Education Research

Project Documenting Innovative School Practices Gets Needed Update

There's very little that's ordinary about schooling this year, and that's why the Canopy Project has added new schools and new terminology to describe just what instructional practice looks like these days. The project is intended to help school leaders understand how education innovation can work by documenting the practices of innovative schools and sharing it publicly. Nonprofits the Christensen Institute and Transcend and "dozens" of other contributors are refreshing the project and updating the contents of the database to make it as timely as possible.

According to the organizers, the project now includes:

  • New data, collected in August and September and covering 144 schools, including 78 that weren't part of the original project;

  • Inclusion of new practices, such as "fully remote," "hybrid" and "fully in-person" instructional modalities;

  • Coverage of up to five models that are "core" to each school and information about how long the school has been implementing them;

  • An interactive portal that allows for searching by geography, demographics and innovative practice;

  • Addition of a public contact for each school on its profile page, to allow people to reach out directly; and

  • More detailed implementation information, to show readers how each school has implemented its innovative model.

The project recently released findings from the new data (with more to come).

  • Almost all schools (89 percent) have cited the use of social-emotional learning, followed by blended learning and project-based learning;

  • A new practice that has shown up this year is "culture of anti-racist action," referenced by 60 percent of schools;

  • More than three-quarters of schools (78 percent) are reporting remote accommodations for students with disabilities; and nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) are offering virtual enrichment activities;

  • Most schools are citing fully-remote learning (64 percent), followed by hybrid (46 percent) and fully in-person (20 percent).

Materials from the Canopy Schools dataset are openly available on the project's website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.