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The Potential of Piloting Schools

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Most schools in the United States look essentially the same today as they did 100 years ago and are preparing students for a society and economy which no longer exist. There is an urgent need for new schools that reimagine the student experience, prioritizing elements like student ownership, personalization, and an expanded definition of student success.

But creating new school models that reimagine the student experience comes with a great deal of risk. When an idea has not been tried and proven, we’re uncertain about how it will impact student achievement. At 4.0 Schools and NewSchools Venture Fund, we’ve been experimenting with ways to reduce this risk and ensure that operators of new, innovative schools have the strongest possible start.

We believe that the best way to reduce the risk of a new operator and an unproven model is to give founders an opportunity to put their ideas into action by running a short- term, small scale test of their school model. The test with which we’ve been experimenting most recently is called the NewSchools Simulator. Through the simulator, founders bring their innovative idea to life by running a one-month, full-day, one classroom version of their school over the summer.

This report is intended to share our ideas and learnings about the potential of piloting and inspire conversations about how to catalyze innovation, reduce risk, and support new school founders in the early stages of school development. If you’re interested in learning more about this approach to school launch, starting a pilot program of your own, or sponsoring an individual through this process, we’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to us at simulatorplaybook@4pt0.org.

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The Potential of Piloting Schools

  1. 1. THE POTENTIAL OF SCHOOL PILOTS A case for running small-scale tests of innovative school ideas
  2. 2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS EDITORS, DESIGNERS & CONTRIBUTORS 4.0 Schools Matt Candler Raphael Gang Consultants Jessica Cohn Kathleen McKissack NewSchools Venture Fund Arielle Rittvo Kinder Special Thanks to NewSchools Venture Fund for funding this project and providing valuable insight. This project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial 4.0 International License. CC BY-NC 4.0 (2018) Published in March 2018
  3. 3. CONTENTS Executive Summary Potential of School Pilots Case Study: NewSchools Simulator The Simulator Playbook Get in Touch Appendix 04 06 11 22 23 24
  4. 4. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Most schools in the United States look essentially the same today as they did 100 years ago and are preparing students for a society and economy which no longer exist. There is an urgent need for new schools which prepare students for success in the 21st century. Families across the country are demanding new, high-quality options that will help students thrive in our rapidly changing world. Schools that reimagine the student experience, prioritizing elements like student ownership, personalization, and an expanded definition of student success. But creating new school models that reimagine the student experience comes with a great deal of risk. When an idea has not been tried and proven, we’re uncertain about how it will impact student achievement. At 4.0 Schools and NewSchools Venture Fund, we’ve been experimenting with ways to reduce this risk and ensure that operators of new, innovative schools have the strongest possible start. We believe that the best way to reduce the risk of a new operator and an unproven model is to give founders an opportunity to put their ideas into action by running a short- term, small scale test of their school model. New school founders currently have access to a wide array of high-quality supports in the form of funding, coaching, inspiration, and community. But in spite of all of this, there’s a gap; most school founders lack the opportunity to put their ideas into action with real students and families before opening the doors to their school.
  5. 5. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ro1vN-aa6F9h2qtFLaUBT7bDwViSfbDUDAUIHmxRKbo/edit?usp=sharing One of the most powerful features of month-long pilots is their low-stakes nature. The political, financial, human, and social capital required to pilot pales in comparison to that which is required to open a school. As a result of this lower risk, founders have a chance to test the most innovative aspects of their models without the pressure and accountability of running a school. In turn, stakeholders are able to see a more vivid picture of an idea’s potential; a pilot shows how a vision comes to life or falls flat once real students are involved. This also creates an opportunity for students, families, and communities to shape the vision for a school before it ever opens its doors. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 5 Understand User Milestones in Testing Test Instructional Model Run a Month-long Pilot Write Charter Application Hire Staff, Secure Facility Open School Doors 4.0 Schools and NewSchools Venture Fund partnered to support three founding teams in the process of running month-long pilots in the summer of 2017. Hailing from Boise, Kansas City, and Oakland, each team had already completed 4.0’s Tiny Fellowship. Among other supports, we provided founders with a list of planning milestones, which has evolved into an open source toolkit we call the Simulator Playbook. Check it out here. This report is intended to share our ideas and learnings about the potential of piloting and inspire conversations about how to catalyze innovation, reduce risk, and support new school founders in the early stages of school development. If you’re interested in learning more about this approach to school launch, starting a pilot program of your own, or sponsoring an individual through this process, we’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to us at simulatorplaybook@4pt0.org. Testing is valuable for the development of any idea, and tests range significantly in size and form. The test with which we’ve been experimenting most recently is called the NewSchools Simulator. Through the simulator, founders bring their innovative idea to life by running a one-month, full-day, one classroom version of their school over the summer.
