Innovation Study Visits

Schools & Districts Innovation Study Visits

Why read about school innovation when you can watch it happen live?

Teachers, administrators and other education leaders are invited to visit classrooms, network with peers and experience a powerful and unique school culture where all adults collaborate to support, deepen and extend student learning, across their schools and into their communities. 

 Click for details and registration information for study visits in October, January and February.


Through the Learning Laboratory Initiative (LLI), three North Carolina New Schools partner schools serve as showcases of teaching and learning that ensure all students graduate ready for college, careers and life: Caldwell Early College High School, Fayetteville's Cross Creek Early College High School and Wayne School of Engineering.

Structure of Study Visits

Each study visit is organized to offer the following opportunities:

  1. Demonstrate Redefined Professionalism, including the rounds model of on-going school-based staff development.
  2. Demonstrate the Common Instructional Framework, interdisciplinary projects and community engagement within a context of inquiry and project-based learning, that support high levels of learning for all students;
  3. Validate how restructured schools promote a school culture of teachers and students working together to improve college going-rates and success in life after high school;
  4. Give participants the opportunity to analyze the school's history, culture, and classroom instruction to deepen their understanding of high school innovation and create a stronger network of schools yielding improved outcomes for students; and
  5. Give participants structured time to plan implementation strategies and experience ongoing collaboration across the North Carolina New Schools network.

Schools Offering Visits During the 2013 - 2014 Academic Year
  • Caldwell Early College High School, now in its fifth year of implementation, boasts student performance exceeding 90 percent on the composite of state End of Course test scores with no dropouts, high attendance rates and practically no teacher attrition. This school exhibits a culture of high expectations for all teachers to be learners, raising standards for students' academic behaviors and deepening students' understanding of content. CECHS emphasizes the development of strong relationships among staff and students, as well as the cultivation of a college-ready focus so that each student will expect and appreciate high academic challenges and develop habits of mind and heart to build affective and cognitive resilience.
  • Cross Creek Early College High School celebrates academic success, with student performance composite on the state's End-of-Course measures greater than 90 percent. CCECHS also offers a strong AVID program. The school's counselor, principal, assistant principal and instructional liaison know all of the students and their personal situations and are able to use this knowledge to work with their staff to leverage high academic and behavioral expectations. The school staff is focused on building a foundation of high academic expectations, the consistent use of the Common Instructional Framework and critical feedback from application of the rounds model to improve instruction and learning.
  • Wayne School of Engineering (WSE) has made incredible progress in its four years of implementation, graduating the school's first senior class this year.  As one of North Carolina New Schools's original STEM schools, the school has successfully established an autonomous culture on the campus of Goldsboro High School. WSE is a project-focused school with an engineering theme. The school exhibits highly engaging progressive pedagogy and a unique curriculum that includes: a community garden project developed through the Earth Science classes; a philosophy course for juniors and seniors; a composition course for freshmen that complements the regular English curriculum; and an issues-based science class for freshmen.

Testimonials from Study Visit Participants

Click to watch interviews with participants at the 2012 study visit at Caldwell Early High School.

"Study visits to schools provide demonstrations of great teaching.  They provide encouragement to teachers who want to be the best teachers and inspiration to teachers who are the best."  Rebecca Payne, Director, STEM Education and Leadership - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; NC Dept of Public Instruction.

"Study visits to schools outside our network were helpful, but visiting a school in our network has been so much more helpful. If we had had this example when we were getting started, we'd be so much farther along now."
- Angie Burleson, principal of Mayland Early College

"The study visit to Caldwell Co. Early College was invaluable.  The experience of the staff and the use of the North Carolina New Schools vocabulary as it relates to the Design Principles made the processes so much clearer for me.  I got the most out of the discussion groups with the teachers.  The opportunity to do a mock schedule and see how the school sets up the day for success was really good too. This experience gave me lots of ideas for future planning.  Thanks for the opportunity."
- Dr. Helen Owen, principal of Henderson Early College

For more information
To learn more about the LLI program or to register for a two-day study visit, click here. If you are a business leader, community member or school representative interested in participating in a one- to three-hour learning tour of a school, please contact April Anthony at 919.277.3779.

Photo (above) from Caldwell Early College High School: Working in collaborative groups, students explore properties of parallelograms by recording observations as well as making and testing conjectures.

Find A Partner School

Map of North Carolina New Schools

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School Data


Number of Schools With 100% 9th Grade Promotion in 2010-2011


North Carolina New Schools Innovative High Schools


Traditional NC High Schools

Meet an Innovator


John Heilmann