Expanding and Replicating a High-Impact School Turnaround Model

January 20, 2011  • Education Innovation Forum and Expo

NewSchools was founded in 1998 as a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm with a mission of transforming public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children — especially those in underserved communities — have the opportunity to succeed. To achieve this goal, NewSchools supports social entrepreneurs, helping grow their organizations and connecting their work to the broader ecosystem of education reform.

Since 2004, NewSchools has invested in and supported Mastery Charter Schools to help it develop the capacity for replication. Mastery currently operates seven schools in Philadelphia. Through a unique partnership with the District, six of the schools are turnarounds of low performing schools. After Mastery assumed management of each school, test scores increased an average of 52 percentage points per subject in every grade, while violence dropped 80% and student retention increased dramatically.

Mastery proves that school turnaround is possible. Yet with 5,000 schools identified by the federal government for restructuring, many more organizations capable of such results are needed. This project combines Mastery’s expertise in turnaround with NewSchool’s track record of building high-performing education organizations to expand the supply of effective turnaround organizations across the country. Specifically, this project will (1) help Mastery replicate its model in 6 additional schools; (2) provide intensive support to 3 emerging organizations to turn around 9 failing schools; (3) establish a school turnaround Community of Practice to allow participating organizations to learn from one another and collaboratively solve problems; (4) disseminate effective practices to a broad network of education stakeholders.

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