What we do

Third Future Schools is changing the future of education. We specialize in partnering with school districts and departments of education to turnaround chronically failing schools.

A common myth in education is that it takes five years to turnaround a school. Third Future Schools has debunked this myth multiple times by taking a failing school and drastically improving student outcomes in less than two years.

In Odessa, Ector College Prep’s score on the TEA Report Card increased from 58 to 86 under our leadership, making it the highest-performing middle school in Ector County. This mirrors similar improvements in our other schools.

Eight Design Principles of a new education system

The new education system advanced by Third Future Schools is founded on 8 design principles that are markedly different than those of traditional public education.

Eight Design Principles
The new education system advanced by Third Future Schools is founded on 8 design principles that are markedly different than those of traditional public education.
Learning is increasingly focused on how to think and on Year 2035 competencies
What students need to know and do is increasingly focused on “how to think” and the competencies needed for a Year 2035 workplace and society. Students also learn how to learn. Those who govern the system adjust what students need to learn based on changing workforce requirements, community interests, and societal changes.

Year 2035 competencies are identified for each grade level

Students (grades 2 through 8) take an “Art of Thinking” course that includes critical thinking, information literacy, communications, and problem solving

Students are provided with numerous opportunities during the day to work in pairs or small groups

The school assesses students’ proficiency level in Art of Thinking and Year 2035 competencies with a semester exam and “learn how to learn rubric”

Instruction is highly differentiated every class period

The instructional model is designed to provide scaffolded grade-level instruction followed by highly differentiated instruction every class period. Students who are academically behind are given more time and guided instruction; those who are ahead are challenged.


TFS has a unique instructional model that helps its schools significantly narrow achievement gaps

Teachers provide grade-level instruction to all students with appropriate scaffolding for the first 45 minutes

Students take a “demonstration of learning” each period and are then separated into four groups for further, differentiated instruction

During the second half of class, students work at their proficiency level for that period and the specific objective for the day

Students are provided with both content knowledge and required “experiences”
The education system not only provides students instruction in core subjects, but also is designed to provide students key, relevant experiences that add to their understanding of their interests, varying perspectives, and the world.

The School has a list of requirements for each “Dyad” – 7th/8th grade Dyad; 5th/6th grade Dyad; and 3rd/4th grade Dyad

The Dyad requirements include content knowledge in core subjects, experiences, travel, public service, performance arts, etc.

The School works with students and parents to provide some experiences that align with a student’s passion or interest

Staffing model provides high quality instruction 100% of the time
The staffing paradigm provides students with high quality instruction every day (regardless of the person providing it). This also means the model provides good instruction on the first day of school and every day of the year regardless of adult absences or human resource challenges.

TFS schools do not have any vacancies – when a teacher is absent or leaves, Teacher Apprentices and Learning Coaches step into the main teacher role and can provide high quality instruction

The school hires predominantly proficient teachers; new or inexperienced teachers are provided with specific training to improve quickly

Leaders coach on-the-job and continuously

Feedback is provided every day and multiple times a day

Lesson plans, PowerPoints, visuals, DOLs, and differentiated assignments are provided to the teacher in advance

Learning happens everywhere and anytime
In the new education system learning happens everywhere. Education instruction and services are brought closer to students (to their communities and homes). When and where students learn is also much more variable and tied to student needs and interests. Students can learn some content and gain required experiences outside of the classroom or school.

Community members and groups provide expertise and support to fulfill many of the Dyad requirements

Students fulfill some of the Dyad requirements outside of the classroom or school

The employee value proposition is aligned with what the system values most
The employee value proposition and the benefits to the system are balanced. Employees receive professional wages and benefits, and good working conditions in exchange for meeting established performance outcomes and achievement metrics.

The average salary is 10 to 15 thousand dollars higher than that of the surrounding districts

The school has a differentiate compensated plan; different positions have a different compensation range

All teachers also receive incentive pay for achieving outcomes

The system reinforces a culture of “essentialness” and accountability at all levels for achieving outcomes
The employees believe that they provide an essential public service and act in ways that demonstrate how important school is in the lives of children. “Putting kids first” is purposeful and acted upon. The organization is also focused on outcomes. There is accountability for clearly defined outcomes rather than compliance requirements or process.

TFS schools are always open on a regularly scheduled day; no snow days or other closures

Teachers receive nine personal days a year and there are no docked days

TFS schools have 185 student-teacher contact days a year

Governing entities check and balance one another and encourage innovation
The New education system uses a governance model that ensures those who establish policies do not also operate the system’s schools, departments, or functions. Governing bodies in the new system are charged with aligning the system to the design principles and with continuous innovation.

There is an overarching group – Network Board or Council – that keeps the local or state-level boards in check

The Network Board may insist that up to 5% of the budget is spent on innovation as they define it

The CEO contract and Board Bylaws clearly delineate roles and responsibilities and gives full operational control to the CEO

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