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Announcing Summit 2015 Opening Speaker: Brené Brown

We are honored to announce that Brené Brown will join us as the opening plenary speaker at Summit 2015 on May 6.  Brené has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.  Her research has helped thousands of leaders learn how to turn difficult situations into opportunities for connection and growth.  Her keynote will launch a day of conversation and exploration around how education leaders, teachers, parents and students can harness […] Read more

New Talent to Support Our Strategy

A couple of weeks ago we shared an infographic about our strategic direction over the next few years.New folks are joining the team with the background and skills we need to invest in and support entrepreneurs in our priority areas. Here’s an up to date look at new members of our innovative schools and tools & services investment teams.Innovative Schools teamScott Benson joined us at the beginning of February to lead this […] Read more

Boston Charter Schools: Great Places to Teach and Learn

In 2013, the Boston charter school sector received significant attention for its strong academic performance after the release of two important studies. A CREDO study found that students in Boston charter schools gain an additional 12 months of learning in reading and 13 months of learning in math than their district school peers. These findings were reinforced by a study from MIT, supported by NewSchools, which documented that charter students are outperforming […] Read more

NewSchools’ Strategy at a Glance

Over the past month, we have been sharing a couple of the pillars of our strategy going forward.  The infographic below captures our vision, rationale and approach in a more visual way.  We’re excited to share it, and even more excited about the work ahead.A quick note: in addition to these strategic focus areas, we have a continuing commitment to diversify education leadership and to generate high quality school choices in Washington, […] Read more

What NewSchools Has Taught Me

by Derrick Spencer, UNCF-Walton Ed. Reform Fellow and DCSF Intern About this time last year I decided to apply to the UNCF-Walton Ed. Reform Fellowship, which consequently landed me an interview with NewSchools Venture Fund. I thought the fellowship would be the perfect opportunity not only to learn, but also to actively participate in education reform.  Prior to my experience with NewSchools, I was knowledgeable of some basic pedagogical theories and classroom management skills, […] Read more

Redesigning Schools for Today’s Students and Beyond

Over the last few years, the education community has heard plenty of buzz about the growth in education technology and digital learning. For instance, as New Schools’ Seed Fund team highlighted in a December blog, overall investment in ed tech companies once again rose significantly in 2014. And since last October when the White House launched Future Ready, an effort to support school districts and charter networks as they incorporate more digital […] Read more

Crossing the Classroom Chasm: Breaking into the Ed sector

“What would you say is the greatest challenge the education sector is facing today?” he asked. I paused for a moment before winding up for what I thought was the interview equivalent of a softball lob, and then answered with, “the lack of financial resources dedicated to education.”“The United States actually spends more per student than any other country,” he said. (The National Center for Education Statistics last reported that the US […] Read more

Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Education Reform

Great schools matter for kids. I believe they are the most powerful force we have for reducing economic and social inequality in the United States over the long run. But it’s a mistake to work on “fixing” schools while ignoring the conditions and beliefs that make it possible for chronically underperforming schools to persist in the first place. Or the crushing realities they perpetuate in communities across the country. Read more

Diversity: Why is it Important?

I remember the exact moment I realized the importance of diversity in education reform. This realization occurred during a diversity exercise at the opening retreat for a high school leadership program. Ironically, I realized how important diversity was through an exercise that I thought was counterproductive to the inclusive aspect of diversity.We were standing in a circle and the exercise called for us to close our eyes, listen to a series of […] Read more

Boston Charter Schools: A Limited Opportunity

Andys is one of an increasing number of English language learners (ELLs) who have chosen to enroll in charter schools. Research shows that charter schools serve ELLs and other students with special needs more effectively. However, many students are unable to access the higher quality of services that these schools provide because of the Massachusetts charter cap. It’s time to lift the cap on charter schools so that more students, and particularly those with the highest levels of need, can attend the best schools. Read more