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History of the Innovation Agenda

The Innovation Agenda was the culmination of a district-wide planning process launched in the fall of 2010. This process, an extension of the district’s 2007-10 middle school study, was developed in response to the community’s realization that middle school issues could not be addressed effectively in isolation.

Superintendent Jeff Young, Mayor David Maher, and the Cambridge School Committee established three working teams—a Facilities Team, a Controlled Choice Team, and a JK-8 Education Programming Team—to engage in the multi-dimensional planning work required to move the district forward. Each team was led by two school committee members who served as co-chairs, and consisted of CPS administrators, teachers, community members, and content-area experts. The mission and leadership of each team were as follows:

  • Controlled Choice: Richard Harding & Patty Nolan, Co-chairs
    To make school district choices much better for Cambridge families by reviewing the Controlled Choice policy and recommending policy changes to the Superintendent for adoption by the School Committee, while maintaining the values of integrity, balance, and diversity, and improving the experience of families in the school assignment process. View the Controlled Choice Report >>

  • Facilities: Nancy Tauber & Fred Fantini, Co-chairs
    To develop a Schools Facilities Plan that meets the educational needs of the Cambridge school-age population and advances the quality of education. View the Facilities Report >>

  • JK-8 Education Program: Marc McGovern & Alice Turkel, Co-chairs

To create a set of recommendations designed to ensure a cohesive district-wide school system in which all students attend schools that provide a wide variety of rigorous educational and healthy social experiences at every grade level from junior kindergarten through eighth grade. View the JK-8 Education Program Report >>

Early Planning Process
With the School Committee’s approval of the Innovation Agenda in March 2011, faculties and families of schools across Cambridge began the work of building a new Upper School Program and upper school communities.

In addition to the numerous community building activities launched by individual schools, two citywide planning groups formed for parent and teacher participation:

  • Citywide School Advisory Group: The Citywide School Advisory Group is a Cambridge parent leadership and advisory group. The CSAG includes two representatives from each school, selected by the School Council of each school. These members are charged with representing both their individual school communities and all families across the city. CSAG members are asked to advise the Superintendent and support the development of the Cambridge Public Schools by representing their individual school communities in three areas: communication, community building, and Innovation Agenda planning. The CSAG formed a governance subcommittee to work with the Superintendent and plan meetings.

  • Innovation Agenda Teacher Planning Team: The IA Teacher Planning Team was composed of 15 teachers in grades 5-9, including general and Special Education teachers and specialists, from schools across the city. All CPS teachers at these grade levels were invited to apply for participation; 36 applications were received from a range of extremely qualified and committed CPS educators. Teachers were selected in order to create a diverse team that represented school communities and content areas. The IA Teacher Planning Team met five times before the end of the 2010-11 school year. This team helped identify areas of interest and concern from the teachers’ perspective as well as process recommendations.

Superintendent Young also hosted a meeting for CPS community and out-of-school-time partners in May 2011. All groups, as well as the CPS Curriculum Coordinators and Principals, launched their work by articulating their vision of the future under the Innovation Agenda.

Read the latest updates on the Planning Process >>