NASDC Discloses 11 'Jurisdictions' for Model Schools

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Eleven jurisdictions are negotiating with the New American Schools Development Corporation to create large numbers of innovative schools over the next five years.

The jurisdictions, announced by NASDC last week, are: Cincinnati; Dade County, Fla.; Los Angeles; Memphis; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; San Diego; the Seattle metropolitan area; and the states of Kentucky, Maryland, and Vermont.

Business leaders formed NASDC in 1991 to bankroll the design and replication of "break the mold" schools.

The private, nonprofit group began as part of President George Bush's America 2000 education-reform agenda, but it has since been endorsed by the Clinton Administration.

For the past three years, the corporation has supported nine design teams as they created and tested models.

Since last summer, it has been looking for a few jurisdictions that would commit to implementing NASDC models or other effective school designs in at least 30 percent of their schools within five years.

The definition of what constitutes a "jurisdiction" in each site is still being negotiated, said John L. Anderson, the president of the new-schools corporation. In some cases, it will be one school district; in others, it will include several districts within a state or metropolitan region.

In Seattle, for example, it will include the Seattle public schools and four nearby school systems that have been working with one of NASDC's design teams. (See Education Week, Feb. 8, 1995.)

Five Criteria Used

NASDC used five criteria to select the jurisdictions, including a demonstrated commitment to create a supportive environment for schools engaged in reform. (See Education Week, Nov. 30, 1994.)

The 11 sites were chosen from among some 40 candidates. Originally, the corporation had expected to select only five to seven jurisdictions, but "there were a larger number than we thought who were really interested and ready for a partnership," Mr. Anderson said.

The sites differ in how much they have accomplished to date, but Mr. Anderson said the corporation hopes to work with all of them in some way.

"We're entering into a process to assist their local efforts to improve their public schools," he said. "That's why we're doing it."

By late this spring, the corporation expects to announce memorandums of understanding with the sites. Mr. Anderson said he hopes that all 11 sites ultimately will be designated as NASDC jurisdictions.

What the sites hope to gain is about $100,000 a year in financial support and technical assistance from design-team members.

The Education Commission of the States is collaborating with NASDC in its efforts.

Vol. 14, Issue 23

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