New Visions for Public Schools

At a Glance

National Office: 
320 West 13th St.
New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-645-5110

Robert L. Hughes
People Served: 
Year Founded: 
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Focus area(s):

Charter Schools
Teacher & Principal Training
K-12 Reform


An innovation laboratory for the New York City public education system, New Visions for Public Schools drives significant achievement gains for tens of thousands of students through a multifaceted approach to school reform: supporting and strengthening public schools, creating charter schools, and training the next generation of teachers and leaders. New Visions works with principals, teachers, and community partners to close the achievement gap in the city’s highest-need secondary schools and ensure that every student graduates prepared for college and careers.

Impact and Outcomes

Strengthening Public Schools: As a partnership support organization, New Visions provides capacity-building supports to a network of 73 high-need public schools serving 40,000 students—equivalent in size to the Pittsburgh or San Jose school system. 73% of New Visions’ class of 2011 graduated, exceeding the citywide graduation rate by 6% and rising for the fifth year in a row.
Creating Exceptional Charter High Schools: Students at New Visions’ first two charter high schools, which opened in 2011-12, outperformed comparison schools on multiple Regents exams despite entering the ninth grade at sixth grade math and literacy levels. By earning an average of 15 credits, students significantly exceeded the minimum number of credits needed to be on-track for college.
Developing Talented Teachers and Leaders: New Visions has trained hundreds of top-performing school educators and created models for teacher and leader certification that have been adopted in urban centers such as Boston and Oakland. New Visions’ most recent training program is its Urban Teacher Residency, which prepares aspiring teachers for careers in high-need schools through an intensive full-year classroom residency and mentorship at a New Visions school. Students in residents’ classes and those taught by the program’s graduates are performing as well as or better than peers taught by more experienced teachers.

What Major Funders Say

Mission & Goals

New Visions is the largest education reform organization dedicated to improving the quality of education young people receive in New York City’s public schools. New Visions will scale its impact over the next five years by:

  • Continuing to build the capacity of public schools so that they graduate 80% of students and double the number of graduates prepared to directly enter college-level courses.  
  • Establishing an 18-school charter network that serves 10,000 high-need students and brings a groundbreaking model for district-charter collaboration into the public education system.
  • Expanding its school-based principal and teacher leadership certification programs to build the city’s pipeline of high-quality educators, create teams of commonly trained teachers and leaders that can enter and transform struggling schools, and develop career ladders to foster and retain top talent.
  • New Visions will share its resources and best practices widely in order to drive reforms at the national level. 


Drawing upon 23 years’ expertise, New Visions’ capacity-building services for district schools include leadership development, instructional supports, college access programming, and data systems design and management. New Visions fosters excellence in its schools through:  

  • Rigorous instruction aligned to the new Common Core Learning Standards and grounding student learning in real-world issues and experiences.
  • College/career readiness benchmarks that unite educators, students, and parents around post-secondary goals.
  • Collaboration among teacher teams to continuously assess real-time student performance data and design classroom strategies tailored to individual needs.
  • School leadership that develops and retains top-performing teachers through strong talent management strategies.    
  • Community-based partnerships that expand students’ opportunities to build academic and personal skills and pursue postsecondary pathways.

New Visions’ charter schools integrate these practices while providing greater flexibility to support innovation than is often possible in traditional public schools.

Increasingly, New Visions’ schools are staffed by graduates of teacher and leader certification programs that New Visions runs in partnership with Hunter College of the City University of New York. Departing from the theoretical approach of most certification programs, these programs focus on extensive field-based experience at New Visions’ schools and ensure educators demonstrate the ability to improve student outcomes.

See the following attachments for further details: "Overview of New Visions Charter Schools"; "The Urban Teacher Residency and Teaching Hospital Model"; and "New Visions Human Capital Development Strategy."


