The Phoenix Charter Academy Network manages a growing portfolio of free, open-enrollment, college preparatory public high schools in Massachusetts. Here’s what’s happening.

Phoenix Charter Academy Network awarded $150,000 by Barr Foundation to advance greater success for all New England students

Phoenix Charter Academy Network awarded $150,000 by Barr Foundation to advance greater success for all New England students

On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Phoenix Charter Academy Network was named one of nine grantees in the Barr Foundation Education Program’s Engage New England: Doing high school differently initiative. Phoenix is proud to join this first cohort of education innovators participating in the multi-year initiative to connect all students to success in high school and beyond by assuring they have access to high-quality high schools. Phoenix received a planning grant of $150,000 to take part in a comprehensive review and design process that is – at 11 years – a perfect next step in Phoenix’s evolution as a dynamic, ever-responsive learning organization dedicated to doing whatever it takes for off-track young people to succeed. The Barr funded design process will focus on Phoenix’s flagship school in Chelsea as its pilot site, with the work expanding to Phoenix’s other two schools and beyond in future years.

The Barr Foundation’s Engage New England: Doing high school differently initiative is a $30 million investment over five years to help New England innovators improve existing high schools and bring new school models to life in their communities. Participants receive one-year planning grants to support technical assistance with planning and capacity building, with the potential to be invited to apply for implementation grants of up to $750,000 over two years. Participants also become partners in a learning community, to share and learn from like-minded innovators across the region. Together, they are doing high school differently by building a diverse set of school models that expand student success.

“Phoenix is extremely proud and humbled to have been chosen as part of The Barr Foundation’s inaugural Engage New England cohort. We have enjoyed partnering with The Barr Foundation and Springpoint over the past few months, and look forward to continuing our model design work to better serve our students to have a greater impact in the Chelsea and Greater Boston communities,” said Phoenix founder and CEO Beth Anderson. “We hope our work can be part of generating new – and higher – accountability standards for alternative education programs by providing a successful model of best pedagogical and cultural methods for off-track youth. We view this work and funding as both an opportunity and a call to action to increase life-sustaining results for our amazing, ever-changing students. Being faithful, accountable, and humble in the face of doing right by our students is a cornerstone of the work we have always done at Phoenix.”

Intentionally designed around the principles of positive youth development theory, schools supported under this initiative will be as rigorous as they are flexible in developing content knowledge, successful habits, creative know-how and navigation abilities—the integrated knowledge and skills that are essential for today’s students to connect to success in high school, college, career and community.

“This partnership brings together a diverse group of educators who share the belief that all students can meet high expectations when their schools engage their interests, empower their potential and fully prepare them for success in life,” said Leah Hamilton, the Barr Foundation’s Director of Education. “We are thrilled to include Phoenix Charter Academy Network in our first cohort of Engage New England: Doing high school differently grantees, and to support them in a planning process to refine their vision for cohesive school models that address the unique needs of their students and communities.”

New England’s schools have done a good job for many students. Engage New England: Doing high school differently is one of the Barr Foundation’s many efforts to make sure we do a great job for all.