A new public innovation school in the exploratory stage
Based in Cambridge, MA

The Innovation School Model

The Innovation Schools initiative was signed into law in January 2010. It allows districts to to explore innovative ideas while keeping school funding within districts.

It requires that the Superintendent, Teacher's Union (Cambridge Education Association), and the School Committee all have a voice in the planning process and a vote in the approval proccess.

There are currently 50 innovations schools around Massachusetts including 7 in Boston.

There are not yet any innovation schools in Cambridge.

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The Puzzle School Exploration

We are in the early stages of exploring a new upper or alternative high school in Cambridge.

The "puzzle" metaphor is about a process rather than a specific design. The process consists of deep observations, developing and testing hypotheses, and seeking feedback as you make progress toward your goal.

This process will inform all aspects of The Puzzle School, from how the school is run to the student's day-to-day experience to how students approach their own learning.

You can read more in this pdf description of The Puzzle School.

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The Goals Of The Process

The Puzzle School will use this process to continuously work toward a school that best helps each individual student. In doing so we hope to:

  • Create a healthy environment for all students and teachers.
  • Give students greater agency and responsibility over their school.
  • Explore student interests and diverse opportunities, such as internships, independent and group projects, and online and community programs.
  • Provide teachers autonomy and opportunities for collaboration.
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A Day In The Life

What would a day in the life be like at The Puzzle School? It's a difficult question to answer, but we've provided some thoughts on:

  • A sample schedule.
  • Appreciating the Present vs. Preparing for the Future
  • Personal Interests vs. Requirements

Read more about a day in the life >

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Our Programs

We are currently running programs with students in Cambridge. Some of the programs we have run or are developing include:

  • Exploring student interests, strengths, and problems they are interested in solving in the world.
  • Exploring math, art, and self expression through coding.
  • Helping students think through goals and problems in their own lives using Design Thinking.

Read more about our programs >

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Our Advisors

The Puzzle School is working with educational leaders from around Cambridge.

They represent decades of teaching experience and have started, run, and worked for innovative and prominent schools in the country:

  • A faculty member from the Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • A co-founder of High Tech High
  • A co-executive director of Big Picture Learning
  • Instructors from MIT, Olin, and Boston College

Learn more about our advisors >

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“So this was the big secret historians keep to themselves: historical research is wildly seductive and fun. There's a thrill in the process of digging, then piecing together details like a puzzle.”

~ Nancy Horan

“As a kid, I was into music, played guitar in a band. Then I started acting in plays in junior high school and just got lost in the puzzle of acting, the magic of it. I think it was an escape for me.”

~ Michael J. Fox

“When you write non-fiction, you sit down at your desk with a pile of notebooks, newspaper clippings, and books and you research and put a book together the way you would a jigsaw puzzle.”

~ Janine di Giovanni

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