JOIN THE CLUB: Opening a new school entirely on one's own is challenging, but certain organizations, like NewSchools Venture Fund (NSVF), hope to ease the pain with funding and support. On June 2, the nonprofit announced its next NewSchools Invent cohort (formerly called the Catapult program), where schools designers will receive more than $3 million in grants. The money will fund four new school openings in fall of 2016, and the planning of 10 schools with potential to launch in fall of 2017.
NSVF CEO Stacey Childress reports that while she and her team focused at first on "the school design idea and its potential to create great results for kids" when reading applications, all of the ideas were relatively early-stage. So, NSVF used the "the strength of the team and the clarity of their instructional vision" as important differentiators amongst the 52 total applicants. "Opening a new school is hard," Childress tells EdSurge, "and the stronger the team and instructional vision, the higher the likelihood the new school will get off to a great start."
The launch teams opening schools in the fall are Brooklyn Laboratory Charter School (Brooklyn, NY), Solar Preparatory School for Girls (Dallas, TX), Detroit Prep (Detroit, MI), and Gem Prep: Nampa (Nampa, ID). Those teams planning to open schools in fall of 2017 are:
- Alma Fuerte Public School (Pasadena, CA)
- Growth Public School (Sacramento, CA)
- The Ipso School (San Rafael, CA)
- Noble Minds Institute for Whole Child Learning (New Orleans, LA)
- Our Neighborhood School (Denver, CO)
- Oxford Day Academy (East Palo Alto, CA)
- pilotED School (Chicago, IL)
- Redbud Montessori for All (Austin, TX)
- Rooted School (New Orleans, LA)
- United Collegiate Academy (Providence County, RI)