Office of New School Models

Office of New School Models

Great News, Current 8th Grade Students: Three New High Schools Opening This Fall!

The School District of Philadelphia is excited to announce the opening of three new, non-selective district high schools in September 2014:


Interested in more information?  Click on the links below:


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 2.0.


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 High Schools

We are supporting the design and launch of three new, small innovative District high schools that are open admission (no criteria) scheduled to open in September 2014. Learn more!

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.