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Welcome Zach Levine, Learning to Teach EIR

How are we meant to prepare our children for a harder future when we don’t have enough teachers, let alone qualified ones, to inspire them? This is a crisis. A crisis of both quantity and quality of the most important ingredient for a first-rate education system. Fortunately many have heeded the call and are working hard to address this serious but solvable issue, including our new Learning to Teach Entrepreneur in Residence, Zach Levine. I’m thrilled to welcome Zach to NewSchools and thankful that he’s working with us to found ElevatED, a new nonprofit that adds to the shared mission of NewSchools and our partners to improve STEM education by building a cadre of great STEM teachers. Read more

NewSchools Invests in Accelerator to Elevate Leaders of Color

It is often stated that education is the civil rights issue of our time. While there are many aspects related to equity in education that need to be addressed, a particular area of concern for NewSchools is the lack of racial diversity in leadership roles representing the very communities we serve. In a step toward change, NewSchools is pleased to be working with Carmita Vaughan on a leadership accelerator to identify, train and provide career counsel to emerging leaders of color in the education reform movement. Read more

Book Smarts vs Street Smarts: aka Edtech Founders as Action Researchers

Last week I was in Boston visiting two of our portfolio companies, BetterLesson and Socrative. Spending time with entrepreneurs is, by far, the best part of my job. I’m always moved by the passion of our entrepreneurs. As always, Ben Berte (Socrative) and Alex Grodd (BetterLesson) left me inspired by their commitment to supporting teachers. However, in this visit, I took away a new appreciation for how technology products are moving beyond just teacher productivity and into deeper issues of instruction and teacher learning. Read more

Announcing Readworks.org: The Best Kept Secret in Reading Comprehension

We are thrilled to welcome Readworks.org to the Seed Fund portfolio. It’s a humble and hardworking nonprofit, with a maniacal focus on quality. They’ve mostly flown under the radar since their founding in 2010, spending zero dollars on marketing. Even so, they’ve grown organically through teacher word of mouth resulting in 3 million reading lessons downloaded and 270 websites linked to their materials. Read more

Innovators in Education

After 15 years of working to improve education by supporting and enabling the ideas and efforts of passionate innovators, instead of looking back, NewSchools Venture Fund is looking 15 years further down the road. We believe that looking toward the future is key to preparing for it. We also believe that the best way to understand the future is to listen to those creating it. Hear from NewSchools entrepreneurs about the challenges facing education, the solutions they are creating and the visions of the future informing and driving their work forward. Read more

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