New American Schools Corp. Has New Identity, Same Goal
After seven years in operation, the New American Schools Development Corp. officially closed down last week. A successor organization, called simply New American Schools, was created to continue its work of providing reform models for schools.
The new organization, which had been informally using the abbreviated name for some time, elected John Ong, the chairman emeritus of the Richfield, Ohio-based BFGoodrich Co., as its chairman.
New American Schools will concentrate on increasing its efforts to improve the quality, supply, and sustainability of its design teams, perhaps adding teams over time and continuing to be a participant in education policy debate nationally, its leaders said.
The Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit group will also work to provide districts with strategies and tools to make whole-school reform work--something the organization didn't think about at first, Mr. Ong said. "The design teams need our help, but districts need our help as well."
Currently, 1,000 schools in 31 states are using a New Schools design. Much of that work is focused in a handful of jurisdictions where the organization is trying to bring reform "to scale." For example, in Memphis, Tenn., every school is adopting a whole-school design, and in San Antonio, about 70 percent of schools are involved in the venture. Design teams have also begun charging fees for services.
The New Schools corporation was launched in 1991 by the business community at the urging of President Bush. It has raised some $127 million. The goal over the next three years is to raise about $20 million more, said John Anderson, the group's president. It is on target to reach that goal, he said.
New American Schools hopes to capitalize on the availability of $150 million in recent federal funding for whole-school reforms. That aid will give about 2,500 schools and 1.25 million students access to research-based reform designs.
--ADRIENNE D. COLES
Vol. 18, Issue 9, Page 6