Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)
The CEE-Trust Times
December 2011

This edition of the CEE-Trust Times is chock full of news from our members across the country. As leaders of high-impact city-based education reform initiatives, our members are drawing greater attention and greater resources to the effort to improve public education. Over the past few months CEE-Trust members have been visited by former presidents of the United States, launched new charter school incubators, facilitated new District-Charter Compacts, and made major investments to support teacher quality and new school models. 


With all the good news to share, we're skipping the traditional CEE-Trust interview and doubling down on the updates from our members. We hope you are as inspired by their good work as we are. 


Here at CEE-Trust we're looking forward to December 7th: that's when we'll be co-hosting an event with the Fordham Institute in Washington, D.C. to talk about charter school incubation and policies to improve the climate for smart charter growth. We provide more info on the event in our Event Spotlight section below. We're also looking ahead to March, when we'll convene the full network again for a dynamic two-day event in beautiful Phoenix Arizona. More details to come. 


Lastly, please join me in welcoming Kye Hawkins to The Mind Trust. Kye will be serving as our CEE-Trust Associate, helping lead CEE-Trust's events and communications efforts and contributing to the strategic growth of the network. 


All the best in this holiday season,






In This Issue
Job Postings
Event Spotlight: Charter Incubation
Member Updates
Job Postings


Excellent Schools Detroit:

  • Executive Director of an Independent Standards and Accountability Commission (Senior Level)  
  • School Evaluation Manager (Entry to Mid Level)  

**Job descriptions can be found here.







Event Spotlight


Driving Quality: Can charter incubators solve the problem of 

too many mediocre charter schools?


Co-sponsored by CEE-Trust and The Fordham Institute

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST


Thomas B. Fordham Institute

1016 16th Street NW, 7thFloor

Washington, DC 20036 



While hundreds of new charter schools open across the country every year, not nearly enough of them offer the quality education that parents crave and kids deserve.  But a new model for charter school growth has taken root in several cities and it appears to be boosting quality as well as quantity. Charter "incubators" are accelerating the launch and development of top-flight charter schools in communities that need them most.


Join us on Wednesday, December 7 at the Fordham Institute to hear from leaders that are running some of the best of these new incubators. Co-sponsored by the CEE-Trust and The Fordham Institute, this discussion will analyze the key findings from a new policy brief by Public Impact, and provide lessons on how federal, state and local policymakers can help launch new quality charter schools in communities around the country.


This event will be webcast. There is no need to register for the webcast - simply visit Fordham's website at 3:30 p.m. EST on December 7, and watch the proceedings live.


Introduction: Terry Ryan, Vice President for Ohio Programs & Policy, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Ethan Gray, Vice President and Director of CEE-Trust, The Mind Trust

Panelists: Neerav Kingsland, Chief Strategy Officer, New Schools for New Orleans; David Harris, Founder and CEO, the Mind Trust (Indianapolis); Al Fan, Executive Director, Charter School Partners (Minneapolis)

Moderator: Bryan Hassel Co-Director, Public Impact



Member Updates  



President Bush Visits Get Smart Schools 




Former President George W. Bush visited Get Smart Schools (GSS is an affiliate of CEE-Trust member, the Donnell-Kay Foundation) during a visit to Denver in October.  While President Bush is "out of politics," he still has a "great passion about educational excellence," and is working with groups such as GSS to "set up a collaborative effort of educational entrepreneurs" at the Bush Center at Southern Methodist University.  Last spring, Get Smart Schools signed a contract with the Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute's Alliance to Reform Education Leadership to improve how principals are trained and evaluated.  During his recent visit to Denver, President Bush commended Get Smart Schools for their willingness to set high expectations for every child.  For a link to the Denver Post article on the visit, click here.  For video coverage of the event, click here. 




The Mind Trust Launches Charter School Incubator


The Mind Trust recently launched a nationally-unique Charter School Incubator to attract the next generation of best in class charter school networks to Indianapolis. The Mind Trust will conduct a highly selective, nationwide competition to identify top leadership teams capable of launching networks of exceptional charter schools. Each winning leadership team will receive $1 million in start-up funding, distributed through a rigorous performance review and accountability process. Teams will be carefully screened upfront for experience, qualifications and charter school network leadership potential. The Mind Trust will leverage its knowledge of the community to ensure that leadership teams successfully launch and scale their high-performing, innovative school models in Indianapolis. Click here to learn more.




Donnell-Kay Foundation Awards Generation Schools $50,000 Grant to Expand to Colorado


The Donnell-Kay Foundation recently announced a $50,000 grant to support Generation Schools as they expand to Denver, CO from their pilot school in Brooklyn, NY. Generation Schools is known for their innovative use of time for both students and teachers. The model includes a 200-day school year and eight hours of instruction per day, with a staggered teacher schedule that allows for more collaboration, planning, and professional development. The Center for High-Impact Philanthropy selected Generation Schools as one of only two effective whole-school reform models featured in their winter 2011 national report, High Impact Philanthropy to Improve Teaching Quality for High-Need Secondary Students. By helping public schools successfully redeploy their existing resources to improve teacher effectiveness, Generation Schools is featured as one of the most cost-effective reforms in the country. 


Click here for a link to Donnell-Kay's blog post announcing the grant.


In other DK Foundation news, Matt Samelson has taken over for Amy Anderson as Director of Special Projects at the Donnell-Kay Foundation. He is working on blended learning as well as energy efficient schools.  Donnell-Kay also hired Alexander Ooms as Senior Fellow.  Alex is a longtime member of the Denver ed community, having helped found West Denver Prep, and Donnell-Kay has brought him in to lead several research projects.




Newark Charter School Fund Develops Groundbreaking Charter Compact


ncsf charter signing 

Thirteen Newark charter schools have signed a groundbreaking Charter School Compact, an agreement that was developed by the Newark Charter School Fund (a CEE-Trust member). By signing the Compact, Newark charter stakeholders agree to: 


  1. Serve all students in the city, especially the highest need students requiring special education services, students who are English Language Learners, students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and other underserved or at-risk populations
  2. Post transparent data in full compliance with NJDOE policies in one consistent place on their websites regarding demographic and academic student data
  3. Collaborate as a charter sector and with Newark Public Schools to improve educational options and outcomes for all students, in both charter and district schools

NCSF CEO Mashea Ashton noted that the charter compact is the first step toward developing a broader charter-district compact, which will specify the ways in which both charter and the district schools can work together to improve educational opportunities for all Newark students.


For a link to the Newark Charter School Fund's Oct. 24th press release (including a link to the Compact PDF), click here. 




Hyde Family Foundation Supports Gates Teaching Grant in Memphis


The Hyde Family Foundation was recently featured in an EdWeek article highlighting the collaboration between several Memphis philanthropic organizations, the Memphis public school district, and the teachers' union, the Memphis Education Association, to improve teacher effectiveness in Memphis.  The partnership is supported through a $90 million, seven-year Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As part of the required local match, Memphis area philanthropic groups quickly pledged $21 million to the school improvement effort. "We thought this was a great opportunity to push things over the edge," said Terence Patterson, the program officer for education for the Hyde Family Foundations.


To read more about the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative in Memphis, click here. 



*If you would like to submit stories or updates for future CEE-Trust newsletters, please contact Kye Hawkins, CEE-Trust Associate, at:  Thank you for reading!