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Elevating the Educator Voice: Reflections on SXSWedu 2013

Now that I have recovered from the flurry of activity that took place at this year’s SXSWedu conference, I have started to reflect on what I hope to see at next year’s conference as well as what I personally would have done differently. I enjoyed hearing the latest on personalization, data analytics, game-based learning, and the Maker movement and was impressed with the passionate entrepreneurs who went through great lengths to pitch to me. However, I left the conference wishing I had built more connections with educators and school leaders. Read more

Welcoming Ellevation to the NewSchools Portfolio

NewSchools Venture Fund is pleased to welcome Ellevation Education to our portfolio! Ellevation provides a set of tools for teachers and administrators who work with English language learners (ELLs). It saves time and simplifies compliance requirements, so that educators can focus on their most important task—helping ELL students to succeed. Read more

A closer look at K12 edtech venture funding part II

Learners from ages zero to eighteen have a lot to be excited about. In the last 365 days, 74 companies focused on the K12 demographic (both in and out of school) have been funded by venture backers for a total of $427 million[1]. At the Seed Fund, we participated in 13 of these and got to see many more.  Here, we share with you our analysis of the types of companies funded […] Read more

‘Tis the season

“If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible — from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.”—President Barack ObamaWe all know that our school system needs help.  That our kids are not prepared well in comparison to their counterparts in other developed countries.  We know achievement gaps persist. While the gap between white and […] Read more

Introducing Jason Singer, our new entrepreneur-in-residence

Almost a year ago nearly to the day, at an edtech holiday party, I met Jason Singer, who shared his idea for an interactive e-reader with me.  I was hoping he would act on his idea but as principal of KIPP King Collegiate High School and with a young family at home, I knew he had a full load.Fast forward a year later and Jason has launched his company, Gobstopper, recruited a […] Read more

rational [edtech] exuberance

­­I’ve been enjoying the thoughtful pieces on the increased excitement about education technology from Frank Catalano in GeekWire, Betsy Corcoran in All Things D and Audrey Watters in Hack Education.  From our vantage point at NewSchools, the excitement is palpable. Our education technology pipeline has increased 5x from last year and at least 10x from 2010.  Educators in our portfolio schools are energized by the new teacher tools, blended learning supports and […] Read more

Pathbrite and readImagine: the cool ideas that didn’t get on the TODAY Show

Even if you didn’t see the TODAY show last Wednesday, you’ve probably heard a good bit about the winners of the Innovation Challenge, the contest NewSchools ran last week in partnership with Citi and NBC News as part of the three-day Education Nation programming. You may have heard less about the two runners-up, and that’s too bad, because their ideas are important and, dare we say it, beautiful.As you know if you […] Read more

NoRedInk Wins Citi Innovation Challenge

A hearty congratulations and a warm welcome to NoRedInk this morning, winners of the 2012 Citi Innovation Challenge!  Led by entrepreneurs Jeff Scheur and Leo Shmuylovich, NoRedInk creates content and tutorials from students’ favorite celebrities, friends, and personal interests to help them practice grammar and writing skills. The team will receive a $75,000 prize and the opportunity to join NewSchools Portfolio—the most innovative, promising, early-stage entrepreneurial organizations working to make a difference in public […] Read more

The Innovation Challenge

Today marks the start of the Citi Innovation Challenge, which will culminate in a live pitch session at NBC News’ “Education Nation” Summit on Tuesday, September 25th. For a second year, NewSchools is partnering with NBC and Citi to design and carry out the Innovation Challenge. This year’s Challenge will feature three startups: ReadImagine, Pathbrite and NoRedInk. I’m excited about this year’s Challenge because now more then ever, we need the optimism and […] Read more

Education Entrepreneurs: Joel Rose & Chris Rush

Joel Rose and Chris Rush launched the first School of One program in New York City in 2009 at a time when few had heard about the promise of blended learning. Combining teacher-led instruction, technology-enabled individual tutoring, small group learning stations, and a unique scheduling algorithm that helped create a personalized learning program each day for each student, the program demonstrated the power of technology to customize learning based on each student’s […] Read more