Overview » What is a Pilot School

What is a Pilot School

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Pilot Schools are a network of public schools that have autonomy over budget, staffing , governance, curriculum & assessment, and the school calendar. These autonomies allow them to operate with greater flexibility in order to best meet their students’ needs.

Pilot Schools were created to be models of educational innovation and to serve as research and development sites for effective urban public schools.

Pilot Schools are:
  • Innovative: Pilot schools embody innovative educational reforms that lead to improved student outcomes and model best practices of 21st century education.
  • Vision and Mission-Driven: Each school has a unifying vision and mission that is reflected in all school practices and structures, including curriculum, assessment, policies, schedule, professional development, and family engagement.
  • Small: Optimal school size is between 400 to 500 students. Small schools enable teachers, students, and families to build strong relationships in a safe environment.
  • Research-Based: Pilot schools embody sound educational philosophies, practices, programs, curricula, pedagogy, and assessments.
  • Equitable: Patterns of achievement across race/ethnicity, gender, language, disabilities and socioeconomic status are examined so that schools become inclusive communities that ensure all students reach high levels of achievement and readiness for college and career.
  • Student-Centered:
    • High expectations are explicit for every member of the school community, including preparing students to meet A-G curriculum requirements.
    • A rigorous core academic curriculum that is provided to all students.
    • Student learning is purposeful and provides differentiated and real world pathways to understanding. Students use creative problem solving and actively apply their knowledge.
    • Students are empowered to be responsible for their learning, thereby increasing their engagement and intrinsic motivation.
    • Pilot schools use multiple forms of assessment, including exhibitions and portfolios, in addition to standardized tests. Students are expected to demonstrate their understanding of key competencies and their relevance to the world.
  • Partners with Parents and Community: Pilot Schools work closely with parents and with the community in which they are located. Parents are engaged as partners in their children's academic achievement and the community provides resources for schools and students.
  • Professional Learning Communities: Pilot schools place an emphasis on shared decision-making and responsibility for student achievement. In order to sustain a supportive culture, teachers work in teams and are provided with ample time for professional learning.
  • Self-Governed and Led: The people closest to the students make school and policy decisions. Governing boards have increased decision-making power over the school's vision, budget approval, principal selection and evaluation, and policies.