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NewSchools Announces $3 Million in Grants for Expansion of Four High-Performing Boston Charter Schools

Boston, MA—November 9, 2011—NewSchools Venture Fund today announced grants totaling over $3 million to four growing charter school organizations in Boston, as part of its Boston Charter School Replication Fund. The funding includes grants to Edward W. Brooke Charter School, Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Excel Academies, and MATCH Public Charter Schools, each of which opened at least one new school this fall.  

The grants are the first investments from the Boston Charter School Replication Fund, which was created to support the development of nonprofit public school networks, managed by the highest performing charter operators in the Boston area. The successful expansion of these high-performing charter schools will mean thousands more high-need students will be ready to succeed in and graduate from college. NewSchools plans to raise $12 million from both national and local funders over the next four years to help create up to 6,000 new high-quality charter school seats in Boston and neighboring Chelsea, MA.

“These charter schools share many common design elements, from small schools with tightly aligned no-excuses cultures, to a relentless focus on quality instruction and academic achievement, all pointing towards the unambiguous goal of preparing students for success in college,” said Jim Peyser, Managing Partner at NewSchools and former Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education. “Our investments will allow them to provide students and families in high-need communities with excellent educational choices.”

All four charter schools have consistently achieved excellent results, performing above the Massachusetts state average in reading and math proficiency.

“We have a great opportunity to extend our impact in Boston, and we are grateful to NewSchools for providing us with the resources we need to replicate carefully: finding and retaining the best teachers; developing and replicating the best systems; preparing our leaders carefully; and ensuring each and every student we serve has the academic preparation, character, and drive to succeed in college and beyond,” said Dana Lehman, Managing Director, Uncommon Schools Boston, the network which includes Roxbury Prep.

“This grant from NewSchools provides us with critical operating support in our early growth years,” said Jon Clark, Founder and Co-Director of Edward W. Brooke Charter School. “In short, this grant provides us with the resources we need to ensure that every school in our network has a top-notch teaching staff, is led by an outstanding school leader, and is supported by the highest quality operational infrastructure.”

“We are thrilled to have support from NewSchools to reach many more families around Boston who want an Excel education for their children,” said Dai Ellis, CEO of Excel.  “The funding we receive through NewSchools will help us focus our energy on what matters most, while their knowledge and network will help us learn from others to ensure that each new Excel school we launch offers the same high-quality education as our flagship school.”

“We simply would not be able to open our newest school, MATCH Community Day, without NewSchools Venture Fund,” said Stig Leschly, CEO of MATCH Inc.  “Because of the fund, we know that we can address our core operating deficit with the new school.  And, just as importantly, NewSchools is connecting us to the knowledge and network they have built over a decade on the national stage.”  

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a not-for-profit organization working to close the achievement gap by funding and supporting entrepreneurs who are creating innovative solutions to the problems in public education so that all children have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Since our founding in 1998, NewSchools has invested $180 million in more than 40 nonprofit and for-profit educational organizations working to promote student achievement. Recognizing that neither private charity nor capital markets alone are enough to solve the problem of education inequality, we blend the best of both approaches to ensure an excellent education is available to every child. We actively share what we’ve learned through our investments, bring together educational leaders from across the country, and advocate for smart policies at the federal level. For more information, visit http://www.newschools.org.

About Edward W. Brooke Charter School

The Edward W. Brooke Charter School is an open-enrollment public school in Roslindale, MA. Brooke serves 475 Boston Public Schools students in grades K-8. Brooke scholars are 98% black and Latino; 78% qualify for free and reduced lunch. Brooke was founded in 2002 under the guiding belief that great teaching is the solution to the achievement gap.  In 2011, the Brooke board was granted charters for two new K-8 schools.  Brooke 2 opened in August 2011 and is currently serving 168 Boston families.  Brooke 3 Charter School is scheduled to open in August, 2012.  There are currently over 3,000 families on waiting lists to attend Brooke schools.  For more information, visit: http://www.ebrooke.org/.

About Roxbury Preparatory Charter School

Roxbury Preparatory Charter School (Roxbury Prep), a public middle school located in Mission Hill, prepares its students to enter, succeed in, and graduate from college.  Roxbury Prep was founded in 1999 by Evan Rudall (current CEO of Uncommon Schools) and John King (current New York State Commissioner of Education), with the philosophy that all students are entitled to and can succeed in college preparatory programs when: 1) the curriculum is rigorous, engaging, and well-planned; 2) the school emphasizes student character, community responsibility, and exposure to life’s possibilities; and 3) a community network supports student academic, social, and physical well-being.  Roxbury Prep currently serves 238 students in grades 6-8.  The student body is composed entirely of students of color.  Most students live in single-parent households and over 75% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.  The academic progress students consistently make at Roxbury Prep proves that the achievement gap can be closed, establishing a replicable precedent for its future schools.  Although many students enter several grade levels behind academically, by 8th grade these same students are outperforming their peers in Boston as well as across the state.  On the 2011 MCAS exams Roxbury Prep 8th grade students ranked 14th in the state on the Math exam, out of over 500 schools.  Roxbury Prep 7th graders ranked in the top fifth of all schools on both the Math and English Language Arts exams.  The Governor once again named Roxbury Prep a Commendation School, a recognition bestowed on less than 10% of schools in Massachusetts.  For more information, visit: www.roxburyprep.uncommonschools.org.

About Excel Academies

Excel Academy Charter Schools—a network of tuition free, public middle schools serving East Boston, Chelsea, and the surrounding communities—was  conceived to address the severe academic underperformance and low college matriculation rates of the student populations in these neighborhoods. We envisioned a free, public school alternative where all students would be held to the highest academic and behavioral expectations and college would become a realistic goal. The network’s first school opened in fall 2003 to 100 6th grade students, and now serves 212 young scholars, grades 5 through 8. Excel Academy-Chelsea, the 2nd school in the network, opened this fall to 56 eager 5th graders. The network’s mission is to prepare students to succeed in high school and college, apply their learning to solve relevant problems, and engage productively in their communities. Excel has achieved outstanding results and has become an education destination for families seeking a better future for their children.   With the passage of the recent education reform law in Massachusetts, Excel has announced its intent to expand its reach through replication in the Boston area. For more information, visit: http://www.excelacademy.org/

About MATCH Inc.

MATCH is a national education nonprofit, based in Boston. We operate a growing portfolio of high-quality public schools, train teachers, and pursue other innovative work in urban school reform. MATCH is an R & D platform. Our broadest goal is to discover new ideas and practices that can matter to school reform widely. For more information, visit: http://www.matchschool.org.