  6. 6. http://www.newschools.org/bigbet/ http://www.newschools.org/bigbet/ https://medium.com/future-of-school/the-3-stages-of- education-investing-we-re-ignoring-b68a99a8999a https://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/ Charter%20Research%200908%20FINAL.pdf THE POTENTIAL OF SCHOOL PILOTS At 4.0 Schools and NewSchools Venture Fund, we’re constantly asking: what’s next for the future of schooling? We have many questions, but there’s one thing about which we’re certain: there is an urgent need for schools that prepare students for success in the 21st century. Over the last 100 years, nearly every facet of our society and economy has changed; the skills and mindsets required for people to thrive have changed with them. However, most classrooms in the United States look the same today as they did a century ago. A few school models have gained traction in the last 20 years and are making incremental improvements but are still struggling to matriculate students to and through college. Families recognize that as our society and economy continue to evolve, we need school environments and models of instruction to evolve with them. They’re demanding new schooling options that prepare students to succeed in our rapidly changing world. Bellwether Education estimates that we’ll need to create 7 million new high-quality seats over the next 12 years to meet family demand. The Future of High-Quality Public Schools But if we want to create more schools that reimagine the student experience and prepare students to thrive, we need to increase our investment in new operators who are working on transformative new school models. This is a tall order. Launching any new school is an inherently risky process, requiring a great deal of political, financial, human, and social capital. New operators and innovative, unproven models carry even more uncertainty. How can we ensure that these new operators have the best possible chance of success?
  7. 7. http://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/CGAR % 2 0 G r o w t h % 2 0 E x e c u t i v e %20Summary.pdf Many organizations are already doing great work to support school founders in the school design, planning, and launch process. NewSchools’ Invent program, Building Excellent Schools’ Fellowship, and Quarterbacks across the country are developing leaders and supporting founders as they tackle things like: community organizing, school design, fundraising, and operational hurdles to school launch. In spite of all of these supports, there’s a gap; and launching innovative schools is still a very risky process. Founders have access to fantastic funding, coaching, inspiration, and community, but most founders lack the opportunity to put their idea into action and see how it works with real students and families before opening the doors of their school. Running a test of the school model reduces the high-risk nature of school launch because it provides an opportunity for founders, students, f a m i l i e s , a u t h o r i z e r s , a n d philanthropists to see the model come to life and gather preliminary data about its efficacy. We’ve seen testing be most valuable for teams who feel the risk of school launch most acutely: non-traditional school founders and those with unproven ideas. We believe that the best way to reduce the risk of a new operator and an unproven idea is to give founders an opportunity to put their ideas into action by running a short-term, small scale test of their school. REDUCING THE RISK OF LAUNCHING INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS We know from anecdotal experience and academic research that how schools perform in their first year is a strong predictor of how they will perform three and five years down the road. At 4.0 and NewSchools, we’ve been experimenting with ways to help founders of innovative schools have the strongest possible school launch and successful first year. In the following sections, we’ll share more about our most recent experiment, why we’re excited about it, and what we’ve learned along the way. THE POTENTIAL OF SCHOOL PILOTS 7
  8. 8. All of the stages of testing are critically important, but the largest formal test in our sequence is called the NewSchools Simulator. The NewSchools Simulator helps founders bring their innovative idea to life by running a one-month, full- day, one classroom version of their school over the summer. This pilot is most powerful if run before founders write their charter application. We recommend that it be run at least one year before the school opens its doors. Learn more about the NewSchools Simulator and what we did to support founders in the process of running pilots in our case study on page 11. THE POTENTIAL OF SCHOOL PILOTS 8 TESTING NEW SCHOOL MODELS What does it mean to test a school model? Tests are small-scale, short- term experiences that founders run with the families they ultimately want to serve. Tests start small, with steps like pitching the idea to stakeholders, interviewing families, and shadowing a student for a day. As an idea progresses, tests increase in size and scope, scaling incrementally over time. To learn more about the different stages of testing a school idea, check out: bit.ly/schoollaunchtimeline.
