where learning is different; learning is engaging; learning is rooted in curiosity; a place were kids do most of the work as the teachers advise and guide the learner based on their strengths and interests. They have provided strategic planning services that helped develop the foundation upon which we could build our vision of how we want education to be different...they opened the door to see things "differently" and provided the leadership and services to help us redefine education in our district.They provide onsite and remote consultation through video coaching. Many of their coaches are current teachers and leaders within project based or inquiry based schools. They are very adept at bridging the fine line between a schools district's central control of a school building and the building having the autonomy to truly innovate and do things differently. This is hard and risky work for many school systems because we have prided ourselves in the past of the "one size fits all" model assuming a uniform delivery model would be fair and adequate for the success of all learners. Now however, more districts have come to realize that they must begin offering different learning models and opportunities for students based more on strengths and interests than the legacy curricula intended to serve all students. ISN brings exciting, fresh ideas and enthusiasm to those who seek a different way of educating students for the future.

Dene M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ISN truly believes in learning and education! They support schools with invaluable resouces. We are in our planning year for a Montessori Charter School and ISN is helping at every level to support our success!

Jacques du V.

Advisor

Rating: 5

We at DC Everest Idea School have been members of ISN since its inception. They have regularly and enthusiastically supported our school and our efforts at innovative approaches to education. They have helped us to grow in our reach both state-wide and nationally. We look forward to working with them in the future as this hard working organization continues to grow.

Advisor

Rating: 5

ISN has been an invaluable partner for our school. They support us at all levels of our organization from trainings for our advisors and board members to providing unique opportunities to network with others across the state and nation. Our students have even been able to share ideas and projects with students from other schools.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ISN has provided our school with a great amount of support to help us as we developed our project based school. Through ISN, our team was able to connect and collaborate with other educators who are leading the way in innovation. We have also learned a lot from the professional development opportunities that ISN has provided.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Innovative Schools Network is a place for everyone interested in making a difference in schools. At every event I feel welcomed, engaged and part of an authentic learning community. What I also appreciate about the ISN is that they are not shy about addressing the difficult issues and I often leave with the resources and personal strength I need to move forward.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our experiences with Heather, Todd, and the entire ISN staff have been wonderful. We enjoy attending ISN conferences and always come away excited to put into practice all we have learned.

Stuart6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The ISN brings amazing educators together to encourage educational change. Their experience, knowledge, and passion make them a true asset to teachers everywhere.

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ISN consistently provides a level of support, innovation, and collaboration that is beyond expectations or experience in the educational sector. Thought leaders, action takers, community conveners, and resource providers par excellence, the ISN deserves to have its influences and offerings reach around this country.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ISN provides valuable tools and resources to help our school offer the best education and opportunities to our students.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Todd and his staff were instrumental in assisting the Birchwood Charter School in becoming a high functioning charter in northern Wisconsin. The team at Innovative Schools Network worked hand-in-hand with us, giving us direction and feedback, enabling us now to mentor other charter schools. Thank you to ISN for your dedication and support!

John T.3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, I committed to providing staff development to enhance and support the teacher evaluation processes through professional development. I attended several different conferences to help plan professional development focusing on strategies for use with English Language Learners, family engagement, cultural diversity, innovation, formative assessment, issues surrounding poverty, leadership, neuroscience, and blended learning. My hope was to find one organization that could meet all of our needs. The mass production and widespread use of computers, cell phones, and the internet has ushered in a digital revolution that demands a transformational approach towards educating for the future. While our school needs to deal with many current academic issues, the school needs to increasingly focus on an educational vision for the future. The shift from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age brings great challenges concerning how children are educated. It is critical to not only understand how people learn but to also embrace new visions for the future of learning. I finally found the one organization that could provide for all of our needs: the Innovative Schools Network (ISN).

