Yesterday it was announced that Washington Leadership Academy Public Charter School won an astonishing $10 million grant from XQ: The Super School Project to reinvent the American high school model. Washington Leadership had already won one of the CityBridge Foundaton’s Breakthrough Schools awards to create new revolutionary methods for delivering education.
As Mieka Wick, CityBridge’s executive director explained in a press release, in September 2015 XQ announced that that it would be awarding 10 grants of $10 million each to schools. Interestingly, another Breakthrough School, Monument Academy PCS, made it to the semifinal round for the XQ prize.
The Washington Post’s Emma Brown expertly captures the excitement of what Washington Leadership Academy is trying to achieve:
“The academy, which opened its doors for the first time last month, combines online, project-based and service learning with new and emerging technologies such as virtual reality. Someday, the school would like to work with holographic teaching — which could allow a person in Arizona to show up, via hologram, in a classroom in Alaska — and it is putting its plans and operations online for anyone to copy. Eventually, the school will post its lessons, too.”
Washington Leadership was co-founded by Seth Andrews, who created the highly regarded Democracy Prep charter schools, one of which now operates in the District.
XQ: The Super School Project is the brainchild of Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs. Ms. Brown indicated that half of the winners are charters and the other half are traditional schools. She goes on to reveal that the selection of winning schools was made by 42 judges that included education reformers plus other individuals with a wide variety of talents and expertise including the musician MC Hammer.
These are not the only funds that this organization will distribute. The group was so enthusiastic about some of the proposals that did not receive grand prizes that it will provide financial resources and other support in the future to those that rose near the top.
The Washington Post story goes on to state that 700 teams composed of almost 10,000 people applied for the grants. The original idea was to give out five $10 million awards but the number was doubled due to the outpouring of interest.
Congratulations to Washington Leadership Academy PCS.