  9. 9. THE FOUR KINDS OF CAPITAL THE POTENTIAL OF SCHOOL PILOTS 9 We believe there are four major types of capital that school founders need in order to launch a new, innovative school. Political Capital refers to the decision-making power held by people or entities with the authority to halt all progress. Political capital is required to obtain board votes, charter approval, and a facility, among other things. Financial Capital refers to the money required to open and operate a program. Human Capital refers to the labor required to open and operate a program. Human capital might be measured by number of employees and/or the number of hours per week they spend on the program. Social Capital, by our definition, is the trust and credibility a family or community assigns to the school. Launching a school requires a great deal of each of these types of capital. Running a month-long pilot reduces the capital requirement by more than 50%. THE BENEFITS OF PILOTING Running a month-long pilot has tremendous potential to help founders of innovative schools have the strongest possible school launch and first year. Pilots provide founders with an opportunity for a “dry run” as a school leader and a chance to see how some of their hypotheses will play out in real life, resulting in founders who are better prepared for day one of their school. We’ve learned a great deal about testing school models over the last year, and while we’re still waiting to see how these schools will perform in the long term, we’re excited about their potential. One of the most powerful features of a month-long pilot is their low-stakes nature. The political, financial, human, and social capital required to pilot pales in comparison to that which is required to open a school.
  10. 10. As a result of the lower capital required to run a pilot, founders have a chance to test the most innovative aspects of their instructional, staffing, and school culture models while the stakes are low. This less risky, more efficient use of capital in the early stages of a school’s development benefits students, families, school founders, philanthropists, and authorizers alike. The pilot paints a more vivid and accurate picture of a team and idea’s potential than a charter application or grant interview process; it shows how a founder’s vision comes to life or falls flat once real students are involved. CAPITAL REQUIRED TO LAUNCH A SCHOOL VERSUS RUN A MONTH-LONG PILOT MONTH-LONG PILOT CAPITAL SCHOOL LAUNCH CAPITAL THE POTENTIAL OF SCHOOL PILOTS 10 $30K ~2 adults summer Charter Approval Securing a Facility $1 million ~3 to 6 full-time staff Students’ academic record
  11. 11. https://4pt0.org/tiny/ CASE STUDY In the fall of 2016, 4.0 Schools and NewSchools Venture Fund partnered to run a pilot of our own. We joined forces to support three charter school teams in the process of running a pilot of their schools. The Simulator supported founders as they tested one-month, full-day, one classroom versions of their proposed school model in the summer of 2017. Think innovation lab + summer camp. The three teams were diverse in their backgrounds, locations, and visions, but they had a few commonalities. Each wanted to launch an innovative public school and was a part of the 4.0 Schools’ Tiny Fellowship in the fall of 2016. Since each team had been a part of the Tiny Fellowship, they had already been exposed to the idea of testing their models incrementally. Teams had either completed one or two milestones in the following sequence before applying to the NewSchools Simulator. Their early tests answered questions like: are parents excited about what I’m building? Would a community partnership be an effective way to provide certain services? Will a diverse group of students be engaged in robotics? How 4.0 Schools and NewSchools Venture Fund enabled three teams to run month-long pilots in the summer of 2017 Understand User Milestones in Testing Test Instructional Model Run a Month-long Pilot Write Charter Application Hire Staff, Secure Facility Open School Doors
