The School Incubator provides a collaborative cohort experience of exceptional education leaders to plan highly-effective schools that improve student achievement in a low-income community and maintain a high level of performance throughout its existence. This program guides participants through an 18-month planning period to design or redesign their schools, including board development and capacity building for the leaders. The School Incubator is designed to provide direct guidance to a small cohort of development teams through a series of comprehensive trainings, individualized consulting, and guidance from school experts. It is available once a year, with each new cohort selected through a rigorous selection process. Starting in 2014, this program can also be customized to lead an existing public charter or district school through a comprehensive reform and redesign process, contingent upon certain conditions of autonomy and leadership capacity being met.
The school development process is divided into three phases that build from an initial vision setting experience, comprising a total of four phases of school planning and leadership capacity building.
Phase 1 | Vision Setting
The school development timeline starts with a vision setting and exploration process to refine core beliefs and to develop an educational model grounded in what works. Most incubator teams participate in the New Schools For Phoenix Fellowship during this phase and prior to applying for the School Incubator (Phases 2-4). Find out more about the Fellowship here.
Phase 2 | Plan Development
Participants progress through a series of trainings with a small cohort of teams during the critical months of the school’s core planning period. Each session includes rich information, group discussion, pre- and post-assignments, and expert guidance. Teams also participate in one-on-one consulting sessions aligned to their unique needs. The culmination of part one is the submission of a final well-written, research-based charter application, school plan or comprehensive strategic reform plan.
Phase 3 | Capacity Building
The second part of the School Incubator focuses on building the capacity of the school leader(s) and governing board, as well as making any necessary revisions to the school plan. Also during this time frame, school leaders have the option to serve a residency at a high performing school while gaining hands-on experience in an administrative role at a model school. Further, the school leader and proposed governing board will continue to participate in periodic training workshops.
Phase 4 | Start-Up
In phase four, School Incubator staff continue to support development teams during the critical start-up months between the time the charter is approved and the first day of school. During this period, school development teams work on all necessary steps to open or reopen the school with success, including recruiting and hiring staff, enrolling students, securing a facility, and fully developing the school’s ability to implement its academic program plan and operational systems.
*Accepted applicants are admitted into Phase 2. Only participants who achieve program milestones as determined by staff will advance to Phase 3 and Phase 4.
2014 Application and Details
The deadline for the 2014 School Incubator has passed, check back in the Fall of 2014 for information about the 2015 application cycle.