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From Innovation to Transformation: Connecting Education Entrepreneurs to Systems Change

The NewSchools Venture Fund Summit 2008 marked an exciting milestone, as the year of NewSchools’ 10th anniversary and an inflection point for the entrepreneurial education movement.

When Kim Smith launched NewSchools, she had a vision: to empower entrepreneurs to transform the educational opportunities for underserved children across the nation. Over the last decade, dozens of these entrepreneurs have created successful organizations that demonstrate that this vision can become a reality.

As in past years, this year’s Summit presented an opportunity to step back and recognize the extraordinary work that these entrepreneurs have done for hundreds of thousands of children. It was also a chance to reflect on the growing visibility of entrepreneurs in major urban districts and to contemplate the next steps involved in translating that impact into broader systems transformation. In the words of NewSchools CEO Ted Mitchell, “We aim to bring together the nation’s education entrepreneurs with a common goal: to make America’s schools worthy of our democratic aspirations as a nation; to make those schools worthy of our children’s dreams and our dreams for them; and, above all, to make our schools worthy of the moral responsibility we bear for the fortunes and life chances of those children too often underserved and left behind by the current system of education.”