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The Carnegie Corporation has released their design principles for creating effective secondary schools that address the demands of the Common Core State Standards.  These design principles, ten of them, seem to describe an obvious bedrock that all school should build upon. All students should have access to personalized learning, engaging learning environments, high standards, and the ability to successfully transition to the next stages of their lives. All schools should be constantly improving, have staff that can build and utilize their strengths, help connect their community to the communities around the world, and a run in a sustainable fashion. In a way, it is unfortunate that the Carnegie Corporation sees the need to share and take action based on these ten principles. Hopefully, they will become that unconsciously drives all schools in the future.

10 Design Principals

  • Integrates positive youth development to optimize student engagement & effort

  • Develops & deploys collective strengths

  • Empowers & supports students through key transitions into & beyond high school

  • Manages school operations efficiently & effectively

  • Prioritizes mastery of rigorous standards aligned to college & career readiness

  • Maintains an effective human capital strategy aligned with school model & priorities

  • Remains porous & connected

  • Has a clear mission & coherent culture

  • Continuously improves its operations & model

  • Personalizes student learning to meet student needs

It has been said that building a good school is often easier than transforming a struggling one. That’s probably way the Carnegie Corporation is attempting to put their design principles into practice with the help of organizations such as Springpoint.

“Guided by a set of research-based school design principles, Springpoint functions as a national school design support hub, working with districts that have adopted a portfolio approach and a reform strategy centered on opening new small schools.

Bringing together a wide range of experts in the field, Springpoint leads school districts through a supported design process to launch innovative new high schools aligned to the rigor of the Common Core State Standards. These small high schools personalize learning, enable mastery of the knowledge and skills required by the more challenging standards, and use technology and other innovative tools to help students achieve higher levels of high school completion and college and career readiness. Springpoint’s support takes many forms, including trainings, convenings, webinars, and site visits. Throughout, our approach is grounded in a deep understanding of adolescent students’ developmental needs and extensive research around intentional, district based school design.

Building on current knowledge, school districts within Springpoint’s network serve as resources to one another, sharing tools, strategies, and best practices, working to move the field forward nationally.”

Effective SC was honored to spend time with Springpoint, as well as others educators, that their March 2013 convening. We had time to hear from others who believe strongly in mastery based learning and share our experiences and learnings as well. Gatherings like this always reinvigorate us as a company and as individuals. It reminds us that educators are willing to accept change in order to create better schools and futures for all students. Thank you to all who participated in Sharepoint’s March Convening. Stay in touch!



Effective SC

Effective Social Change is an organization devoted to using technology and process to encourage social growth. If you would like to work with us, or believe we might be able to help you, please let us know.