After a rigorous 11-month application and evaluation process, XQ: The Super School Project has announced winning Super Schools, including Grand Rapids-based team, the Grand Rapids Public Museum High School. Each school will be awarded $10 million over the next 5 years. All 10 schools will serve as new models for making high school more relevant, effective and engaging for every student, everywhere.
"The Super School Project was born out of the conviction and commitment that every child from every background has a right to a quality education that prepares them for a future none of us can easily predict," said Russlynn Ali, Chief Executive Officer of XQ Institute. "We are proud to partner with each of these 10 amazing teams who represent the power of communities coming together to restore the goals and excellence that the founders of our public schools envisioned."
Of the 10 winning schools, Grand Rapids Public Museum High School is focused on creating a learning environment that leverages cultural artifacts, local impact projects, and museum studies to spark student inquiry and creativity.
"We are grateful to receive this generous award and are so inspired by the real excitement we have seen from our entire city around this concept," said Grand Rapids Public Museum School Principal Christopher Hanks. "Grand Rapids answered the call to rethink high school with such passion and commitment. Since day one, our community rallied around the idea that we could do more for our kids, and that the skills, resources and dedication needed to turn our vision into a reality lives right here in the heart of Grand Rapids."
An expansion of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Middle School, which opened in 2015, the Public Museum High School will leverage the unique cultural artifacts and museum archives of Grand Rapids to create a one-of-a-kind learning environment where students are pushed to take risks, guide their own learning and solve real world problems. The school will work in partnership with the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art & Design/Ferris State University, City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., and local businesses to shape the student curriculum. Students will work on projects that give them the opportunity to tackle real-world challenges in their community. For example, students will be involved in one of the largest urban river restoration projects in the United States by working with world-renowned scientists to remove and replace mussel species within the Grand River. A profile of the team can be found on the XQ website.
"Being a student at the Grand Rapids Public Museum Middle School has taught me so much about the world and city I live in," said Madison Wilson, a 7th grader at the Public Museum Middle School. "I am excited that we are opening a high school because that means even more students like me will get the chance to be part of a school that is engaging, creative, and uniquely specific to Grand Rapids."
XQ: The Super School Project was born from a commitment made by Emerson Collective in July 2014 to find and develop the best designs for next generation high schools as part of President Obama's My Brother's Keeper Initiative. Launched in September 2015, XQ: The Super School Project was an open call to America to meet the challenge of preparing our students for today's world by dreaming, designing, and creating the next American high school.
From its beginning, XQ: The Super School Project has asked communities to self-assemble, engage young people and offer ideas on how to create models that challenge students as critical thinkers to take on real world problems and have a positive impact on the world.
In the coming months, the 10 teams, selected from nearly 700 submitted proposals, will begin building and implementing their Super School Designs.
About XQ: The Super School Project:
XQ: The Super School Project launched in September 2015 as an open call to rethink and design the next American high school. Thousands of School Builders, and tens of thousands of supporters from towns and cities across all 50 states have united to take on this important work. Teams of students, teachers, parents, community leaders and many more came together to conceptualize innovative models for 21st century learning.
Since its launch, XQ has proven to be more than a challenge to create innovative high schools. It is a growing movement to reimagine what is possible for public education in America, and a hub for community voices, cutting edge ideas, and expert resources to create new pathways to success for students. For more information, visitwww.xqsuperschool.org, and follow us at @XQAmerica.
About XQ Institute:
XQ Institute is an organization dedicated to rethinking school in America in order to create new learning opportunities for young people and open up the possibilities of the wider world. The Institute's board of directors is chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs, Chair of the Emerson Collective. The CEO and founder is Russlynn Ali, former Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, and Managing Director of Education at the Emerson Collective. For more information, visit www.xqinstitute.org.