Since 1998, NewSchools Venture Fund has invested over $100 million in scaling innovative, high-performing charter management organizations. Here is a quick run-down of what these investments have accomplished over the past year, and where we are headed from here.
This year, current and alumni members of the NewSchools portfolio helped open 37 new charter and turnaround schools. Our portfolio of school investments now includes 331 schools providing a high-quality education to more than 130,500 students in 16 states. The majority of these students (83%) are from low-income households. If the NewSchools portfolio were a district, it would be roughly equivalent to the 19th-largest school district in the country (San Diego).
Schools in the NewSchools portfolio are improving their students’ prospects for college and career success. Relative to their low-income peers nationwide, students who attend a high school in the NewSchools portfolio are almost twice as likely to enroll in college and four times as likely to graduate from college. Of the 4,583 graduates of our schools who enrolled in college in 2012, it is likely that 2,206 might not have enrolled without the high quality of education that the schools in our portfolio provide.
Our City Funds in particular are showing early indications of strong student outcomes. Portfolio schools in these three cities (DC, Boston, and Newark) are achieving student proficiency levels that are 31 percentage points higher than the local district in math, and 25 percentage points higher in ELA/Reading.
Where We’re Headed
A major theme of NewSchools’ Summit 2013, which took place on May 1st, was “Learning in 2028.” In a series of talks throughout Summit thought leaders shared their visions for the future, the reasons for striving forward, and the work required to get us there. While I’m encouraged by what we’ve accomplished so far, I’m excited by what another 15 years of growth will mean for the school networks in which NewSchools has made investments. If the portfolio continues to grow as it did over its first 15 years, doubling in size every 3-4 years, the result will be over 500,000 students attending schools in the NewSchools portfolio in 2028. Over the course of these 15 years, roughly 200,000 students will graduate from portfolio high schools. About 175,000 will go on to college. Of these, over 90,000 might never have gone to college without the support of a school in the NewSchools portfolio.
NewSchools is working towards a better future in education. This is the essential progress I envision, and I’m committed to getting us there.