Most of today’s schools were designed for a different time and purpose, for the society and economy of the early 20th century. At the time, they matched up well with how we lived and worked—preparing an elite few for college and the rest of us for the jobs available in our towns or regions. The world has changed dramatically since then, and our schools have struggled to keep up. It’s time to update our schools so they work better for today’s students.
There are two arms of our Innovative Public Schools strategy: investing in new public schools and investing in the redesign of existing schools.
New Public Schools and School Redesign
We invest in teams of educators who want to launch new, innovative public schools that prepare young people to finish high school prepared and inspired to create and live the lives they want. These schools will reimagine the learning experience for students, particularly those from underserved communities. We also want to enable more educators across the country to redesign existing schools to better meet the needs of their students. We focus primarily on “model providers”: organizations that partner with schools to provide integrated tools and resources, along with implementation support, to help existing schools adopt innovative models.
New Public Schools Impact:
School teams supported
School founders who identify as Black or Latino
Black or Latino students served
School Redesign Impact:
Students reached through school redesign
Growth in redesign partnerships in one year
Innovative Public Schools Ventures
NewSchools supports the launch of new public schools and the redesign of existing ones.
In these schools, educators are encouraged to be creative and students are taking charge of their own learning. Explore our current and past ventures.
Entrepreneur: Shayna Gaspard, Niambi Sampson
Nonprofit | Visit the Site
3DE is an Atlanta-based organization that was spun out of Junior Achievement. 3DE is an experiential-learning high-school model focused on connecting students to the real world through business leaders, business cases and career readiness. The research-backed model provides scope and sequence from grade 9 to 12, supporting students to build out their skillset inside and outside the classroom over four years. 3DE serves students in grades 9-12 at six high schools in Georgia today. Plans to scale beyond Georgia are under way, with hopes to reach 25 states in 10 years.
Comp Sci High
Entrepreneur: David Noah
Nonprofit | Founded: 2017 | Visit the Site
Comp Sci High is a public charter school in New York, NY that will eventually serve over 400 students in grades 9-12. Comp Sci High’s mission is to give every student a pathway to a fulfilling career and economic freedom, looking beyond 4-year college as the only viable path. The model creates three pathways to a high technology career by combining a college preparatory STEM curriculum with tech-industry certifications. After graduation, Comp Sci High students will have the skills and qualifications to pursue four-year college, two-year technical programs, or direct entry into the workforce.
Solar Preparatory Academy for Girls
Entrepreneur: Nancy Bernadino
Solar Preparatory School for Girls is a public district school in Dallas, TX that will eventually serve over 800 students in grades K-8. Solar Prep’s model focuses on three priorities. First, single-gender research-based instruction in a socioeconomically diverse model. Second, hands-on, performance-based STEAM learning using design thinking and blended learning. And third, social/emotional learning to build self-awareness, empathy, positive mindsets and emotional intelligence that will create a gateway for more meaningful academic learning.
The BARR Center
Entrepreneur: Maryann Corsello, Rob Metz
The BARR model uses eight interlocking strategies that build intentional relationships, utilize real-time data, and enable schools to achieve concrete academic, social and emotional outcomes for all students.
School Redesign: Partnerships that FitLearn More
Increasingly, educators are embracing an expanded definition of student success and looking for ways to realize this vision for their students. Too often, educ…
Insights and observations from the second year of work with our research partner, Transforming Education, and schools in our Innovative Public Schools portfolioRead the Insight Brief
This Insight Brief reflects on the ongoing work of schools in our portfolio and identifies five insights that we hope will guide other schools, researchers and…
4X4: There are four pathways to becoming a model provider and four major stages of developmentLearn More
Since our portfolio’s inception, we’ve committed to and appreciated learning alongside our venture organizations. Thanks to 28 of organizations we’ve worked wi…
Apply to Create a New School
We run two open funding cycles every year to attract teams who intend to open an innovative district or charter school network:
- Planning grant (for the year prior to launch): This is for teams planning to launch a new school in Fall 2022.
- Launch grant (multi-year grant to support a new school’s first three years of operation): This is for teams planning to launch a new school in Fall 2021 (our selection process will take place in spring 2021).
We encourage you to share your ideas for new, innovative public schools.
Apply to Work on School Redesign
We support model providers that provide integrated tools and resources, along with implementation support, to help existing schools adopt innovative models. Does a redesign/model provider path sound like an intriguing direction for your work?
As a first step, 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.
If we see potential alignment in your organization and our strategy, we will share more information on our funding cycles, including process and timeline details.