Secretary Reville Celebrates Opening of New Innovation Schools across the Commonwealth at Margarita Muñiz Academy in Boston
BOSTON – Wednesday, September 12, 2012 – Education Secretary Paul Reville today celebrated the opening of 26 new Innovation Schools across the Commonwealth this fall with students and staff at the newly opened Margarita Muñiz Academy in Boston. The Patrick-Murray Administration is deeply committed to supporting innovation in education to improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps, and the Innovation School initiative continues to flourish under this support, with 44 Innovation Schools now operating in Massachusetts.
"This robust group of Innovation Schools demonstrates how school communities across the state are embracing the Governor’s challenge to take ownership of their schools and be creative in their approach to improving education for students," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. “I congratulate the staff and students at Margarita Muñiz Academy, and all new Innovation Schools opening this fall, for taking on this important work.”
The Margarita Muñiz Academy is the first two-way, dual language high school in the Boston Public School District. The school, named in honor of Rafael Hernández School Principal Margarita Muñiz, opened with eighty 9th grade students this fall and will add one grade each year for the next four years until it is at full capacity. As an Innovation School, Margarita Muñiz Academy offers an expanded school day and year and incorporated additional learning opportunities for its students such as internships, college courses, and El Sistema Orchestra.
The Margarita Muñiz Academy is one of 26 new Innovation Schools opening in Massachusetts this September. A signature component of Governor Patrick's Achievement Gap Act of 2010, Innovation Schools are in-district, public schools that employ inventive strategies and creative approaches to education to accelerate student achievement while keeping school funding within districts. Innovation Schools can utilize greater autonomy and flexibility with regard to curriculum, staffing, budget, schedule/calendar, professional development and district policies.
In August, the Administration awarded $585,000 in Innovation School Implementation Grants to support the operation of 20 Innovation Schools that opened this fall, including a $30,000 grant to the Margarita Muñiz Academy. Funding for these implementation grants was made available as part of a total of $2 million in support from the state's successful Race to the Top proposal and additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation funding to the Executive Office of Education supports schools that utilize Innovation School flexibilities and autonomies, while also incorporating the elements of the Next Generation Learning Model - in particular, the inventive use of technology and real-time and ongoing student assessments.
For more information on Innovation Schools, please visit http://www.mass.gov/edu/innovation-schools.html.