Innovative Schools

What will it take to reimagine learning? Most of today’s schools were built for a different time and purpose. We need new models that meet all students where they are, help them succeed, and inspire them to create a brighter future for us all.

Teams of educators across America are taking on this challenge.

NewSchools invests in innovative schools all over the country, in districts and charter networks. These schools are using new approaches to ensure students’ learning experiences are more personalized – tailored to their individual needs, skill levels and interests. The innovative schools in our portfolio also embrace an expanded definition of student success,  which we define as strong academics combined with important mindsets, skills and habits.

Our Investment Strategies

We invest in schools all over the country, in districts and charter networks. These schools are using new approaches to ensure students’ learning experiences are more personalized – tailored to their individual needs, skill levels and interests. Students are empowered to take more ownership of their learning and given opportunities to build deep connections to each other and their teachers.

The Promise of Innovative Schools

Most schools were designed for a different time and purpose – for the society and economy of the industrial age. The world has changed dramatically since then, but our schools have largely stayed the same. It’s time to update the way schools work so they better prepare our students for success today and in the future.

Regardless of what future a young person might want, she or he needs a strong academic foundation, but reading, writing and numeracy skills are not enough. That’s why we invest in schools that also help students build mindsets, skills and habits like self-awareness, perseverance, intellectual curiosity and growth mindset, which emerging research shows are correlated with long-term success. And, early results from the innovative schools we fund are encouraging – especially the degree to which they can support higher achievement for students who start farthest behind. For example, during the 2016-2017 school year, 80 percent of students in the schools we fund met or exceeded their growth goals in math, and 71 percent met or exceeded their growth goals in reading.

Investment Criteria for Innovative Schools

We invest in:

  • Teams planning to open new, innovative schools – district or charter
  • Organizations that partner with existing schools to support their redesign efforts

We select the most promising teams and support them through the critical planning and early implementation phases through a mix of funding and management assistance.

NewSchools Invent

If you have ambitious plans to launch a new school – district or charter – that will reimagine the student experience, consider applying to NewSchools Invent. Through this program, we invest in teams of educators who want to launch new, innovative schools that prepare young people to reach the goals they’ve set for themselves, their families and their communities. We support early-stage charter organizations with their first and/or second schools. We also support district schools with the autonomy to use innovative instructional designs.

The application for NewSchools Invent is now closed. If you have an idea for an innovative school launching after 2019, please share your contact information and ideas with us.

School Redesign

With 100,000 public schools in America, the greatest opportunity for wide-scale impact is to support innovative redesign of existing schools so they are better able to meet the needs of their students.

Most schools are looking for effective, proven approaches to redesign that are already working well in other schools. A partner that can offer a bundle of instructional resources, teacher supports and administrative tools – all aligned with a school’s vision and goals – can provide a foundation for educators as they implement their redesign plans. This saves time and cost, and can be an effective way to bring promising approaches to more students.

One solution? Model Providers. That’s what we call partner organizations that provide integrated tools and resources, along with implementation support, to help existing schools adopt innovative models. While there is more to learn about this approach, we see tremendous promise. As an early-stage investor, we plan to back several teams who are interested in this path, and learn alongside them. Learn more about this idea in our white paper.

If you are an organization or have a tool that supports the redesign of existing schools, we invite you to share your contact information and ideas with us.

Meet the venture team

Jessica Ball
Scott Benson
Erin Harless
Derrick Johnson
Miho Kubagawa
Arielle Rittvo Kinder

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