Think Forward New England

How high school education systems are adapting and innovating during COVID-19

While COVID-19 caused unimaginable disruptions to public education, we saw remarkable examples of innovation and commitment to supporting high school student success. Working with a diverse group consisting of researchers from the Center for Public Research and Leadership, SRI International, the Clayton Christensen Institute, and the Education Trust, CRPE is partnering with The Barr Foundation to map the New England region’s landscape of learning, surface new instructional approaches and strategies that solve essential problems while centering the adolescent perspective, and probe on the conditions that shape high school systems’ adaptations. Products from this project translate research findings into actionable insights for parents, practitioners, and system leaders in New England and beyond.

About the Project

Profiles of Innovation | Margarita Muñiz Academy

Carrie Parker, Emnet Shibre | 09/29/21

Margarita Muñiz Academy's development of its "Portrait of a Scholar" project led to a number of changes focused on providing greater opportunities for student voice and participation.


Off-Course: A Focused Analysis of MAP Results in Participating New England Schools


As part of our deep-dive into the pandemic’s impact on the region’s high school students’ learning, we analyzed the MAP test results for middle and high schools that participated this year.


Profiles of Innovation | Nokomis Regional High School

Sarah McCann | 08/25/21

The team at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, Maine, has spent over a decade laying the groundwork for multifaceted reforms—including interdisciplinary curriculum, project-based learning, education outside of the classroom walls, and meaningful career exploration.


Systems upgrade: Central offices join the tech revolution

Elizabeth Chu, Maddy Sims | Wed, 08/04/21

Systems should build upon operational advances made during the pandemic that yield efficient and equitable operating practices and responsive and timely decision-making.


Curricula on the cutting-room floor: What are we learning about high school priorities, scope, and goals?

Betheny Gross, Tanji Reed Marshall | Wed, 08/04/21

There are open questions about the consequences of narrowing curriculum, which students saw their curriculum most curtailed, and what we should learn about the nature of curriculum itself from the year’s experience.


Fact Sheet: How New England is using ARP funds to guide education priorities

Wed, 07/07/21

A scan across New England states reveals some examples of how they can shape education with stimulus dollars.


"Don't leave me out": Schools should use insights gained from the pandemic to strengthen partnerships with high school families

Heather Casimere, Georgia Heyward | Thu, 06/03/21

We set out to assess what family-teacher partnerships have looked like in high school throughout the pandemic—paying close attention to promising new developments and enduring areas of need.


Profiles of Innovation | Map Academy

Thomas Arnett | Thu, 05/27/21

Map Academy in Plymouth, Massachusetts, now in its second year of operation, aims to provide an education that adapts to the needs and interests of its students while maintaining high expectations.


Profiles of Innovation | Common Ground High School

Chelsea Waite | Wed, 05/06/21

Common Ground High School in New Haven, Connecticut, has made student voice and leadership not only a philosophy, but a universal principle.


In thousands of districts, 4-day school weeks are robbing students of learning time for what amounts to hygiene theater

Robin Lake, Georgia Heyward  |  Fri, 04/24/2021

Eliminating a full day of in-person instruction was always a high-cost strategy from an education standpoint, and now we have confirmation that it's unnecessary.

Help wanted: School systems must act now to support graduating seniors

Georgia Heyward, Sean Gill, Ashley Jochim  |  Thurs, 04/01/2021

A year into the pandemic, what are New England students’ prospects for successfully navigating life after high school?



How Schools Adapt during the Pandemic Can Reshape Adolescent Learning Experiences for Generations

Betheny Gross, Georgia Heyward, Sarah McCann  |  Mon, 03/03/2021

This brief, informed by interviews with school and system leaders in the New England region, suggests some efforts to reinvent schools before the pandemic have helped schools to navigate the current crisis. 

Mapping the landscape of learning in New England

Sean Gill, Ashley Jochim, Cara Pangelinan  |  Mon, 11/16/2020

Our first look suggests that the New England region’s success in driving down community transmission rates may have opened more possibilities for in-person instruction. But the region’s work to reel in the public health crisis did not translate into definitive actions on all the issues confronting students this fall. 


Explore the Data

See how New England states and school districts are responding amid the pandemic

See individual school districts' reopening guidelines and learning plans with our district database. Compare how the six New England states are assessing student needs and changing learning models with the state database. Interact with our district data with the visualization below.

If you see information in one of our databases that needs updating, please contact

Database of Innovative Schools in New England

From the Canopy Project at the Clayton Christensen Institute and Transcend

Explore a collection of innovative schools and the details about how they’re evolving their designs in response to COVID-19 and systemic racism. These schools were identified as part of the Canopy Project, a collaborative learning project led by the Christensen Institute and Transcend.

Learn more.