The Incubator School K-12 Breakthrough Models

School: Incubator School (Inc.)
Grades Served: 6-12
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Operator: Los Angeles Unified School District
Operator Type: District
Setting: Urban
Students at Start: 51
Students at Capacity: 735
Blended Model Type: Lab Rotation and Flex 

Key Features: Project-Based and Experiential Learning, Community Partnerships, Social-Emotional Development 

The Operator:
The Incubator School (Inc.) is a 21st century learning, entrepreneurship-themed Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) pilot school whose 8th graders launch a startup within school and whose 12th graders launch or work at one in the “real world.” The school developers think of the school as a startup whose product is an education students want and need. Eight core values summarize the school’s culture:

  • Everyone is important.
  • Mindsets matter.
  • Problems and mistakes are creative opportunities.
  • A changing world requires changing learning.
  • Learning is relevant, personal, and fun.Product is public.
  • Connecting is key.
  • BITE: Boldness, Integrity, Tenacity, and Effort 

The Academic Model:

  • Inc.’s ultimate outcome is graduating creative, competent, self-starting innovators with experience designing and launching a startup. Therefore the curriculum and the school itself emphasize entrepreneurship.
  • One-third of students’ daily schedule is a rotation and flex ELA/Math Blended Learning Lab focused on Common Core standards-based skill development.
  • Design Studio focuses on deep, integrative learning in social science and science project- based learning
  • In the Incubator Period, students explore themselves in the world, emphasizing social- emotional and learning strategies development, as well as financial literacies 

The Organizational Model:

  • Pilot schools were formed via a joint agreement between the LAUSD and the United Teachers of Los Angeles to serve as models of mission-driven innovation within the second largest school district in the nation. Pilot schools have relative autonomy over budget, staffing, governance, curriculum and assessment, and the school calendar.
  • To grow and manage human capital, Inc. is experimenting with online courses, MOOCs, peer coaching and training, and professional development from partner organizations. 
NGLC Wave IV Cycle 2 Launch Incubator School
Application Deck, a snapshot of their academic model

The Incubator School received a planning grant from NGLC in July 2013, via its incubator partner Future Is Now Schools, to support the development of this school model.