Office of New School Models

Office of New School Models

Call for Quality School Designs

The Call for Quality School Designs seeks innovative, research-based ideas for reinventing existing schools through the School Redesign Initiative and creating new schools through the Office of New School Models.

The District is guided in each decision by the goals of Action Plan 3.0.

The Call for Quality is an opportunity for educators and innovators to put advances in research, technology, and instructional practice to work in support of ensuring equitable access to high quality education for all students in Philadelphia. To realize this vision, the District intends to establish and nurture new evidence-based school models.

The 2015 New District High Schools Application  introduces the process for inviting proposals to design and open innovative high schools to support our most underserved students. This RFQ is part of the District’s 2015 Call for Quality School Designs, released in tandem with the School Redesign Initiative. The Call for Quality School Designs seeks the best leadership teams and ideas for starting new and reimagining existing District schools. In the spirit of Action Plan 3.0, it is the District’s obligation to help foster, lead, sustain and collaborate on the city’s innovation agenda.

If you would like to submit a Letter of Intent for the New District Innovation High schools, visit https://webapps.philasd.org/procurement/view to access the District’s Office of Procurement website, Sealed Bid Schedule. Once there, please locate the link for the New Innovation Schools (Bid# RFQ-143), and click on “Request Bid”.  You will be asked to supply some background information. For “Company Name”, you can put in your first and last name. For “Office Phone”, you may use your personal contact phone number. Once you hit submit request, the letter of intent will be emailed to you. 

We also invite you to notify us of your intent to apply by completing this Notify ONSM Survey Form.  Thank you for your interest!

For more information, please visit us at newschools.philasd.org 


The Office of New Schools Models (ONSM) exists to advance innovation at The School District of Philadelphia by supporting the design and development of new and innovative school models that personalize learning and combine significant student supports with high expectations. The work of ONSM supports the District's vision of developing a system of excellent schools that meets the needs of all students and ensures every student has access to a high-quality education.


We envision the City of Philadelphia as a center of education innovation, where every child has access to a world class education that is highly personalized and that prepares young people to be lifelong learners and contributing members of their communities. In support of this vision, ONSM will serve as a research, development, and design hub for education leaders and entrepreneurs who are actively working toward the development of innovative school models that reflect students’ needs and encourage flexibility and innovation in educational delivery – a key strategy of Superintendent William Hite's Action Plan 3.0.


We believe school design must be a continuous process. We also believe that design work in education must bring together two critical elements: the experiences and perspectives of the "user" (students, families, educators, and so forth) and the most promising best practices and cutting edge research about what works in preparing young people for success.  In short, this is our approach to supporting new school design in our city.

Our Current Work

New District Schools

We are supporting a new, open-admission competency-based middle school that will open in September 2016.

 Participatory Research

We are conducting participatory research among students, families, educators, and community members in Philadelphia to learn how we can collectively improve high schools to more effectively meet student needs and to ensure all students leave high school adequately prepared for college, career, and life. This work will be ongoing, and includes interviews, focus groups, surveys, and "design workshops" open to students, parents, educators, and community members. As we deepen our understanding of the needs, wants, and obstacles students and families face, we will work to draw on these insights and perspectives to help shape the design of new district school models.   

National Research & Knowledge-Sharing

We are also conducting research nationwide on the most promising evidence-based design elements of high-performing schools that will help inform and shape new school designs.  We are working to capture and curate the best of teaching & learning - not only in our city, but across the country - and to share what we learn, observe, and discover along the way.