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What Does the Innovative School Look Like? Interview with Dr. Tom King

Interview 11 of Twittering for Education

I gather weekly with educators who envision the ideal school. We collaborate online for what we believe would be the environment students should learn. I believe we learn through models of schools that demonstrate innovative practices. In 1989 such an innovative school did exist, the Saturn School, and my guest this week, Dr. Tom King (@ProfTK) was the founder and Director.

How did the Saturn school differ from the norm?

  • was a magnet school serving students in grades 4 – 8, many at risk, and parents could choose to send their children there instead of the local public school
  • noted for its innovative uses with technology at a time technology not as highly developed
  • visited by the current president at the time, President George Bush Sr., who spoke with the children
  • used local resources such as the public library, the science and art museums, state and local government
  • established mentorships and apprenticeships with businesses and agencies
  • had differentiated staffing: a lead teacher, associate teachers for curriculum, generalist teachers, intern teachers
  • had a longer school year, ungraded, no report cards or textbooks, instead had student portfolios
  • had a school council of staff, parents and students

I recently interviewed Dr. Tom King about his success at getting such a school established. Listen to his interview where he shares incredible insights about school reform and how we can make our dreams for education a reality.

More Information

A preview of the Saturn School as told by the students:

** Discover research, news articles, and so much more about the Saturn School by visiting this website, Saturn School of Tomorrow (1989-2003)


Tom King is a retired math teacher, the founder of the Saturn School of Tomorrow, adjunct professor for 35 years +, husband, father, grampa, friend, tennis and golf partner, coffee buddy, reader, photographer, poet, and a marveling lifelong learner. He blogs at Tom King’s Blog of De-Fog and tweets by the handle, @profTK. Read his previous contributions to Teacher Reboot Camp.

Previous Interviews

Check out the previous interviews Twittering for Education- Jo and Phil Hart, Twittering for Education- Eric and Melissa Sheninger, Twittering for Education- Will and Elle Deyamport, Connected Principals- George Couros, 1:1 Programs- Rich Kiker, Mobile Learning with Kids- Scott Newcomb, Effective Leadership: Interview with Patrick Larkin, Using Skype for ELT Lessons: Interview with Marisa Pavan, Teachers as Leaders and Continuous Learners: Interview with Dr. Doug Green, and Blogging with Students: Interview with Greta Sandler.


Ask Dr. Tom King for help or support in getting your school to implement innovative change! He’s willing to Skype with your administrators!

If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe for FREE!

What are your thoughts about school reform?


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  • November 7, 2010 - 23:59 | Permalink

    Thanks, Shelly!

    You did a great job in summarizing the key issues of our innovative Saturn School of Tomorrow.

    I hope these resources will be helpful to other interested in school reform.

    If I can be of any help, please contact me at

  • November 8, 2010 - 00:46 | Permalink

    love it.. thanks guys..

  • November 8, 2010 - 10:16 | Permalink

    For those who would like more information on this project, my colleague, Bob Pearlman of PBLnet fame, has created a website listing many related links and resources:

    For more info, please contact me at


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  • Josh
    November 8, 2010 - 18:07 | Permalink

    Check out what New Haven, CT is doing with their schools!

    • November 9, 2010 - 08:39 | Permalink

      Sounds exciting. We need more such efforts. All the best luck!

  • Pingback: Educational Blog Digest November 9th 2010 | Creative Education Blog

  • November 9, 2010 - 06:20 | Permalink

    I highlighted your post in my Daily Digest of Education related blogs today as I thought other teachers would find it of interest. You can see it here:

    • November 9, 2010 - 08:42 | Permalink

      Many thanks for spreading the word about all the good and useful news in education and technology!

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  • November 10, 2010 - 16:43 | Permalink

    Dear Dr. King,
    What an inspiration you are! Your commitment to the power of transformational learning is something to be highly valued these days.
    Many thanks again for your inspirational message…I agree…Never, Never, Never, Give-up on your dreams. :)

  • November 10, 2010 - 16:50 | Permalink

    It’s a delight to read the comments of folks who see things as they might be and dream new ways!

    Thanks to all for the encouraging words!

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