Summit Schools Awarded $10 Million XQ Prize to Design High School of the Future

students cheering outside

Northern California-based public charter school network will partner with Oakland Unified School District and CCA to make winning Super School proposal a reality.

Summit Public Schools today announced that it was awarded the XQ Super School prize for its proposed redesign of the American high school.

From an original pool of more than 1,000 applicants, Summit is one of 10 teams to receive $10 million, which will go toward supporting the work of turning the proposal into a high-quality high school that’s designed to better prepare students for the new, heightened demands of the modern world.

XQ announced the winners at a ceremony in Washington DC and live streamed the event on Facebook.

Summit Elevate represents what Summit has spent 13 years working toward -- leading a cultural shift in the education system in the United States.

The high school, which will be located in Oakland, California, is the natural evolution of Summit’s effective personalized learning model, which empowers students to set individual goals, develop critical thinking skills and practice habits of success that will equip them with the skillset to succeed in college, career and life.

“We're honored that Summit Elevate, which was built on the foundation of Summit’s pioneering personalized learning model, was recognized as a school of the future," said Summit Public Schools Founder and CEO Diane Tavenner.

“Along with our partners, we designed this school to provide high-quality, free, public school education in a personalized model that will meet the needs of a diverse student population.”

Oakland Unified School District and the Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland, have signed on as partners to the project as Summit continues to design and develop the school, and engage the community.

“We are thrilled at this collaborative effort empowering more students to be the first in their families to graduate from college and pursue a career of their choice,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

“This partnership between Summit Public Schools, Oakland Unified School District, community members, and other key partners has the potential to spread best practices and personalized learning across the city.

"I am honored to work with Superintendent Wilson, Summit Public Schools, and other key partners to support students, teachers, and families; together, we are making Oakland a world-class city."

Key Partners

Summit is proud to be partnering with other leading organizations in K-12 education, higher education, and design: California College of the Arts, Gensler and Silicon Schools Fund.

The school will go beyond preparing students for success in college.

The school will feature a novel mentoring and advisory network that includes tutors, engaged professionals and community members who will support students in the pursuit of their academic and professional interests.

Also fundamental to Summit Elevate’s proposal is a commitment to partnering with public schools across the country to share resources that will help students, teachers and parents implement personalized learning in local classrooms.

CCA's Contribution to Summit Elevate

"CCA’s distinctive project-based pedagogy emphasizes interdisciplinary experimentation, risk-taking, and innovation, which makes the college a great cultural fit with Summit Schools," stated CCA President Stephen Beal.

"We are thrilled to play a part in revolutionizing high school education to help students on their path to success in college and ultimately in life."

CCA’s students, alumni, and community and industry partners will provide a broad network of mentors for the Summit Elevate students. The college can offer invaluable connections and unique outside learning opportunities for students as they move from high school to college and on to their careers.

Engaging the Oakland Community

“I’m excited that after a highly competitive process, XQ has chosen to support the transformative education work going on in Oakland,” said Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Antwan Wilson.

“Summit Public Schools is already doing extraordinary work to help teachers tailor learning to students’ individual needs, and we are eager to further deepen our partnership in ways that will benefit all Oakland students.”

Summit will hold a series of community meetings to provide the opportunity for input and collaboration from the local Oakland community. Summit already has a successful presence in the East Bay, with strong demand for its two schools in El Cerrito and Richmond.

They have also partnered with several Oakland district and charter schools participating in their personalized learning program, Summit Basecamp.

About Summit Public Schools

Summit Public Schools is a leading charter management organization serving diverse communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington State. Summit operates ten schools enrolling approximately 3,000 students.

Its mission is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to not only attend, but succeed in, a four-year college or university. Summit’s schools consistently rank among the best in California and the nation.

To date, 98 percent of Summit students have been accepted to one or more four-year colleges, and its graduates are completing college at double the national average.

For more information, visit the Summit Public Schools website.

About Oakland Unified School District

In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” Nearly half of its 50,000 students speak a non-English language at home.

Each of its 126 schools is staffed with talented individuals who unite around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Culturally Responsive, and Joy.

OUSD is committed to preparing all learners to excel in college, career, and community.

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates the creative leaders of tomorrow to make powerful contributions to society. CCA’s distinctive project-based educational model emphasizes interdisciplinary experimentation, risk-taking, and innovation.

CCA offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs in art, design, architecture, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners. Students study a wide range of disciplines -- from animation to architecture, fashion design to film, illustration to industrial design, and poetry to painting.

Coursework is guided by CCA’s founding vision that connecting artists to social, economic, and political life deepens the power of creative work and can change our world for the better.

Visit the CCA website.

Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland

Mayor Libby Schaaf was inaugurated Oakland, California’s 50th mayor on January 5, 2015. She is honored to serve the people of Oakland and to help promote her hometown as the greatest place to live, work, play and do business. She is committed to revitalization that preserves and celebrates Oakland’s diversity and leads to direct prosperity for long-time residents and newcomers.

Her four areas of focus as mayor are: holistic community safety, sustainable vibrant infrastructure, equitable jobs and housing and responsive trustworthy government.

In 2016, Mayor Schaaf and OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson launched The Oakland Promise, a cradle to career strategy with the vision to, as a community, ensure that all Oakland students graduate high school with the expectations, resources and skills to complete college and be successful in the career of their choice.  

The goal is to triple the number of college graduates from Oakland within a decade.

About Gensler

Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 46 locations and more than 5,000 professionals networked across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and the Americas. Founded in 1965, the firm serves more than 3,500 active clients in virtually every industry.  

Gensler designers strive to make the places people live, work and play more inspiring, more resilient, and more impactful.

Visit the Gensler website.

About Silicon Schools Fund

The Silicon Schools Fund is a venture philanthropy foundation that provides seed funding for new schools that use innovative education models and technology to personalize learning.  

Based in the Bay Area of California, Silicon Schools supports a mix of district, charter, and independent schools that are on the leading edge of blended learning and serve as laboratories of innovation and proof points of what is possible.

Visit the Silicon Schools website.