Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Spring Branch ISD Wins Large Grant for its School Redesign Work

Back to school in Spring Branch ISD also signals the beginning of a new, exciting learning and sharing opportunity for many campuses. They will join this year in a common journey to rethink and retool their current school designs.

This type of innovative redesign work is made possible through a new, $250,000 grant received by SBISD from the NewSchools Venture Fund, a national nonprofit that supports educators across the nation as they “reimagine” learning to achieve improved results for schools, students and educators.

The NewSchools Fund supported district level and school redesign work last year, too, which led to the August opening of the Atlantis and Endeavour programs for about 100 students at Spring Branch Middle School. That grant totaled $75,000.

Read about the Atlantis/Endeavour program here >>

“We are committed to helping students graduate high school both prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through investments, management assistance, network building and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine PreK-12 education,” the fund’s leadership reports.   

The first-year programs at Spring Branch Middle School resemble “micro-school” or “reimagined” program-within-a-school models. They follow a year of planning and design with campus and community stakeholders and parents. Elements being piloted there this year include an expanded definition of student success, rigorous interdisciplinary learning and community time, among other program highlights.

SBISD was one of 10 education organizations chosen last year by NewSchools for school redesign support. Planning and design work was led by a NewSchools partner group called Transcend, which supported teams of Spring Branch Middle teachers, parents and others who put their heads together about the present, future and campus design needs.

A core belief of the NewSchools and Transcend teams is that for schools to serve student needs – today and in the future – schools will need to look different than they do now. 

This year’s NewSchools $250,000 grant supports school design, development and implementation study this year with 10 more SBISD campuses. Study, design and results are tailored to the individual needs of schools, not to a few models.

School Redesign Collaborative Schools this year include seven elementary schools – Buffalo Creek, Pine Shadows, Sherwood, Terrace, Hunters Creek, Nottingham, Wilchester and Ridgecrest – and two secondary schools – Northbrook Middle and Spring Woods High.

Superintendent Scott Muri, Ed.D., praised NewSchools for its second-year grant, a sign that our 35,000-student district deserves increasing national attention as one public school district leader on education innovation and redesign.

“We’re enthusiastic that NewSchools has continued its support for campus-based teams as they examine, design and create the incredibly powerful and productive changes for kids that we expect. This outside financial commitment indicates and signals that SBISD is improving the learning experience for every child,” Dr. Muri said. “This type of investment will allow us to accelerate opportunities for more of our students.”

Created in 1998, the NewSchools Venture Fund has supported a variety of charter public schools and education reform initiatives. The charitable fund’s co-founders are Kim Smith, John Doerr and Brook Byers. Doerr and Byers are active Silicon Valley venture capitalists; Smith is known best as a social entrepreneur.

For more information about the NewSchools Venture Fund, please visit


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