Leadership Public Schools Raises $5M To Establish New Public Charter Schools in California

NewSchools Venture Fund investment will help create a system of new small charter high schools in underserved neighborhoods

San Francisco, CA – June 14, 2005 – Leadership Public Schools (LPS), a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 to serve diverse students throughout California with a network of outstanding charter high schools, today annouced that it had raised more than $5 million from venture philanthropy firm NewSchools Venture Fund. Coupled with existing funds, this new commitment will allow LPS to create new high-quality college preparatory opportunities for approximately 3,500 students in ethnic and economically diverse Northern California communities by developing seven small public charter high schools over the next two to three years.

“We greatly appreciate the financial investment in LPS and the vote of confidence in our organization from NewSchools Venture Fund. This funding will enable g reater educational college opportunities for thousands of California’s low-income students,” said Mark Kushner, founder and CEO of Leadership Public Schools. “This o ngoing support of LPS and the charter movement as a whole will increase educational choice in communities of need, as well as support LPS’s mission to partner with districts to improve the education of all public school students.”

Founded in 2002, Leadership Public Schools is dedicated to improving public education in California – especially among some of the state’s most underserved neighborhoods – by creating a sustainable system of new public charter high schools. Its first two schools, LPS -Richmond and LPS -East San Jose, are together serving more than 300 students; two new schools are opening in Oakland and Hayward in Fall 2005, and two other charters are already approved for opening in Fall 2006. Each LPS school emphasizes small, personalized learning environments, as well as a rigorous curriculum designed to develop leadership skills and prepare every student for college.

“All students in California deserve access to an excellent public education, and charter schools are a promising tool for making sure that happens, especially in areas that have been traditionally underserved,” said Joanne Weiss, managing partner at NewSchools Venture Fund and a Leadership board member. “NewSchools looks forward to working closely with the Leadership Public Schools team as it works to create new, high-quality public charter schools for these communities.”

NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that has been working since 1998 to transform public education for underserved children by supporting education entrepreneurs who create high-quality education ventures that have the power to spur system-wide change. This new commitment to LPS is part of NewSchools’ Charter Accelerator Fund, a $40M+ fund that is fueling the growth of the charter school movement by supporting entrepreneurs who are developing strong nonprofit charter management organizations (CMOs) and other infrastructure crucial to ensuring consistent, sustainable and high-quality growth among charter schools. To date, NewSchools has supported twelve CMOs across the country, which together are serving more than 9,000 students this school year.

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About Leadership Public Schools

Leadership Public Schools ( LPS ) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 to serve diverse students throughout California with a network of outstanding charter high schools. LPS’s vision is that all students – regardless of background, ethnicity, or neighborhood – receive an excellent education that prepares them to succeed in college and improve their community. LPS currently operates schools in Richmond and East San Jose . In the Fall of 2005, LPS will open additional schools in Oakland and Hayward . Mark Kushner is founder and CEO of Leadership Public Schools. He previously founded and was the founding Principal at Leadership High School in San Francisco (a separate organization), the first startup charter high school in California, and is has been chair of the California Advisory Commission on Charter Schools for the last three years. For more information, visit www.leadps.org.

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a national venture philanthropy firm that is working to transform public education for underserved children by supporting education entrepreneurs who create high-quality education ventures, and by providing thought leadership across traditional education boundaries to ensure that results-oriented, systemic change is accomplished. Founded in 1998, NewSchools has raised more than $60 million for investment in both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Our current investments focus on facilitating the growth of nonprofit charter school systems and enabling school districts to become performance-driven systems. NewSchools also works with a bi-partisan community of education, nonprofit, policy, and business leaders to accelerate the process of education reform. For more information, please visit www.newschools.org.

Media Contacts:

Steven Gottlieb, Zeno Group (for Leadership Public Schools)
Phone: (510) 332-3857
Steven.Gottlieb@zenogroup.com

Julie Landry, NewSchools Venture Fund
Phone: (415) 615-6863
jlandry@newschools.org