A party of 17 headteachers, teachers and governors from a group of Sheffield schools are back from a four-day visit to California where they found out more about cutting edge styles of learning.
Staff from Yewlands Technology College in Parson Cross and its feeder primaries visited High Tech High School in San Diego.
Yewlands, one of only six schools nationally involved in the project, intends to introduce a new curriculum for its 11-year-old students based on High Tech High.
The number of pupils there going on to higher education is well above the US average.
Nicola Shipman, executive headteacher at Fox Hill, Monteney and Mansel primaries, said the San Diego school produced outstanding results and lessons learned would bring real long term benefits to her children.
But some staff have criticised the trip as extravagant at a time of austerity, when budgets are under immense pressure.
No figure has been given for the cost of the trip, funded by grants from two not-for-profit education organisations.
Mrs Shipman said: “We totally understand and accept that view – but the visit was not arranged on a whim.
“None of the funding came from any of our school budgets.”