An article by Joy Resmovits in the Los Angeles Times titled “Steve Jobs’ widow is giving two L.A. teachers $10 million to start a school for homeless and foster youth” probed me to want to find out more about the XQ: Super School Project.
The XQ Super School Project is a national competition funded by Laurene Powell Jobs. This year-long competition, challenged people to reimagine high schools and to “think outside of the box” with a goal of awarding five winners. More than 700 teams submitted their ideas, and the ideas were so captivating that awarding five winners became somewhat of a challenge. As a result, the XQ Super School Project awarded ten winners. One of which was, RISE High, which stands for Revolutionary Individualized Student Experience. This soon to be charter school will be awarded a prize of $10 million over a five year period.
RISE is a fresh and entirely new approach to high school in a space where our high schools have been at a standstill while the world around them has continued to evolve. This high school will be designed based on the needs of disadvantaged students including homeless and foster youth. RISE hopes to facilitate access to a consistent education by providing a variety of access points to it with the goal of improving the chance for these kids to complete their high school education. RISE would also like to provide the students with the much needed support they need throughout all of high school. One way is by connecting students and families to resources throughout the community. Often difficulties outside of school intervene with academics. These resources would offer students whatever help they need outside of the classroom to allow them to continue their education.
The intention is to have three to four physical sites, an online learning system, and to keep classroom sizes small with approximately 25 students. For the students in greater need, RISE would like to make available a mobile resource center, which will transport students to and from classes, provide Wi-Fi, help with homework, and a washer and dryer.
Each student will receive a personalized plan tailored to his specific needs, which will include any needs outside of education. RISE will be working with social service organizations to coordinate services like healthcare, food, fitness, and art as well as legal services. RISE plans to work closely with CLC, Children’s Law Center of California, which represents over 30,000 children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned.
Kari Croft and Erin Whalen: Kari worked at Da Vinci Schools, a group of charter schools, and Erin is a teacher at an East Los Angeles Charter school, KIPP Sol Academy.
Kari and Erin’s idea is NEW and innovating, so you won’t find a cookie cutter formula for this type of high school. The plan is to open the school in the fall of 2017.
Monica Luna Gonzalez
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