Public Education Advocacy Groups Honor Innovative School Districts


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. and Rexford, N.Y. (Sept. 10, 2018) – School systems across the country have been named the nation’s “Most Innovative School Districts” for their unique approaches to expand and support student learning and achievement by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the Successful Practices Network (SPN).

Today’s announcement follows a yearlong study by these groups aimed at identifying and highlighting innovative practices in K-12 education.

“At a time when the new school year is beginning across the nation, there is no better time than now to speak out about the value of public education and bring to the forefront the outstanding work being done by our school districts,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “We were pleased to partner with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and SPN on this project as we hope the 25 school districts and the outstanding contributions they’re making will be celebrated throughout their respective communities and beyond.” 

The National Innovative Best Practice School Districts are (with the remaining districts to be named this fall):

  • Sand Creek International Elementary/Harrison School District 2, Colorado Springs, Co.
  • Troup County School System, LaGrange, Ga.
  • Wilder School District #133, Wilder, Idaho
  • Maine Township High School District 207, Park Ridge, Ill.
  • Johnson STEAM Academy Magnet School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Owensboro Public Schools, Owensboro, Ky.
  • Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, Upton, Mass.
  • Brockton High School, Brockton, Mass.
  • Minnetonka Public Schools, Minnetonka, Minn.
  • Excelsior Springs School District, Excelsior Springs, Mo.
  • Parkway School District, Chesterfield, Mo.
  • Greene County Schools, Snow Hill, N.C.
  • Hamilton Fulton Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School, Johnstown, N.Y.
  • Mineola Public Schools, Mineola, N.Y.
  • Graham Local Schools, St. Paris, Ohio
  • Upper St. Clair High School, Upper St. Clair School District, Upper St. Clair, Pa.
  • Salem City Schools, Salem, Va.
  • Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash.

The goals of the study included the following:

  • To develop and refine school review tools to establish evidence and a benchmark for the impact of innovative best practices on student learning and achievement.
  • To support state level review teams in using the established criteria to identify and validate innovative practices at elementary and secondary levels.
  • To disseminate, through the channel of all three organizations, the case studies and innovative best practices to schools and districts throughout the United States.
  • To develop policy recommendations and supportive resources for state and national leaders.

These goals were achieved through a collaborative national study using the following project design.
Based upon their ongoing work throughout the country, both AASA and SPN nominated schools and/or districts to be studied. In addition, each state affiliate of AASA was invited to nominate two innovative
best practice institutions (one school, one district) that have demonstrated rapid improvement in student learning and preparedness through innovative organizational and instructional practices.

The Innovative Successful Practices Project was determined using tailored assessment tools based on SPN’s Learning Criteria to Support 21st Century Learners.

Visit the AASA website to read the case studies as they become available.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ:HMHC) is a global learning company committed to delivering integrated solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K-12 core curriculum, supplemental solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students’ potential and extend teachers’ capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit

About SPN
Founded in 2003, SPN has worked with schools and districts around the United States to ensure a rigorous relevant education system for ALL students. SPN’s work focuses on supporting the use of these best practices along with focused data analysis to drive systemic improvements for schools, districts and students.