Announcing the Catapult 2015 Cohort

October 15, 2015

Earlier this summer, we launched NewSchools Catapultthe first endeavor of our new Innovative Schools strategy.  Its purpose is simple, yet bold: to create a bellwether for innovation in PreK-12 education by supporting the most promising school teams from around the country in creating the kinds of incredible, life-altering schools that our students deserve.

catapult 2This was a highly competitive selection process; we received over 80 applications for our two programs, Catapult Invent and Catapult Launch. Each application represented a major undertaking by the teams that submitted them. After a thorough review of each application, and deeper level of diligence into a subset of them, we are excited to announce that the following 14 organizations were selected for this year’s cohort:

Catapult: Invent 2015

$100,000 planning investment


Location / Grades


A+ Unlimited Potential

Houston, TX / 6th-8th

Brooklyn Laboratory Charter High School

Brooklyn, NY / 6th-12th

Caliber: Vallejo

Vallejo, CA /

Transitional K-8th

Detroit Prep

Detroit, MI / PreK-8th

Gem Prep: Nampa

Nampa, ID / K-12th

Intrinsic Schools

Chicago, IL / 7th-12th

Solar Preparatory School for Girls

Dallas, TX / K-8th

Thrive High School

San Diego, CA /



Catapult: Launch 2015

$200,000 launch investment


Location / Grades


Building 21 Allentown

Allentown, PA / 9th-12th

Charlotte Lab School

Charlotte, NC / K-8th

Ednovate: USC East College Prep

Lincoln Heights, CA /


Phalen Leadership Academy @ IPS Francis Scott Key 103

Indianapolis, IN / K-6th

Roots Elementary School

Denver, CO / K-5th

Valor Voyager Academy

Nashville, TN / 5th-8th

The six members of the Catapult: Launch 2015 cohort are at a more advanced stage; each of these schools has already opened its doors to students this fall. Although we expect these schools to become financially sustainable on public funding by their fourth year, they typically have operating deficits in their early years as they grow to full enrollment. Moreover, many have aspirations to do additional R&D but have limited means to do so. Therefore, our initial 12-month, $200,000 investment is intended to defray operating deficits and/or support additional R&D that would otherwise not be possible.  

The group of eight schools above in the Catapult: Invent 2015 cohort are in the planning year immediately preceding what they anticipate will be a launch date of Fall 2016. The purpose of our initial six-month, $100,000 investment is to provide additional capacity as these teams prepare to launch their schools next fall. 

We could not be more excited to partner with these 14 organizations. Individually their innovative school designs are inspiring, and collectively they represent our vision for the future.

Beyond our financial commitment to these 14 teams, we will work with each of them to identify critical needs and provide targeted management assistance. We also believe strongly in communities of practice. There is tremendous value in helping Catapult participants help each other by developing relationships with one another, share best practices and support each other in accelerating innovation.

Looking forward, we expect this to be a series of annual investment cycles to support cohorts of new, innovative public schools in school districts and emerging charter organizations. Our application for the next cohort will be released on November 10.