First developed in 1995 in Boston, Pilot Schools were created as autonomous schools within urban districts, grounded in their communities and supported by school boards and teachers unions, while also free of many district and union constraints. This autonomy allows for schools to be innovative and flexible in making decisions that best meet the needs of teachers, students, and their families. CCE played a valuable role in the development and leadership of Pilot Schools, providing school-based coaching, district support, and evaluation and research.
Below is a selection of guides, articles, and research reports highlighting the work of Pilot Schools and the movement’s impact on school design and student learning.
Experiential Education in Boston’s Public Schools: A Three-Year Demonstration Project (2008)
The Pilot Schools Experiential Education Demonstration (PSEED) project was intended to deepen and embed high-quality experiential education within each participating school’s academic programs. This report summarizes the three years of work in the seven Pilot schools, all of whom had diverse goals and implementation plans.
Strong Results, High Demand: A Four-Year Study of Boston’s Pilot High Schools (November 2007)
This study examines Boston’s closely watched Pilot high schools over a four-year period (2001-2005) to discover who is attending Pilot high schools and how subgroups of the Boston student population are faring in Pilot high schools.
The Essential Guide to Pilot Schools: Leadership and Governance (2007)
This guide highlights the essentials of building a strong framework in Pilot Schools, including transforming leadership roles, setting a school mission, and creating a professional collaborative culture. It describes the role of governing boards and election-to-work agreements in Pilot Schools, and how shared decision making and leadership are essential to these structures.
Progress and Promise: Results from the Boston Pilot Schools (January 2006)
This study provides an overview of the success of Boston Pilot schools in the areas of academic performance and engagement.
The Essential Guide to Pilot Schools: Overview (2006)
The Overview guide explains the essentials of Pilot Schools: autonomy, accountability, small size, and a commitment to equity. It includes data on Pilot Schools, how Pilot Schools fit into the school reform context, and the power of the Pilot Schools Network.
Boston Community Leadership Academy: Pilot School Story of Transformation and Results (2006)
This case study highlights one low performing Boston public school that decided to become a Pilot School and transformed itself over a period of two years, becoming one of Boston’s more desirable high schools.
How Pilot Schools Authentically Assess Student Mastery (2004)
This report documents how member schools of the Boston Pilot Schools Network use authentic assessments to understand what their students know and can do.
How are Boston Pilot Schools Students Faring? Student Demographics, Engagement, and Performance, 1997 -2003 (2004)
This report examines the efficacy of the Boston Pilot Schools through quantitative indicators of student demographics, student engagement, and student performance.
How Boston Pilot Schools Use Freedom Over Budget, Staffing, and Scheduling to Meet Student Needs (October 2001)
This report provides evidence and examples that effective implementation of autonomies in schools with clear visions for teaching and learning creates schools in which students have a better chance of succeeding.