The Dayton Experiment

It started as an experiment.

What might happen if you modeled the educational experience after the learning culture of fast-growing technology companies?

In 2015, under the banner of Innovate Oregon, we embarked on this adventure in Dayton Oregon, a rural community in Yamhill County. Dayton is a town of 2,500 people where more than two-thirds of its students live near the poverty line. In this culturally diverse community, about a third of its students are Hispanic.

We call this new culture Agile. It was birthed in 2001 as a movement and continues to transform how software is being developed and how companies are being managed. Could it also transform how we are preparing the next generation of students to be the makers in a new creative economy?

The experiment blossomed beyond anyone’s expectations. In four years, Dayton’s graduation rate increased 14% to 97%, one of the highest in the state – 18% above the state average. The town has a 10 Gig fiber internet network, the fastest on the entire west coast, built by a committed local partner. Dayton’s teachers are working with industry partners to pioneer new programs for other schools.

And Dayton is becoming an inspirational model for other districts around the state and beyond.

It’s a story worth telling.

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