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RISE High, Incubated at Da Vinci Schools, Wins $10 Million 'Super School' Grant to Reimagine High School

The new school, opening in fall 2017, will serve homeless, foster youth, and other students with diverse learning needs, sharing space with existing nonprofits in downtown Los Angeles and other high need areas

(September 14, 2016) -- We are extremely excited and proud to announce that RISE High, a new high school incubated at Da Vinci Schools, has been selected as one of 10 'Super School' winners in a national contest to reimagine American high schools. RISE High was honored earlier today by XQ America in a live streaming broadcast from Washington, D.C. >> Meet theSuper Schools

XQ: The Super School Project, co-led by Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and founder of the Emerson Collective, is funding 10 new public high school models, providing each school with expert support and $10 million over the next five years. XQ received nearly 700 applications from 45 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. The challenge was the largest open call in history, calling on educators, entrepreneurs, parents, pioneers, business leaders, administrators, researchers, and most important of all, students themselves to rethink what American high school should be.

>>  Steve Jobs' widow is giving two L.A. teachers $10 million to start a school for homeless and foster youth

(LA Times | September 14, 2016)

Opening in fall 2017, RISE High was designed to meet the unique needs of homeless, foster youth,and other students with diverse learning needs. In L.A. County, there are between 6,000 and 10,000 homeless youth; homeless and foster youth are 87% more likely to leave high school before graduating.

"We are deeply grateful to XQ and honored by the opportunity to impact students and families with a broader range of learning styles and needs. The RISE High model is a bold step toward reimagining high school and college for some of our most underserved students in the Los Angeles region. This grant will help redefine what a transformative educational system looks like and what roles that stakeholders, such as ourselves, can and should play in bringing about meaningful change" said Chet Pipkin, President of Da Vinci Schools' Board of Trustees and the Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of Belkin International.

Pipkin and angel investor Scott Banister funded Da Vinci Schools' first fellowship residency in 2015-16, which led to the creation of the RISE High model by Kari Croft, a graduate of Harvard University's School Leadership Program, and Da Vinci's first Fellow. Croft came to Da Vinci Schools to apprentice with Da Vinci principals, teachers, and Dr. Scott Weatherford, the Director of Da Vinci Institute. She spent the 2015-16 school year studying Da Vinci's real-world, project-based curriculum, industry partnership model, and strong student-centered culture. Da Vinci Schools are currently incubating the RISE High academic model this year under the banner of Da Vinci Flex.

RISE High will exist outside the traditional time and space confines of high school. Rather than housing all learning experiences in one central, traditional school building, RISE will share space with existing nonprofits in downtown Los Angeles and other high need areas to ensure that students experiencing unstable living conditions that require constant moving will have a variety of access points to a consistent school model and network of adults and peers. The school facilities will be co-located with existing nonprofit service partners who have proven success in the provision of wraparound services such as medical and mental health care; health, fitness, and well-being; legal services; meals; arts, and extracurricular activities. Students will have access to flexible scheduling to meet their personal needs and fulfill any additional responsibilities they have, such as working to support themselves and family, or taking care of children or younger siblings. A RISE App will provide 24/7 access to academic support and to meals and shelter availability.

In addition to the brick-and-mortar facilities in downtown Los Angeles and in other high need areas, RISE will provide a mobile resource center that supports students across the city and meets a variety of their academic and personal needs, transports them to and from classes, and serves as a recruitment and intake center for new students. Other details still to be determined include who will govern and operate the new charter school and where its facilities will be co-located. When fully enrolled, RISE will serve up to about 500 students.

The RISE High team consists of 26 educators, industry experts, nonprofit service providers, and students. Partners to date include:

Belkin International
Children's Law Center of California
College for America
Da Vinci Schools

Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology Doctoral Program in Learning Technologies
School on Wheels
Schools That Can
Southern New Hampshire University
Wiseburn Unified School District

The RISE High Team:

Kari Croft, Team Delegate/Da Vinci Fellow
Reid Anderson, Educator
Natasha Bayus, School on Wheels
Dr. Don Brann, Former Superintendent, Wiseburn Unified School District
Maigon Buckner, Da Vinci Schools
Quoqueze Coleman, parent
Michael Druckman, Schools That Can
Jozie Flores, student
Aaron Gensler, Gensler
Tori Gonzalez, student
Leslie Heimov, Children's Law Center of California
Rob Jernigan, Gensler
Kevyn Johnson, student
Nathan Kim, Gensler
Dr. Paul LeBlanc, Southern New Hampshire University/College for America
Spencer Lee, Da Vinci Schools
Carla Levenson, Da Vinci Schools
Catherine Meek, School on Wheels
Chet Pipkin, Belkin International
Kia Reid, student
Neil Spears, PowerMyLearning
Reyanna Vance, Educator
Dr. Scott Weatherford, Da Vinci Schools
Erin Whalen, Educator
Dr. Matthew Wunder, Da Vinci Schools
Dr. Caprice Young, Education Growth Group

RISE would not have earned this award without the incomparable commitment of our entire Da Vinci staff, students, families, board members, partners, and charter authorizer who so generously shared their heart, grit, refinement, ingenuity and highly effective practices with the RISE High team this past year.


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