International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Kathryn Madden

Second Reader

Ramón Borges-Méndez


The purpose of this research is to both identify best practices in innovative school design and then identify a guide to assist new school design teams on how to make the transition out of current practices of traditional education. First, I describe the current structure of traditional education, the challenges schools face in regard to school structure, community, and academics. Then I examine six public schools that are working to create strategies to address the challenges stated in traditional schools. Through school site visits and interviews with teacher and faculty, I explore the strategies of existing innovative school models and identify common themes that unite the schools' methods. I then classify a set of drivers that can guide schools on how to transgress the traditional system of education in the United States. This research grew out of response to ACLU reports on the current state of Lewiston - and the entire nation in general - challenges and shortfalls in the education system. Hence the ultimate goal is to present best practice strategies in the areas of curriculum, policy, and school structure that attempt to reimagine the function and outcome of learning in public schools.



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