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In 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly established in law a new school district, created to improve student outcomes in low-performing schools across the state. The North Carolina Innovative School District (ISD) will partner with local communities to design and implement strategies for school improvement, creating innovative conditions for accelerating student achievement. Dr. Eric Hall was named superintendent of the Innovative School District in March.

The ISD will oversee the transfer and operation of five of the state’s lowest-performing public elementary schools and put them under the management of qualified Innovative School operators. The State Board of Education expects to select five qualifying schools for transfer to the ISD over the next few years. The ISD will start with one school in the initial 2018-2019 academic school year. Additional schools are expected to be selected and transferred to the ISD in the 2019-2020 school year. The ISD consists of two primary interventions – innovative schools and innovation zones.

What is the NCISD?
(pdf, 325kb)

ISD Legislation
(pdf, 399kb)

Innovative Schools

These are schools that have been identified by the state as low-performing schools and have been approved by the State Board of Education to be operated under the ISD by qualified Innovative School operators. These operators will work under contract for five years, with performance expectations that must be met annually. At the end of the contract, the school shall be transitioned back to the control and management of the local school district, unless other options are agreed upon by the local school board, the ISD Superintendent and approved by the State Board of Education.

Innovation Zones (I-Zones)

If a local school district partners with the ISD for the transfer of a low-performing school for operation as an Innovative School, that district may apply and be considered for the creation of a locally controlled Innovation Zone (I-Zone). The I-Zone is a strategy that provides a group of low-performing schools within a local district the opportunity to benefit from additional flexibilities, often aligned with those provided to charter schools in the state. These zones and their schools are established and managed by a separate division in the local district, using matching funds from the state. This local I-Zone office will be managed by a proven educational leader and support team, employed by the local school district, solely focused on the improvement of these schools.