Students at Design-Lab High charter school in Newark has been awarded a $10 million grant from the XQ Institute to schools with innovative ideas for changing models of education.
On Tuesday The XQ: The Super School Project bus tour made a stop at the Delaware school—one of several school visits in the U.S. over the coming months to encourage the community to change the way they think of the American high school.
“If you look at the American public high school system it hasn’t changed in 100 years. We always say it’s gone from a Model T to a Tesla, a switchboard to a cell phone and a typewriter to a touch screen and yet our schools have not changed,” said Seema Thakker, a spokeswoman for XQ.
“It’s obvious the system is not working the way it is. It doesn’t work when change comes from the top down. We need our change to come from the people, and this has been the largest open call in history to redesign the American public high school.”
XQ Institute, founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, is an organization dedicated to improving the education system by rethinking models of learning.
The organization launched XQ: The Super School Project a year ago, asking students, teachers, parents and community leaders to come together create innovate models for 21st century learning.
More than 700 schools applied for the grant, and Design-Lab was one of 10 schools selected after a lengthy judging process. Originally XQ planned to award grants to five schools.
“When we launched this a year ago we had no idea what participation we would have,” Thakker said. “When you give people the tools they need, the tools they want, to be empowered they will take them and they will run with them. It was overwhelming the breadth and depth of the ideas we received and we couldn’t stop at 5.”
On Tuesday community members had the opportunity to meet local Super School winners and learn more about their modern ideas on how to prepare students for college and career.
A customized school bus equipped with interactive technology travels across the country, providing students, parents, teachers and community members the opportunity to learn more about effective solutions to improve the education system.
Thakker said she believes the grants will give students a voice.
“All our super schools and school builders brought in student voice to their submissions,” she said. “Bringing in student voice and learning to listen to students was a critical aspect to all this.”