Local community partners range from local officials, parents and faith leaders to small businesses and they are vital to our efforts of improving low-performing schools across North Carolina. As we address the challenges and barriers to student success, we look to partner with community groups to build a strong network of education advocates.

The Innovative School District’s (ISD) inaugural school began operations in the 2018-19 school year at Southside Ashpole Elementary in Rowland, NC. After some initial trepidation, the local community embraced the partnership and worked together with the ISD to create the conditions necessary to increase student growth and achievement. To learn more, watch the video below:


ISD's Parent and Family Engagement Policy


The Innovative School District (ISD) recognizes the importance of parent and family engagement in the pursuit of the highest levels of achievement for every child. The partnership between parents, families and schools is a critical component for student success. We recognize the role of parents and families as the first and most influential educators in a student’s life.

Read full policy


Education Partners


NC Department of Public Instruction

The NC Department of Public Instruction works in partnership with the ISD and the operators to oversee the transfer of selected schools.


Public Schools of Robeson County

The Public Schools of Robeson County have partnered with us throughout the planning phase and in the transition of Southside-Ashpole to the new operator. We are working closely with the Robeson County School Board on services including facility maintenance, child nutrition, transportation and more.


Out Teach – Go Outside Expectations

Out Teach helps teachers integrate experiential learning in their instruction. Outdoor classrooms provide countless ways to connect Math, Science, and Language Arts to the real world, and adds relevance, purpose, and meaning to daily instruction. By combining proven professional training with exciting outdoor spaces, Out Teach empowers teachers to create unforgettable learning experiences and measurable results.

Through a multi-year professional learning program, Out Teach’s seasoned instructional coaches hold group trainings and one-on-one sessions to make it easy for any teacher to lead effective experiential lessons outdoors.

Research and Innovation Partners



Through a grant, IBM, a global technology company, led ISD leaders in an intensive workshop to concept and develop the organization’s long-term strategic plan.


North Carolina State University’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation

The Friday Institute’s work focuses on helping schools become future-oriented organizations that build upon their traditional strengths to best serve the students of today and tomorrow. They are working with the ISD to create a data-driven and evidence-based framework for measuring and evaluating the success of ISD schools. The scope of work addresses three phases of the process for planning the longer-term evaluation of the North Carolina Innovative School District:

  1. Development among ISD staff of an Internal Vision for the ISD and the associated Innovation Zones
  2. Initial analysis of similarities and differences between the ISD and ISD-like models in other states
  3. Development of a Four-Year Evaluation Plan that captures both external (e.g., North Carolina General Assembly, School District, Community, etc.) and internal (ISD, NC Department of Public Instruction) formative and summative evaluation needs.


SchoolWorks is an education consulting company. Their mission is to build the capacity of educators to advance all aspects of student achievement and well-being.

The ISD contracts with SchoolWorks to develop and conduct an independent evaluation process for prospective Innovative School Operators (ISOs). The comprehensive and transparent evaluations provided by SchoolWorks help the ISD superintendent to make informed decisions on operator selection and making recommendations to the NC State Board of Education for approval.

SchoolWorks is also a partner in a continuous improvement effort to revise, improve and/or streamline the application and evaluation processes as necessary.

Become a Partner

Interested in becoming a partner? The North Carolina Innovative School District is building a network of partners from community groups, nonprofits and local companies, to research institutions and education advocates. We want to hear from you.

Want to learn more about being a partner? Contact us.