top of page

Compass Montessori School is a preK–12 public charter school in Colorado. In keeping with the Montessori philosophy, the school nurtures the whole child. Multi-age classrooms, with children acting as both students and teachers, foster a close-knit caring community where children learn to respect themselves, others and the environment. Children progress at their own pace, mastering a set progression of skills and learning objectives through learning by doing. This self-paced curriculum with traditional Montessori materials encourages independence, problem-solving, and a lifelong love of learning.

Da Vinci Schools is a public charter school network serving 2,100 students in four high schools, a K–8 home-school-hybrid model, and a college completion pathway program. It puts project-based, real-world learning aligned to workforce needs at the center of a collaborative learning environment. Industry and higher education partners play a vital role by defining the knowledge and skills students need to learn for college and 21st century jobs. Learning is up close, personal, and hands-on. Its goal is to graduate students who are college-ready, career-prepared, and community-minded.

Lindsay Unified School District is described in some detail in chapter 7 of the book.

Met High School is a network of six small, public high schools located in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island. With strong family engagement, it uses an individualized learning approach to unlock students’ passion for learning. It empowers students to take charge of their learning, to become responsible citizens and life-long learners. The hallmarks of a Met education include internships, individual learning plans, advisory, and a breakthrough college transition program. Advisors work with mentors, parents and students to build a personalized curriculum around the students’ interests, searching out professionals in the community to pursue those interests in the real world.

Minnesota New Country School is described in some detail in chapter 7.

Montessori Schools is a revolutionary method of observing and supporting the natural development of children. It helps children develop creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and time-management skills, care of the environment and each other, and prepares them to contribute to society and to become fulfilled persons. The basis of Montessori practice is mixed age grouping (ages spanning three to six years in one class), individual choice of research and work, and uninterrupted concentration.

Sanborn Regional School District in New Hampshire has been undergoing a transformation to PCBE since 2009, with impressive results. Their transformation is based on three Cs: Collaboration (PLCs, small learning communities, collaborative learning), Competency (competency-based, whole child), and Culture and climate (student engagement, PBL, community engagement, flexible grouping; (Sanborn Regional School District, 2015).

Summit Public Schools initially operated six charter schools in San Jose, California, that serve primarily low-income and immigrant families. In an area where only 39 percent of high school students complete the right courses to be eligible to attend four-year college, “almost all of Summit’s twelfth graders have been accepted to at least one four-year college” (Childress & Benson, 2014, p. 35). They personalize learning by offering blended learning that features an individualized playlist showing what students have mastered and what they should do next, and providing access to a range of resources from Khan Academy, other OER providers, and Summit teachers themselves. Student progress is competency-based, self-paced, and self-directed. The schools use expeditionary learning to promote critical thinking, and they offer a “Tutoring Bar,” inspired by the Apple Genius Bar, to provide one-on-one tutoring on demand. With support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Summit Learning Program is now being used in more than 380 schools with over 72,000 students. One of their schools is Summit Denali in the San Francisco Bay area.


Thrive Public Schools is a National Model for Next Generation Learning. It creates a personalized learning path for each student and adjusts instruction to meet their needs. It helps students tap into their personal strengths and passions through project-based learning that helps them develop critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, motivation, communication, and cooperation. They learn to be goal setters and direct their own learning. Thrive builds excitement for learning through partnerships with community organizations and businesses. Students use interactive, tech-based learning programs to proceed at their own pace toward mastery of skills and concepts. Finally, Thrive instills a deep sense of community in students. It is a social and emotional learning school.

Two Rivers Public Charter School is two public charter schools (preK–8 and preK–3) in Washington, DC. It uses expeditionary learning, in which students learn by addressing complex, open-ended problems. At the completion of learning expeditions, students participate in a showcase to present the results of their expeditions. It also uses the Responsive Classroom approach to create a safe environment where children are able to take risks, both academic and social, to help children understand the importance of kindness toward and acceptance of all people, to celebrate differences in people and cultures, and to learn important social skills such as empathy and problem solving.

Valor Collegiate Academies is a public charter school network in Nashville, TN. It has broadened the vision for education by placing whole-child development at the core of its model, called the Compass Framework, but not at the expense of developing intellectual prowess. Working the Compassmeans growing in body, heart, mind, and spirit. The Compass Phase System (a playlist-like curriculum) is in many ways like the process of earning badges in Boy Scouts. Students perform different experiential tasks that are designed to help them grow in a habit(s) and a discipline within the Compass. Then comes the Circle Processin which the work of the Phase System is presented to a group of peers. This helps to develop strong relationships and a sense of community.

School Systems that Have Implemented PCBE

Here are some schools to consider visiting to see their PCBE visions implemented.  Please keep in mind that the Education 3.0 paradigm (PCBE) is still in the early stages of development, much like air transportation as a new paradigm of transportation during the 1930s.  PCBE is already more effective than Education 2.0, but as with the airplane, great advances will continue to be made for decades.  The following are a some of the schools and school districts or networks that offer varying visions of PCBE in action, and they are all in a state of continual improvement.  Visits to a few of these schools can be a huge help in developing your own ideal vision of PCBE.  

bottom of page