The ISN supports the establishment and growth of high quality, research-based innovative schools by providing professional training and guidance, and ensuring that educators can easily collaborate, connect, and learn from one another. Their mission is “to provide the nation’s public school educators, administrators and related leaders with a network that builds a culture of innovation in thought and practice to transform learning and schools.” The ISN annual conferences highlight some of the foremost innovative leaders and creative minds in education. These trendsetting conferences provide a vibrant gathering of innovative thinkers and an opportunity to learn as well as share. Topics include a broad array of cutting-edge educational issues and trends, technology integration for the classroom, student-driven educational workshops, STEM, project based learning, arts integration, and personalized learning. Last year our school sent half of our teaching staff to the conference. We were featured in a session entitled, “The Makery: Empowering Students to Make Almost Anything with 21st Century Manufacturing Tools." This year, we will again be sending a large group of our teachers to the annual ISN conference. We are in Hawaii and the conference is in Wisconsin. It takes a huge commitment of time and funding resources to support a group of this size but it is worth every penny spent. We love the ISN!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The ISN has helped our school be successful by providing support and outstanding professional development. We would not be where we are today without the ISN.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The ISN is a bright spot on a growing landscape of schools and institutions looking to develop thought leadership and practical strategies for moving the learner experience toward more contemporary environments. We've learned so much from the expertise and networking opportunities that ISN offers!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great organization - visionary with practical guidance and strategies. Our school would not be where it is today without the ISN.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Speaking on behalf of The Overture Center, we've partnered with Innovative Schools Network for many years and value their expertise, collaborative spirit and creativity. They are a true asset to the field of education!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The status quo in education in America has deep, and vast roots. If you want to break ground and truly innovate in education today, you need the support of an organization with the resources, expertise, networking, and growth mindset necessary to be dynamic in an otherwise stagnant landscape. The ISN is that organization! They are an incredible collective of educators, administrators, and forward thinking individuals who are committed to moving education forward!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ISN provides outstanding resources for teachers who want to do school differently. They connect educators together.

Todd B.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The team at the Innovative Schools Network welcomes new members as if they were family!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The art-integration conferences that the ISN conducts have opened my eyes to a whole new way of engaging students.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful team of people dedicated to helping teachers and the education community realize what innovative means and the positive impact it has on kids.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have partnered with the Innovative Schools Network for the past 5 years. "Transformation" has become an overused term in education, primarily because we all want to do "it." The ISN has been an innovative leader in assisting schools and school districts in developing "zones of innovation" where learning is different; learning is engaging; learning is rooted in curiosity; a place were kids do most of the work as the teachers advise and guide the learner based on their strengths and interests. They have provided strategic planning services that helped develop the foundation upon which we could build our vision of how we want education to be different...they opened the door to see things "differently" and provided the leadership and services to help us redefine education in our district.

They provide onsite and remote consultation through video coaching. Many of their coaches are current teachers and leaders within project based or inquiry based schools. They are very adept at bridging the fine line between a schools district's central control of a school building and the building having the autonomy to truly innovate and do things differently. This is hard and risky work for many school systems because we have prided ourselves in the past of the "one size fits all" model assuming a uniform delivery model would be fair and adequate for the success of all learners. Now however, more districts have come to realize that they must begin offering different learning models and opportunities for students based more on strengths and interests than the legacy curricula intended to serve all students. ISN brings exciting, fresh ideas and enthusiasm to those who seek a different way of educating students for the future.

Previous Stories
1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Innovative Schools Network focuses on creating zones of innovation within existing school districts that create specific model schools through teacher empowerment and commitment to a unique school design. Such schools provide unique learning environments for students to follow their passions, become more engaged through integrated content and projects. ISN has assisted many districts in designing schools that foster more student engagement, ownership and levels of maturity and personal responsibility.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m proud to be a teacher at one of the member schools that founded this great organization. The Innovative Schools Network connects us with great mentors and schools, video conference opportunities, and creates extremely valuable conferences. As a teacher in a small, innovative project based learning school I feel that ISN is a catalyst for growing and changing education in today’s world and I’m so thankful that they bring me along for the ride through the opportunities they provide!

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so lucky - I've attended & presented at all of the ISN Conferences on Educational Innovation! The success of having staff members attend a conference on innovative education can partially be measured in the number and quality of sessions attended, being a presenter at a session with good audience feedback, the notes taken, and the techniques, computer software, and new ideas learned. All of those things have been a huge success! However, there are other factors that can also determine the success of attending that just can’t be measured. Because my small school district encourages educational options, it is more important than ever for us to be able to make connections with schools and people that are also striving to innovate and create new opportunities for student learning. Attendance at these conferences successfully provides staff members with countless collaborations, including helping to foster and grow the Innovative Schools Network itself - the great nonprofit, teacher-driven organization that puts on the conferences!

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