New Bedford is unlikely to move forward with Innovation Zone plans for the city's middle schools.

At Monday's School Committee meeting, officials announced the district would pursue a different middle school redesign as they try to improve grades.

Superintendent Pia Durkin said the new redesign plans will give teachers flexibility to improve classroom climate, culture, and instruction.

"We're way at the beginning stage, however we do believe this is a grassroots effort for teachers to own the work and make the changes as close to those who are going to be instituting the changes as possible," Durkin told WBSM News.

According to Deputy Superintendent Jason DeFalco, teachers felt the Innovation Zone was too drastic of a change, and that more work could still be done using the current contract.

"I think [teachers] are really excited to be able to look at scheduling, look at enrichments, course offerings, and look to see what can really be done within the existing contract before going outside and doing something," DeFalco said.

Along with course offerings and scheduling changes, DeFalco said some other teacher priorities with the new redesign plans include planning time. Instead of 7th grade teachers meeting with other 7th grade teachers, DeFalco said teachers from all three levels would work together and see what is being taught at each level with specific subjects.

Although the new middle redesign is still in its infancy, officials expect to begin the planning process soon.

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