By Mark Boone, Chief Development Officer
This has been quite a year, and a very memorable one in many ways. Around the country, student voices became more prominent on a range of issues – academic, social and political. States began working on plans under a landmark new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the nation saw its highest ever graduation rates.
But even with all these changes, some important things remained constant. The NewSchools team continued to make investments in entrepreneurs whose bold ideas can dramatically impact learning and student achievement — ideas that can help ensure all young people have the freedom to create the lives they want for themselves.
As we reflect on 2016 at NewSchools, we have a great deal to be thankful for, and, we’re proud of what we have accomplished. After launching a refreshed strategy in 2015, we fully implemented it across all our investment areas this year. Our investment teams for Innovative Schools, Tools & Services and Diverse Leaders invested in and supported a total of 78 ventures this year.
In 2016 we supported passionate teams of educators who are launching new innovative schools and redesigning existing ones in districts and charter networks. Since 2015, we’ve supported the launch of 31 new schools that will serve 15,000 students when fully enrolled. We held two ed tech challenges this year – one for middle and high school math, and another for English Language Learners. And, we invested in 11 organizations that are creating stronger pipelines of diverse leaders in education – leaders who truly reflect the communities they serve.
As national thought leaders, during Summit 2016 NewSchools convened more than 1,100 educators, entrepreneurs, and opinion leaders to wrestle with some of the most pressing challenges in the field. And, just this past month, we released Reimagining Learning: A Big Bet on the Future of American Education. This paper and its interactive web site were produced by the NewSchools team, but the concepts in Reimagining Learning reflect the thinking and hard work of many in education who share this vision.
We are incredibly thankful for the support of our generous donors, without whom none of this work is possible. With that in mind, please take a look at our 2016 highlights video to see what we’ve accomplished this year.
With gratitude and best wishes for the New Year!