Two New Charter Public School Groups In Washington Receive Major National Funding Award

    

For Immediate Release: May 3, 2017

Contact: Maggie Meyers at maggie@wacharters.org or (724) 263-9826

NewSchools Venture Fund selects new charter public schools in Walla Walla and Tukwila for prestigious funding and management award

SEATTLE — The Washington State Charter Schools Association (WA Charters) is proud to announce that Impact Public Schools and Willow Public School, two homegrown Washington state charter public school groups, were selected as members of the 2017 NewSchools Invent cohort at NewSchools Venture Fund (NSVF). This marks the first time that NSVF has awarded organizations in Washington state.

Impact Public Schools and Willow Public School are two of 29 organizations nationwide in the 2017 NewSchools Invent cohort. Each cohort member is committed to launch a new, innovative school or instructional model designed to provide all students an opportunity to succeed. In addition to funding, NewSchools Invent provides teams with a supportive cohort experience—from the critical planning phase through early implementation—to help make their visions for groundbreaking new schools a reality.

“We are proud to have cultivated charter public schools in Washington that are innovative, effective, and committed to serving communities in need of high-quality public school options,” said WA Charters CEO Patrick D’Amelio. “Impact Public Schools and Willow Public School embody these characteristics, and WA Charters is very excited for their launch and the continued growth of our sector and public school system.”

Teams were selected based on the promise of their school’s ability to meet the needs of today’s students, with an emphasis on school models that are designed to personalize learning for students and enable them to develop the agency that leads to long-term success.

“Too many of today’s schools were built for a different time and purpose,” said Scott Benson, Managing Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund. “We believe schools can be reimagined to better prepare young people for the future. That’s why NewSchools Invent is proud to invest in these teams of educators who are thinking boldly and creating new opportunities to set students up for success, regardless of where they’re from.”

Impact Public Schools (IPS) is a new, homegrown charter network—led by an experienced team of innovative educators—and is applying to open its first K-5 school in Tukwila in fall 2018.

The organization’s mission is to prepare diverse student populations to succeed in college and impact communities as Washington state’s next generation of equity-driven, innovative leaders.

“We know the ‘factory model’ of education is not working for the vast majority of students in America, particularly in economically-disadvantaged communities, and in Washington state where our opportunity gap continues to grow,” said Jen Davis Wickens, Co-founder and CEO of IPS. “There has never been a more important time than now to boldly reimagine what’s possible for all students—especially those whose voices are currently marginalized—and to create our next generation of diverse leaders prepared to transform the 21st century.”

Willow is an approved charter public school operator planning to open doors to grades 6-8 in Fall 2018. Willow Executive Director Dan Calzaretta is a seasoned educator with over 25 years in education​, including eight years as a teacher in Walla Walla Public Schools. Willow will provide a personalized, innovative program to meet the needs of all students, by infusing technology, creativity, collaboration, and an emphasis on personal responsibility in all aspects of their program.

​”The very generous grant from the NewSchools Venture Fund will help Willow Public School to fulfil our mission of making sure all students—regardless of where they live, their family income, or the color of their skin—have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for high school, college, and career,” said Calzaretta.

NewSchools Invent is part of NewSchools Venture Fund’s Innovative Schools strategy, and supports teams of educators whose visions for innovative new public schools can help students in every neighborhood have a great school that works for them. NewSchools Invent provides funding and a supportive cohort experience to strong teams developing new district and charter schools across the country.

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit that finds, funds and supports promising and innovative education entrepreneurs, teams of educators and education leaders. We help them accomplish their missions to achieve outstanding results for the schools, students and educators they serve. We are committed to helping students graduate high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through our investing, management assistance, network building, and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine K–12 education.

To more about NewSchools Venture Fund, visit: http://www.newschools.org/

About Impact Public Schools

Impact Public School (IPS) is a new, homegrown charter network that is applying to open its first K-5 school in Tukwila in fall 2018. The organization’s mission is to prepare diverse student populations to succeed in college and impact communities as Washington state’s next generation of equity-driven, innovative leaders.

The organization is co-founded by two local leaders, Jen Davis Wickens and Natalie Hester, who share a powerful history in community based work in the South Puget Sound region, including building Summit Public Schools in Washington state. Prior to co-founding IPS, Jen served as the Chief Regional Officer for Summit Public Schools in Washington and Natalie was a founding parent and advocate of Summit Sierra. Based on community demand, they have teamed up to continue building more high-quality public school options for families across the state.

To learn more about IPS, visit http://www.impactps.org/.

About Willow Public School

Willow is an approved charter public school operator planning to open doors to grades 6-8 in Fall 2018. The mission of Willow Public School is to provide a personalized, innovative program to meet the needs of all students, especially those from underserved populations. The school infuses technology, creativity, collaboration, and an emphasis on personal responsibility in all aspects of the program, to prepare students for success during high school, college, and a career. Willow’s focus on community allows the school to partner with parents, businesses, social services organizations, and Walla Walla Public Schools to provide all the supports necessary for student success.

​Willow Executive Director Dan Calzaretta is a seasoned educator with over 25 years in education​, including eight years as a teacher in Walla Walla Public Schools. He also founded the award-winning Pacific Crest Community School in Portland, Oregon.

To learn more about Willow, visit http://www.willowpublicschool.org/.

About Washington’s Charter Public Schools

Charter schools are a type of public school, approved and overseen by a state or district authorizer. Like all public schools, they do not charge tuition, they are open to all students, and they are publicly funded. However, charter public schools are held more accountable for showing improved student achievement. In exchange for greater accountability, teachers and principals are given more flexibility to customize their teaching methods and curriculum to improve student learning.

Washington’s charter public schools are helping to close the education equity gap. A majority of charter public school students in Washington are students of color, as compared to 43 percent statewide, and a majority of charter public school students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, as compared to 45 percent statewide. Reflecting the diversity of the students they serve, 39 percent of our schools’ founding teachers identified as people of color, whereas the the statewide average for nonwhite teachers is 13 percent.

In some communities, traditional public schools are meeting the needs of local students. But in other communities—particularly communities of color that struggle with poverty—they are not. According to 2015-16 academic results, students at Washington’s charter public schools are making impressive gains in reading and math.

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