  12. 12. https://www.codedacademy.school/ https://dreamskc.weebly.com/ https://www.futurepublicschool.org/ CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 12 SNAPSHOT OF EACH TEAM’S BACKGROUND WHEN THEY ENTERED THE NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR The FPS team of Brad Peterson and Amanda Cox came from KIPP and Teach For America respectively, and were Fellows with Bluum.org’s Idaho New Schools Fellowship. This fellowship allowed them to work full-time on FPS. This team was on track to launch their K-8 school in 2018, and had already run an after school pilot testing aspects of their instructional model in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County (Boise). Future Public School Boise, ID Dreams KC Kansas City, MO CODEd Academy Oakland, CA Kennan Scott was in his second year of teaching at West Oakland Middle School when he started working with us on CODEd Academy. A former Civil Engineer, he entered the teaching profession later in life and had been experimenting with ideas for CODEd in his own Engineering classroom. As a full-time teacher working part-time on this idea, he’d also hosted a couple of community events to test the interest of parents, students, and technology companies in his computer science-focused middle school model. Longtime educator Catina Taylor was leveraging her education, law, and event planning background to pilot the Dreams KC model before she ran a School Builder Pilot in collaboration with our team. Catina’s vision for a whole- child kindergarten model required coordinating with a number of community partners, and she was able to test those partnerships, among other things, through her first pilot. Catina worked part-time as a freelancer while part of the NewSchools Simulator. Understand User Understand User Test Instructional Model Understand User Test Instructional Model
  13. 13. http://www.newschools.org/about-us/our-model/core-investment-criteria/ http://www.newschools.org/about-us/our-model/core-investment-criteria/ CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 13 PROGRAM DESIGN PRINCIPLES KEY QUESTIONS When we kicked off our partnership, 4.0 and NewSchools outlined our goals for this project and supports we would provide to founders. To better understand the “why” behind our program design, here are a few key pillars which guided our decisions. Team Selection. We sought to work with founders from 4.0’s Tiny Fellowship who were: Due Diligence. At the end of our experiment, we wanted to be able to answer these questions about the founders and their pilots: • Does this innovative idea have potential? Could it really work as a school model? • Does this team have the knowledge, skills, and mindsets to successfully lead a school? • Are families and students excited about and invested in what is being built? • working on innovative school models which aligned with NewSchools’ investment criteria and prioritized: student ownership, an expanded definition of student success, personalization, technology supported learning, and more. • planning to open their doors in 2018 (if already working on the school full-time) or 2019 (if working on the school part-time) • new to school leadership • interested in testing elements of their model with a growth mindset • What founders would learn about their model over the course of 3 to 4 weeks with a classroom full of students • If founders would find the experience useful and recommend it to others • How students and families would react to and benefit from the experience • What we would learn about how to best support founders at this stage of development • How we would help founders leverage the data from their pilot to determine the next best step for their idea As we launched our experiment, we were curious and optimistic about:
  14. 14. CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 14 PROGRAM TIMELINE Time was one of our most significant constraints for this program. We finalized our partnership in March of 2017, and founders were officially accepted to the program in April. That gave them just over two months to plan their pilots, which were to take place in the summer of 2017. The teams varied in the amount of time they were able to commit to pilot planning: Brad and Amanda were working on the school full-time, Catina was working part-time as a freelancer, and Kennan was working full-time as a teacher. March April May June July August Founders: Apply to program Founders: Pilot Planning Founders: Pilot Planning Founders: Incorporate organization, Interview for program, Meet Expert Coach4.0 + NewSchools: Create planning milestones, resource library, and coaching structure 4.0 + NewSchools: Award Grants + Start coaching relationships 4.0 + NewSchools: Weekly 1:1 coaching, ad hoc workshops 4.0 + NewSchools: Weekly 1:1 coaching, ad hoc workshops Founders: Pilot Execution Founders: Pilot Wrap Up and Evaluation 4.0 + NewSchools: Site visits and coaching 4.0 + NewSchools: Evaluate and document learnings Balance of accountability and support. We wanted our relationship with the founders to be a healthy balance of accountability and support, especially in coaching. Our expert coach, with experience in school launch, provided structure without micromanaging and support without hand-holding.
  15. 15. CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 15 PROGRAM DESIGN The NewSchools Simulator supported founders through the planning, execution, and evaluation of their pilots, starting in April of 2017. With our design principles in mind, we created a program which offered founders a mix of funding, coaching, resources, and site visits from the support team. In exchange, founders participated in an intensive debrief with us, and created both internal facing and external facing impact reports sharing their pilot data. All three teams ran a pilot with 20 to 35 students and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from stakeholders. THE DETAILS: FOUNDER SUPPORTS Coaching Since this was our first time formally supporting founders through this process, we wanted to take our cues from them on what kind of coaching would be most helpful. We presented a range of coaching options (below)– all were optional aside from weekly 1:1s with their expert coach. We allowed founders to opt-in to either active or passive management style from expert coach. • Weekly 1:1 meetings with an “expert coach” experienced in new school launch and school operations • Two 1:1 workshops to help them identify their riskiest assumptions and find ways to test them over the course of the summer • A “bench” of coaches with a variety of expertise who they could schedule time with at their convenience Site Visits. The expert coach and one member of the 4.0 Schools team visited each pilot in its first week and again in its last week to observe progress and share feedback. Define critical assumptions Engage Community Execute Operations Exercise Leadership Learning Milestones for Founders
  16. 16. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1pYA68TQAhhm3Ej7C-hS0Bb4W-9dnAaR7 h t t p s : / / d o c s . g o o g l e . c o m / s p r e a d s h e e t s / d / 1 r o 1 v N - aa6F9h2qtFLaUBT7bDwViSfbDUDAUIHmxRKbo/edit?usp=sharing h t t p s : / / d o c s . g o o g l e . c o m / d o c u m e n t / d / 1 5 l K 0 U R _ - kzz8rAJXIrjumLaY9KB9D6rS5BBbiv8SClM/edit?usp=sharing CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 16 In the first month of planning, we walked each founder through an evaluation framework outlining our goals for the pilot. At a high level, we wanted founders to use this pilot to engage with students and families in their community, test elements of their instructional model, and demonstrate their leadership skills. The founders in our program agreed with these priorities, and gathered specific data from students and families to answer questions in our evaluation framework. THE DETAILS: PROGRAM DELIVERABLES https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ro1vN-aa6F9h2qtFLaUBT7bDwViSfbDUDAUIHmxRKbo/ edit?usp=sharing In return, founders were expected to run a one month, full-day, one classroom version of their school. Each team recruited anywhere from 20 to 35 students, operated their pilot for three to four weeks in the months of July and August, and framed their pilot as a camp or summer program. Pilot programming ranged from formal, traditional learning time in things like reading and math to innovative learning blocks incorporating human-centered design, computer game creation, yoga and mindfulness, nutrition, and more. In addition, founders created an external-facing impact report to share successes and tell the story of their pilot. They also created an internal program report for 4.0 Schools and NewSchools Venture Fund to share data collected around their assumptions, reflections on their leadership, and overall learnings. Assets Given our tight timeline, we wanted founders to spend their time prioritizing and executing tasks, not scoping what needed to be done in the first place. This led us to create the following: Funding. Each founder received up to $50,000 from NewSchools Venture Fund. Each team needed to incorporate and apply for 501(c)3 status before receiving their grant; 4.0 Schools served as a fiscal agent for teams while they awaited 501(c)3 approval. • A customized milestone tracker and project plan for their pilot, which has evolved into our open source Simulator Playbook • Access to a library of resources to help them achieve those milestones (e.g. employment offer letter templates, student recruitment tools, budget trackers, etc.)
  17. 17. CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 17 The results of our experiment were overwhelmingly positive. Despite the work it took to plan and execute their pilots, 3/3 founder teams would recommend it to future teams. 100% of families surveyed would recommend their experience to others. Founders felt supported by our team and validated our program design. They also shared great feedback on places we can evolve our support of founders in the future. Our three key learnings are outlined below: 1) Pilots are a powerful tool for a myriad of stakeholders. Founders, families, and funders had overwhelmingly positive things to say about the experience. We were so pleased with the results that we’re doing it again in the summer of 2018, and anticipate supporting three times as many founders in the process. The NewSchools Simulator generated the following benefits for stakeholders: OUR LEARNINGS Founders Families Funders • Test their leadership skills • Test the innovative components of their academic models, school culture, and staffing models • Engage with their community and build demand for their future schools • Leverage pilot data to increase credibility with other funders, authorizers, and community stakeholders • Receive free, high-quality summer enrichment for students • Inform the future design of the school through feedback • Build relationships with school founders and make an informed decision about future school enrollment for their child • Conduct a strong results-based assessment of both the model and the entrepreneur • Decrease risk of future investments • Relatively inexpensive due diligence
  18. 18. CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 18 2) If we want to cultivate a more diverse pipeline of innovative school leaders, we need to pair them with coaches who have similar backgrounds and experiences. Although our founders had access to a bench of coaches who were diverse in their race, ethnicity, geography, and expertise, we found that founders sought intensive 1:1 coaching from school leaders who had similar backgrounds and had overcome similar societal barriers. If we want to continue to develop and cultivate a diverse group of school leaders, they need support from coaches who have faced similar challenges. 3) A pilot investment costs a fraction of a school launch investment, and fosters better investment decisions in the future. Although school founders in our summer 2017 cohort received grants of up to $50K for their pilots, most believed they could have run high-quality pilots with $30K. This constraint in funding leads founders to be more creative and better mirrors the funding environment of their future school. We’ve found that an investment of just $30K surfaces enough data for funders to determine whether or not a team and an idea is a good fit for a follow on investment. This is a fraction of the cost of an investment made in the wrong team or idea at the level of $500K or more.
  19. 19. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ro1vN- aa6F9h2qtFLaUBT7bDwViSfbDUDAUIHmxRKbo/edit? usp=sharing CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR 19 WHAT’S NEXT? WHERE DO FOUNDERS GO FROM HERE? THE FUTURE OF NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR What’s next for this program? As we’ve alluded, 4.0 Schools and NewSchools will be partnering again to support even more founders in the process of running month-long pilots in the summer of 2018. Founders will have access to our new Simulator Playbook and a diverse bench of coaches to support them in their journey. After completing their month-long pilots, each team had a unique next step based on their pilot data and access to additional funds. The FPS team completing the Idaho New School Fellowship continued working on their school full-time, received authorization for their charter and are set to open their doors in the fall of 2018. Teams that were working on their school part- time until the pilot are leveraging their pilot data to fundraise and explore various opportunities and fellowships that will bring them closer to school launch. Learn more in the team profiles on the following page. If you’re interested in learning more about this approach to school launch, starting a pilot program on your own, or sponsoring an entrepreneur through the testing process, we’d love to hear from you! Shoot us an email at simulatorplaybook@4pt0.org.
  20. 20. CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR Pilot Accomplishments: Learning math without computer science integration, student achievement in math grew 40% in one week. When math was integrated with computer science, the same students grew 70% in math in one week. 100% of parents are “extremely likely” to recommend CODED to another family. Next Steps: Kennan received a private grant to work on CODEd Academy part-time for the 2017-18 school year, and continues to work part-time for OUSD. Pilot Accomplishments: Established a variety of partnerships with community organizations to offer enrichment programming and nutritious meals for students in the program. Next Steps: Catina is exploring a partnership with her local district to launch DreamsKC as a school within a school. 20 https://dreamskc.weebly.com/DreamsKC Kansas City, Missouri Model: Whole child elementary school model Key Pilot Features: DreamsKC tested its whole child model which included project-based learning, use of adaptive technology, culturally relevant pedagogy, wraparound services, authentic parent engagement, and single gender classrooms. https://www.codedacademy.school/CODEd Academy Oakland, CA Model: Middle school model featuring computer science embedded in all core subject areas Key Pilot Features: Students engaged in computer science projects interwoven into Common Core math, science, and ELA standards and took weekly visits to Bay Area tech companies. Kennan Scott Catina Taylor NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR TEAMS 2017
  21. 21. CASE STUDY: NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR https://www.futurepublicschool.org/ 21 NEWSCHOOLS SIMULATOR TEAMS 2017 Future Public School Boise, Idaho Model: K-8 model focused on STEM, diversity/identity, and restorative justice Key Pilot Features: Future’s Pilot was marketed as a summer camp, “Rocket to the Moon,” and was our largest pilot with 36 students. Pilot Accomplishments: 5 community field trips; 1000+ hours of robotics, 576+ hours of Spanish immersion. 78.5% of students increased grit in just 4 weeks. 100% of families would recommend Future and 100% of families support the Future team in opening a school. Next Steps: Brad & Amanda received a NewSchools Invent grant in the spring of 2017 and received their charter approval in the summer of 2017. They will use 2017-2018 as their planning year and will open the doors to their school in the fall of 2018.Amanda Cox Brad Peterson
  22. 22. SIMULATOR PLAYBOOK The Simulator Playbook is our toolkit for innovative school founders to run a one-month, full-day, one classroom version of their school model. The playbook supports founders as they plan, execute, and evaluate a pilot. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Who is a good candidate for a School Builder Pilot? We believe that two groups of founders benefit most from the pilot experience: Founders with highly innovative, unproven ideas and nontraditional school founders, such as those coming from other professional backgrounds besides teaching and school leadership. How much does the average pilot cost? We've observed that $30K would have been adequate for founders we've worked with in the past. This amount would push founders to be scrappy and creative, utilizing partnerships and community assets. Key costs will likely be around staff, food, and materials. • Pilot Prerequisites • Frameworks for goal setting • Key planning milestones • Recommended timeline of activities • Library of resources • Project Management Dashboard https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ro1vN-aa6F9h2qtFLaUBT7bDwViSfbDUDAUIHmxRKbo/edit?usp=sharing www.bit.ly/simulatorplaybook CHECK IT OUT HERE or at bit.ly/simulatorplaybook WHAT’S INSIDE?
