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LA Charter School for Homeless Youth and Other Super School Winners Announced

LA Charter School for Homeless and Foster Youth and Other Super School Winners Announced

Two Los Angeles educators have been named winners of XQ: The Super School Project, a project funded by Laurene Powell Jobs to re-think traditional high school and pave the way for an upgraded future of learning.

Kari Croft and Erin Whalen’s project is one of 10 winning designs, each receiving $10 million to turn their concept into reality. Croft and Whalen will be using the money to design RISE High, a school designed to "meet homeless and foster-care students where they are, geographically, academically, socially and emotionally; and will open up clear pathways to college and career,” according to The Super School Project’s website.

School sites will be embedded within multiple social-service-provider locations to create a citywide campus allowing RISE students to master a college- and career-ready curriculum in the ways, and at the places, that work best for them.

If a student isn’t near a brick-and-mortar campus, RISE’s mobile resource center will drive to the students—so nothing can stop these students from becoming college-, career- and life-ready.

RISE High seems to be a particularly relevant design out of the 10 “super school” models because of a recent national push to better educate the country’s homeless and foster youth.

America’s new education legislation, The Every Student Succeeds Act, for example, has prioritized improving regulations for how schools include homeless youth.

[Read: U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance to Clarify ESSA Provisions Designed to Protect Homeless Youth]

In July, the U.S. Department of Education released a guidance to ensure that schools are making plans to adhere to the new provisions included in the reauthorized McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act that will go into effect October 1.

The Department addressed many of the problems that plague homeless students as they struggle to pursue an education, including frequent school changes due to living a transient lifestyle, being disproportionately disciplined against due to behavior caused by traumatic circumstances, and being chronically absent due to a combination of factors caused by being homeless.

Under the new amendments of the McKinney-Vento Act, schools will for the first time be required to identify homeless children and youth and ensure that pre-school-aged homeless children are receiving the support services they need.

Los Angeles, nationally known for its homeless crisis and being home to a record number of homeless students, will serve as an ideal location to test a school specifically designed to address the unique needs that homeless students and foster youth have.

In addition to having a mobile resource center, the school will also be equipped with washers and dryers, an unconventional addition that has been proven to reduce chronic absenteeism. 

Other winners of the Super School Project include a school on a barge, a year-round school where students focus on pursuing interests and more.

See the full list of winners here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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