The Hechinger Report is a national nonprofit newsroom that reports on one topic: education. Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.

When teachers want to try something new in the classroom, it helps if they can see what it looks like in action.

They could ask another teacher down the hall. Or they might try to talk to other teachers on social media, perhaps in an education technology Twitter chat. But too often, these aspiring innovators are left to solve problems alone.

These teachers might be on the right track, but they’re hampered if there isn’t a trailblazing school nearby that they can visit. So, what to do?

“ This is what it can look like. This is what is possible.”

The latest project for The Learning Accelerator, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the advancement of blended learning, offers a potential solution. The organization has created a website that provides the public a virtual peek inside several schools. The release of the website earlier this month concludes more than a year of research, including more than 100 school visits.

The Learning Accelerator winnowed it down to six top-performing schools. They are CICS West Belden, a charter school in Chicago; Pleasant View Elementary School in Providence, Rhode Island; Lindsay High School in Lindsay, California; Roots Elementary, a charter school in Denver; Leadership Public Schools (LPS), part of a nonprofit network of public charter high schools in Richmond, Oakland and Hayward; and ReNEW’s Dolores T. Aaron Academy (“ReNEW DTA”) a non-selective charter school in New Orleans.

Related: How an unconventional principal used blended learning to help turn around a struggling urban school

The school profiles on the website feature resources for teachers and school leaders that can be copied and shared freely without risk of violating copyright. That includes strategies for using real-time data, mixing in-person instruction and technology, creating custom lessons for students and allowing students to move through courses at their own pace.

The schools showcased show how innovation can work for all types of communities — including schools that serve children with a high number of poor children who are at risk of academic failure.

“These kids are just as worthy of innovations as well,” said Beth Rabbitt, the CEO of the Learning Accelerator.

TLA’s project is descriptive research; it’s not an attempt to quantify who is the best based on student test scores. The website includes audio, video and narratives that attempt to take people inside these schools to see what makes them tick.

“This is what it can look like,” Rabbitt said. “This is what is possible.”

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about Blended Learning.

The Hechinger Report provides in-depth, fact-based, unbiased reporting on education that is free to all readers. But that doesn't mean it's free to produce. Our work keeps educators and the public informed about pressing issues at schools and on campuses throughout the country. We tell the whole story, even when the details are inconvenient. Help us keep doing that.

Join us today.

Letters to the Editor

At The Hechinger Report, we publish thoughtful letters from readers that contribute to the ongoing discussion about the education topics we cover. Please read our guidelines for more information. We will not consider letters that do not contain a full name and valid email address. You may submit news tips or ideas here without a full name, but not letters.

By submitting your name, you grant us permission to publish it with your letter. We will never publish your email address. You must fill out all fields to submit a letter.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *