Nobel Learning Communities Inc., the largest for-profit operator of precollegiate private schools in the country, is laying the groundwork for an expansion into China.
The Media, Pa.-based company operates 162 private schools, charter schools, and special education schools in the United States.
Nobel announced last week that it had formed a strategic partnership with South Ocean Development Corp., which owns seven private K-12 schools and two colleges in China.
Initially, the two companies will link their schools over the Internet for cultural and educational exchanges. Next summer, U.S. teachers and students will visit the Chinese schools, and their counterparts will come here, a company spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Nobel and South Ocean are exploring opening a private international school in Beijing. The school would serve both Chinese students and children of foreign nationals. The companies are also exploring the idea of opening preschools in China, they said.
Advantage Schools Inc., a Boston-based charter-school-management company, is also exploring some new markets: urban public schools.
The company has launched an effort to contract with school districts to manage some of their schools. The company has hired Waldemar "Bill" Rojas, a former superintendent of schools in Dallas and San Francisco, to head the new initiative.
Most for-profit charter-management companies have been hired by independent charter groups or by states to run charter schools. Advantage's push into public school contracting would put it into more direct competition with Edison Schools Inc., the New York City company that manages charter schools and traditional public schools under contract with districts.
Both companies have submitted bids to the New York City school system, which is considering turning over the management of some of its lowest-performing schools to private concerns.
Vol. 20, Issue 5, Page 8