XQ: The Super School Project Announces Furr Institute for Innovative Thinking as One of 10 Winning Super Schools Out of Nearly 700 Proposals
HOUSTON – Today, after a rigorous 11-month application and evaluation process, XQ Institute has announced winning Super Schools, including Houston-based team Furr Institute for Innovative Thinking (FIIT). Each school will be awarded $10 million over the next 5 years. All 10 schools will serve as catalysts for change, making high school more relevant, engaging and effective 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.”
Furr Institute for Innovative Thinking is focused on relevant learning that addresses issues of social justice that impact students’ lives while empowering them to have a positive impact on their local community, and beyond.
“We are so thankful and honored by this generous award,” said FIIT Principal and Team Lead Dr. Bertie Simmons. “Here at Furr, we have always been focused on creating greater opportunity for our students. Now, our whole community has come together to push ourselves further and co-create a new model for high school with our students at the helm. We are so excited for the coming year and to build a school that encourages and challenges our students to take ownership of their learning and empowers them to develop local solutions that lift their community and allow them to thrive and succeed.”
Furr has made significant progress in the past 15 years. Once plagued by violence, and seen as a “drop-out” factory by many, Furr has gone from a 57% graduation rate to 95% in 2015. Now, FIIT is taking the next step to ensure students not only graduate from high school but are deeply prepared to succeed in today’s world. FIIT will use highly localized learning—with the environmental issues that affect the local community as a frame—to connect students to their learning on a very personal level. Through this frame, FIIT seeks to engage students to learn core academic subjects by exploring their passions and empowering them to act as changemakers to solve problems affecting their community. A profile of the team can be found on the XQ website.
“Being involved in this process, not just as a student, but as a leader, has shown me that my voice matters,” said Furr High School Senior Jordan Davis. “I’m excited for this year and the chance we now have to actually build this school that we dreamed together—a school that not only excites students, but empowers us to take a stand for ourselves and our community.”
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.
For additional information about XQ: The Super School Project, or the selected Super School designs, contact Kacey Bonner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-402-3013.
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, visit www.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.