The Dayton Experiment

It started as an experiment. We called it the Dayton Experiment.

What might happen if you take the learning culture that fuels our fastest growing high technology companies and used that culture to re-imagine the educational experience in a school district?

In 2015, under the banner of Innovate Oregon, I 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. It is also a multicultural community, about a third of its students are Latinx.

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

And they are becoming an inspirational model for other districts around the state and beyond.

It’s a story worth telling.