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Transform learning in your community

WPS works with forward-thinking leaders in communities across the country

Let's Work Together

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​We offer a lattice of support to catalyze innovation:
  • vision & program co-design 
  • exposure to innovative models nationwide 
  • professional learning for community- and school based-educators
  • seed funding  
  • ongoing implementation support 
  • learning network development
  • program evaluation
  • documentation & codification

Case Study: Community Innovation in Salem, Massachusetts 

“If you talk to young people, they will tell you how disengaged and uninspired they can be with school. Not everybody—school does work for some middle schoolers—but it doesn’t work for enough kids. The voices of our students for me was a point of urgency, and led to conversations that then Mayor Driscoll, our Lt. Governor, and I had. We both fixated on the need to urgently think differently about middle school.”

- Dr. Stephen Zrike, Superintendent: 
Salem Public Schools

WPS partners with Salem Public Schools by offering a lattice of support for the reimagining middle school initiative. Collins Middle School, home to the pilot, is a Title 1 school serving just over 600 students in grades six to eight, located in the diverse coastal community of Salem, MA. 

Middle School Learning Pilot
Pilot Overview

To create a diverse learning environment, the pilot implemented a lottery process to deliberately mirror the demographics of the school overall.


Students Served '22-'23:

  • 40-45 8th graders


  • 67% FRPL

  • 12% Hispanic or Latino

  • 23% Black

  • 16% Two or More Races

  • 2% Asian

  • 47% White

The pilot team has devoted significant time to building a strong culture of student belonging, responsibility and respect, which is an essential foundation for self-directed and community-embedded learning. The academic program cultivates engagement and relevance by equipping students to be active designers, makers, and problem solvers in their community.  Year 1 results measured by the Transcend Leaps Student Voice Survey demonstrate progress on shifting students' perception of school. While the growth is promising, the numbers demonstrate a clear imperative for continued programs that address engagement and relevance.

Reimagining Middle School

In Year 2, the pilot now serves  45 8th graders and 45 7th graders. SPS and WPS continue their collaboration, building on the learnings and success of the 22-23 school year. We plan to deepen existing community partnerships and integrate design studio learning more thoroughly into core academic subjects. New pilot design features in Year 2 include an initiative to build career pathway exposure; leveraging industry partnerships within our community-based learning model.

"We all support each other. Sometimes things can happen, but by the end of the day, we’re all family. We’re a big community...the kids who have a hard time, we lift them up, and they lift us up.”


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Partner with the Middle School Learning Pilot

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