To be considered for an Invent investment, applicants must:
In addition, charter applicants must:
In addition, district school applicants must:
We prefer that district applicants apply with a named school leadership team that will lead the design work. However, we understand that it can be difficult for the district to identify school leadership teams two years from launch. We do expect districts to identify their school leadership teams before the planning year begins.
First, we seek mission-driven, entrepreneurial leaders who show passion, personal integrity, and the ability to achieve outstanding results. However, they cannot do this work alone, and must also recruit a diverse leadership team and board with the competencies and experiences necessary to design and launch an innovative public school. Collectively, this team must bring skills and relevant backgrounds in instruction, school management and business operations, as well as an emphasis on innovation and continuous improvement. To be most effective, we believe they must demographically represent the community they wish to serve, understand their perspectives and bring expertise and insights to develop relevant solutions. They should be active contributors to the community and have done the personal work to identify their own cultural and racial biases.
We then expect these teams to:
The teams we support focus their efforts on communities who have been traditionally underserved, and a significant percentage of the students they serve must have needs unmet by existing options. We expect teams to engage students, families and community members early and often to inform all aspects of design and planning. By seeking to understand the needs, interests and aspirations of the people they aim to serve, teams can not only design a better school, but also create the necessary relationship to sustain it over time.
Designing schools that reimagine the student experience requires a holistic approach. This is why we seek teams that have embraced an expanded definition of student success, balancing rigorous academic expectations with the mindsets, skills and habits needed for success in life.* With a clear definition of student success as their guide, teams then can design a school that meets the full range of their students' needs. We believe innovation can and should take many forms, and are open to supporting an array of approaches that combine new ideas with proven practice. Still, we have a point of view on the ways schools need to adapt to better meet the needs of students. Specifically, we prioritize:
*Examples of the mindsets, essential skills and habits that are correlated with long-term success include curiosity, growth mindset, perseverance, self-awareness, self-efficacy, self-regulation and social awareness/social competence.
We believe teams that show a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion are better equipped to meet the needs of the students and communities they serve. We seek teams that embrace this commitment and are developing comprehensive strategies to prioritize it in their schools. This includes recruiting racially and ethnically diverse board members, leadership teams and staff, reflecting the student population. In addition, teams should focus on affirming the identity of staff and students, addressing inequities in access and achievement and confronting issues of race, class and privilege.
Teams must be able to turn their vision into reality. We look for evidence of a comprehensive plan that includes all relevant milestones needed for a successful school launch. We want to see that they are on track to execute that plan. During the planning year, we pay particular attention to the following critical milestones: hiring the leadership team, recruiting a board, engaging families and community, finalizing an instructional model, securing a facility, securing charter approval or a district MOU, executing a student recruitment plan, developing a financial model (with mitigation plans) and hitting fundraising targets.
While our support is initially focused on helping teams to launch one innovative new school, our long-term goal at NewSchools is to significantly reimagine the entire PreK-12 education system. At this stage, we require that teams have developed a reasonable school-level financial model that achieves sustainability on public funds by its fourth year of operation, after a moderate investment from public and private sources, including NewSchools. In addition, we ask that teams offer compelling ideas for scaling their impact over time. We look for teams who are thinking beyond a single school, recognizing that those plans may not be fully solidified at this stage. There are many compelling ways to expand impact and we invite applicants to share those ideas with us, whether through replication, becoming a model provider (similar to Summit Learning) and/or a new and innovative idea to catalyze impact.