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Social Enterprise HBS Business Plan Finalists – School Revolution

1. YOUR PITCH:
In part due to education reforms triggered by No Child Left Behind, policymakers now have much more information on how U.S. urban public schools are performing and how many are in need of serious intervention. Further, district leaders face increasingly strong consequences for failing to improve student achievement at these schools. To address this challenge, districts are searching for new ways to improve the performance of chronically failing schools. While a number of districts have experimented with incremental change strategies at some of their most troubled schools, these methods, by objective measures, have been insufficient to address the challenge and often result in minimal if any improvement. Additional, bold types of reform are desperately needed and being sought. “School turnaround” – distinct from other, more incremental school improvement efforts – is a method for realizing dramatic academic improvements for existing and incoming students in chronically failing schools over a short amount of time. The idea is centered on injecting the methodologies of the highest-performing urban schools into historically failing urban schools, thus significantly and rapidly improving school quality, and thereby ensuring that traditionally underserved students make immediate achievement gains. School Revolution will become a non-profit school turnaround organization that transforms failing urban district schools into extraordinary, autonomous charter schools at which at least 75% of students become proficient in math and English within three years. We aim to have revolutionized 44 schools and improved the life prospects of more than 20,000 students within 10 years.

2. IDEA: WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
The two founders of School Revolution, Scott Given and Yutaka Tamura, are uniquely well-positioned to take on the district school turnaround challenge and thereby fulfill an urgent, unmet need. We have direct experience spearheading a school turnaround. From 2005-2008, under our leadership, and in full collaboration with a tremendous faculty, Excel Academy, a once struggling public school in East Boston, MA, was transformed into one of the highest performing urban schools in the United States; nearly 100% of its students have become grade-level proficient in English Language Arts and mathematics. This remains one of the few successful public school turnarounds in recent U.S. educational history. Thus, we are founding School Revolution because we believe that we can scale our school turnaround approach. We are founding School Revolution because we believe that America needs us to scale our school turnaround approach.

April 27, 2009
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