Recommended Study Tours and Site Visits to 21st Century Schools and Districts

Seeing students engaged in 21st Century Learning and interacting with them is a great help to visiting educators to envision the possibilities in their own schools and districts. Here are the study tours and site visits to 21st Century schools and districts that I recommend. Email me at to add your study tour and site visit to this list. -- Bob, November, 2015

PBL Institutes and 21C Conferences | Recommended PBL Trainers

District Transformation Learning Walks, Napa, CA. Register here.

2015: Thursday, November 5;
2016: Thursday, January 28; Friday, February 26; Thursday, March 17; Thursday, April 14

The LeadIn Napa Deeper Learning Walk is a full day experience that showcases the NVUSD's transformation to a 21st Century District. Through visits to multiple schools K-12, participants observe a focus on the alignment of technology-infused, project-based learning classrooms that foster the development of 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. District Transformation Learning Walks include visits to multiple schools within Napa Valley Unified School District (NexTech Schools and New Tech High). See Learning Walk Agenda from April 24, 2015, NVUSD Digital PBL Observation Form, LeadIn Napa brochure,and Slides from American Canyon High School, one of the visit sites.

See web profile of the Napa Valley Unified School District on this website.

Napa New Tech High School (NTHS) Study Tours, Napa, CA

Visit New Tech High, one of the country's most innovative schools and the flagship school of the New Tech Network. Participants will tour the campus, visit classrooms, and interact informally with students and staff. Study Tour Dates:

2016: October 11, October 25, November 8, December 6
2017: January 24, February 21, March 21, April 25, May 9

See “Designing a new way to start the school year", by Denise Plowman, August 20, 2015. New Tech students spent their first three days of school year 2015 in an intensive all-school challenge.

See web profile of Napa NTHS on this website.

Big Picture Learning School Visits to the Met Center, Providence, RI

Big Picture Learning will be hosting visitors at its flagship campus – the Met Center in Providence, RI – on the dates indicated below:

  • Wednesday, October 28, 2015
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2015
  • Thursday, January 28, 2016
  • Wednesday, March 2, 2016
  • Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dates at the Met Center in Providence were selected to (a) provide potential attendees with a number options during the school year to choose from; (b) minimize disruption for advisors and students and (c) offer opportunities to witness many of the features that distinguish Big Picture Learning network schools.

While we are thrilled to welcome visitors interested in learning about our unique design, it can be a challenge to adjust time and resources so that staff and students are available to spend one-on-one time with you during your visit. Therefore we assess a $250 per person site visit fee that enables us to compensate for any disruption.

New Tech Network Tours of Exemplary School Demonstration Sites

Tours are open to educators, business leaders, community leaders and economic development organizations. The purpose of these tours is to give visitors an overview of how our schools operate. On every Study Tour, visitors have an opportunity to:

  • Walk the campus and observe students and teachers working on projects
  • Discuss teaching that engages, technology that enables, and positive small-school culture
  • Hear students talk about their work

See list of demonstration sites. To request such a tour, email or fill out our contact form and we will set you up on the next available tour.

High Tech High Extended Tours, San Diego, CA

Extended tours are intended for groups who would like an in-depth introduction to HTH but are unable to attend a residency or institute. Extended tours are customized and can include: a student-led tour of the schools, meeting with HTH leadership, and a lunch panel with teachers or students. Extended Tours are offered daily. The fee is $250/ per person/ per day.

NSBA Education Technology Site Visits

April 20-22, 2016: Colonial School District, New Castle, DE
Colonial School District is an innovative school district located in Northern Delaware serving a diverse population of approximately 9,800 students from Pre-K to 12th grade.

May 4-6, 2016: Sunnyside Unified School District, Tucson, AZ
As the second largest school district in Pima County, AZ, Sunnyside serves 17,000 students pre-K through 12 in 22 schools, including two large high schools.

Why site visits are vital to tech rollouts, By Ann Lee Flynn, February 19th, 2015 -- NSBA's Director of Education Technology, Ann Flynn, writes about why education technology site visits are important to allowing educators to grasp the essential conditions needed to support technology innovation.

School Transformation Study Visits: Hillsdale High School, San Mateo, CA

Learn how Hillsdale has used their shared leadership model and Smaller Learning Communities (SLCs) to build teacher buy-in to a coherent instructional model that aligns their graduate portfolio to a senior performance based assessment, tied to ninth-12th grade instructional goals and teacher professional development. Participants will learn how to effect change within their own school communities by using teachers’ best practice to align instruction to the Common Core. These practices will be evident throughout the visit. Participants will have time to talk with Hillsdale leadership, staff, and students and observe instruction, teacher collaboration, and professional development. Contact Sonya Keller: See Flyer 2016-17.

  • Day One – At Stanford University: Overview of the school, the change process, and the concept of instructional coherence. Teams will reflect on their own experiences and goals.
  • Day Two – At Hillsdale High School: Observing advisories, instruction, teacher collaboration, and professional development and in conversation with teachers, students, and administrative

Dates: October 17-18, 2016 (Registration closes 9/23/2016) and February 13-14, 2017 (Registration closes 1/13/2017).

Costs: $595 per person. $550 per person for teams of six or more. Fees include materials, lunch, and refreshments on Day One; breakfast and lunch on Day Two. Travel and lodging costs not included.

Tech Valley High School (TVHS), Albany, New York

Tech Valley High School offers educators professional development tours during the school year designed to spread the word about project-based learning and the kind of education that happens at TVHS.

The three-hour “study tour” provides a deep exploration of project-based learning and the college and career standards integrated in TVHS classes. The tours features a classroom learning walk – a guided observation of a project-based learning lesson – as well as a student panel discussion and a general overview of project design at TVHS. The tour also gives participants an opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with a PBL coach.

The study tours will take place throughout the school year on the second Wednesday of most months. There is a small charge for this longer, educational exploration of project-based learning. You can sign up for a study tour of TVHS and PBL instruction here.

For more information about information sessions or to sign up for any of the study tours, contact Danielle Bouton-Wales at

See web profile of TVHS on this website.

Manor New Technology High School (MNTHS), Manor, TX (near Austin)

Study tours of MNTHS include:

  • Overview of School - Principal
  • Student Led Tour of MNTH
  • Lunch with Teachers
  • Examples of Project Base Learning Processes
  • Student Panel
  • Debrief/Takeaways - Principal

A Flash Drive provided with examples of Projects, Case Studies, Keynote Presentation and Miscellaneous information is provided to study tour attendees.

See web profile of MNTHS on this website.

Study Tours from the Successful Practices Network and the International Center for Leadership in Education

Model School Study Tours to some of America’s most rapidly improving schools in 2015-2016. See Schools and Dates. Designed for multi-member teams from districts and/or individual schools. Registration fees vary between $200-$300 per person depending on the school(s) selected.