  23. 23. GET IN TOUCH We hope this report will spark conversations about how to catalyze innovation, reduce risk, and support new school founders in the early stages of school development. If you’re interested in piloting your idea for a school, supporting founders in your area in the process of piloting, sponsoring an entrepreneur through the testing process, or simply want to learn more, we want to hear from you! QUESTIONS? IDEAS? WANT TO LEARN MORE? Please reach out to us: simulatorplaybook@4pt0.org
  24. 24. APPENDIX APPENDIX A: SCHOOL BUILDER TIMELINE SUMMARY Financial Capital Understand User Test Instructional Model Run a Month-long Pilot Full-Scale Launch How long will it take? Human Capital ~$100 1 to 3 months 3 to 6 months 4 to 6 months 2 years Founder(s) part-time approx. 20 hours total Founder(s) part-time 10-20 hours per week Founder(s) part-time during planning and full-time during pilot Founder(s) full-time plus 3+ full-time staff in last year ~$5,000 ~$30,000 ~$1M continued on the following page
  25. 25. Things to Learn Understand User Test Instructional Model Run a Month-long Pilot Full-Scale Launch APPENDIX 25 1. Who are the students and families in my community that are not being served by current options? 2. What are their underlying needs that are not being met? Why aren't these needs being met? 3. What should you design to meet these needs? What are you assuming and therefore need to test? 1. Does your instructional model serve a specific need significantly better than alternatives for 10 of your target students? How can you prove that with student performance data? 2. What are the key cost drivers of your operational model? How much capital do you need before opening the school? 3. What leadership and content skills are you missing and need to learn? 1. What is a financially sustainable model for the school? 2. What are the effective ways to recruit families? 3. What will school look like across multiple academic and operational areas? 4. What will be the operations needs for the school as it grows? 5. What will be the facility needs of the new school? 6. Are you the right person to lead this school? 1. What are key attributes you're looking for in staff? 2. What will curriculum look like across all areas when the school launches? 3. What are effective governance systems? 4. What is the external outreach/ pitch of the school to families, funders, and staff? 5. What are Federal/ State/Authorizer compliance requirements? 6. What are the operations requirements before opening? 7. How do you maintain culture as organization grows? continued on the following page
  26. 26. Things to Do Understand User Test Instructional Model Run a Month-long Pilot Full-Scale Launch APPENDIX 26 1. Find 5-10 families who meet your target criteria. Interview them to understand why their need is not being met today. 2. Research schools serving similar target students. Document what you learn and start identifying potential schools to visit. 3. Design and run one or more half day, pop-up classes with 5-10 families who volunteer to give you candid feedback. 1. Run an afterschool or week long pilot. Measure the effectiveness of the core element of your model. 2. Visit schools serving similar target students. Document what you learn and start identifying potential mentors in them. 3. Identify your skill and capital gaps based on pilot learnings. Connect with the right partners to fill these gaps. This includes creating an advisory board. 1. Run a full-day month long pilot for a single class of students as a summer program. Measure the effectiveness of your model. 2. Build financial model for launch of school 3. Build local stakeholder relationships 4. Transition advisory board to governing board 5. Identify suitable facilities to use during startup 1. Apply for Charter School 2. Negotiate Contract with Authorizer/ Oversight Entity 3. Recruit and hire key staff / develop HR policies 4. Finalize operational issues 5. Recruit students and families 6. Secure facility 7. Staff/parent onboarding plan 8. Develop communication channels for all stakeholders 9. Evaluate progress across key metrics (academic, operations) 10. Recruit families and staff

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