TIP works with partners to explore innovation in carefully constructed initiatives that support our mission and theory of change.  This work is conducted from our “TIP Incubator.” As the name suggests, TIP is engaged in early stages of innovation where we can serve as a catalyst for change. The board-established TIP Incubator Advisory Committee guides this work.

All work within the TIP Incubator supports our foundational belief in equity for every child and every community.

In addition, we seek initiatives that provide opportunities to:

  • advance innovation across a network of schools or school districts;
  • engage in early-stage innovation or prototyping that aligns with our themes of rethinking, reimagining, and redesigning education;
  • pursue promising partnerships and grant opportunities that would be difficult for individual districts to seek on their own;
  • analyze evidence-based practices and emerging new ideas and extend them to diverse settings in order to ensure equity in opportunity
  • collaborate with a strong network of partners in the implementation and funding of initiatives.

By catalyzing the efforts of our member districts and partners around these opportunities, the TIP Incubator can accelerate the development of partners’ programs and services to increase their long-term benefit to the education community and create synergy with other TIP initiatives.

Examples of Our Work

TIP Early Learning Networks

With a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, TIP and its partners have developed and are supporting an inter-district network focused on redesigning learning environments to better address the early learning needs of vulnerable children. The TIP Early Learning Network will be comprised of cohorts of 15-20 elementary schools per year for three consecutive years. Most or all network schools will be among those categorized by the state as “low-performing.” Many will be Restart Schools.

The network will take a concerted approach to three interrelated activities that together will enable schools to achieve transformative results: transformation through school design, coaching for entrepreneurial school leadership, and innovative district supports. TIP is thrilled about our partnership with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at N.C. State to lead network school principals and school design teams through an intensive process to define learner-centered goals and strategies to improve early learning outcomes. Principals will also participate in leadership development activities specifically designed to prepare them for the unique opportunities and challenges of running innovative, entrepreneurial schools. Finally, TIP staff will work closely with superintendents and district leaders to structure their local leadership efforts to support and empower principals and school teams.

Restart Collaborative

TIP districts were the first in the state to apply for restart status for eligible schools.  Restart schools have flexibility from state laws and regulations similar to charter schools. With funding support from the Belk Foundation, TIP created a network of restart schools within TIP to build relationships and share resources to support leadership teams in the redesign of schools. 

Burroughs Wellcome Fund 2020 Pathways Scholars Program

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is supporting a partnership of The Innovation Project, NCSU and UNC for a pilot initiative that will enable selected residency licensed teachers to earn their teaching certification.   The BWF Pathway Scholars Program provides a high quality, accessible, online licensure completion program with mentoring and ongoing support to attract, prepare and retain diverse science and mathematics residency teachers in high needs TIP school districts.  Scholars will participate in Pathways to Practice, a 100% online state-approved educator preparation program between NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill. This pilot will be used to evaluate effective practices for expanding opportunities for diverse science and math teachers to teach in high needs schools in North Carolina.

Principal Leadership Study

EdLabs at Harvard University, a prominent national center for research in economics and education policy, funded and implemented a two-year study in more than 75 TIP-district schools to assess the educational impact of principal pay incentives to assure implementation by the principals of selected research-proven “best practices” to advance student academic attainment. Once the analysis is completed, there will be opportunities for further collaboration with partners for sharing the results.


PO Box 99109
Raleigh, NC 27624
Email: info@tipnc.org

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