Strengthening the public education system to produce more college-ready high school graduates is a central challenge facing the nation. Only New Visions has demonstrated a solution at scale. The New Century High School Initiative, through which New Visions created small high schools to replace large, failing schools, resulted in unprecedented gains in student achievement. This decade-long initiative, led by New Visions and resulting in hundreds of small schools, impacted the entire system of 1.1 million students. An MDRC randomized study commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of 105 small schools—two-thirds created by New Visions—found:  

  • Graduation rates increased by 8.6 percentage points;
  • Graduation rates for black males increased by nearly 10 percentage points and for low-income students by 11.2 percentage points; and
  • Graduation rates for students earning a Regents diploma increased by nearly 7 percentage points.

These unprecedented increases are comparable to cutting the achievement gap between white students and students of color by 43 percent.

As part of this effort, New Visions pioneered new approaches to educator certification embedded in school improvement strategies. Through the Scaffolded Apprenticeship Model (SAM), New Visions trained hundreds of school leaders to support the practice of collaborative inquiry, through which teacher teams regularly review student data to guide continuous cycles of learning and improvement in their schools. External evaluations validate SAM’s impact on student outcomes. The NYC Department of Education now requires all public schools to create inquiry teams modeled after the SAM approach.

Over the past five years, New Visions has leveraged its deep expertise to drive gains in student achievement as a support organization for public schools and, more recently, a charter management organization.  New Visions is building upon SAM, along with its Urban Teacher Residency, as part of an expanded human capacity development strategy. 

Growth Plan

New Visions’ annual operating budget is approximately $23 million dollars. Government sources including the NYC Department of Education provide 21% percent of revenue, with the remaining 79% provided by foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

To aggressively scale success across the New York City public school system, over the next five years New Visions will expand its innovative teacher and leader training programs, establish the city’s largest public charter high school network, and fully develop its model for district and charter school collaboration. New Visions is seeking growth capital as follows:

Charter Growth Plan: New Visions aims to create a self-sustaining network of 18 charter high schools that reaches 10,000 underserved students across the city. In New Visions’ first two charter schools, 75% of entering students had the lowest levels of standardized reading exam scores and higher socio-economic needs than the citywide average. The goals for New Visions’ charter network include:

  • Graduating 90% of students and ensuring they successfully complete their first year of college. 
  • Piloting and evaluating new school design features, curricula, assessments, data tools, and other innovations that can be used to improve the broader public education system. 
  • Creating professional development networks through which district and charter teachers collaboratively design Common Core-aligned curricula.

As of 2012-13, New Visions has four charter schools in operation, with plans to open 2-4 additional schools per year over five years. New Visions is seeking investors to fund start-up costs of $1M per school incurred over the school’s first three years. New Visions has secured approximately 40% of its $18M goal.  (For additional details see attached "New Visions Charter Cost Summary.")

Human Capital Development: In partnership with Hunter College, New Visions will expand its proven approaches to teacher and leader development to produce teams of commonly trained teachers and leaders who, by working together, will have a more powerful ability to scale change across schools.  This work will encompass:

  • Teaching hospital schools that maximize the impact of New Visions’ Urban Teacher Residency (UTR) through a whole-school model for training a critical mass of like-minded educators.  
  • Science and mathematics teacher certification. Working with the New York Hall of Science, New Visions and Hunter College will extend the UTR model to develop the expertise of novice STEM teachers and their mentors, establishing school communities that support pre-service science and math teacher learning and development.
  • A teacher-leader certification program for experienced educators that provides an additional year of coursework leading to a Building Supervisor’s license, credentialing educators to become assistant principals or principals. 
  • Teacher and leader effectiveness teams that are commonly trained in New Visions’ best performing schools through New Visions-Hunter programs.  In collaboration with the DOE, these strategically grouped teams will be assigned to schools that are new, experiencing routine leadership change, or in turnaround to effect significant change at scale. 

New Visions’ human capital initiatives are supported by leading donors, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the U.S. Department of Education. The Centerbridge Foundation has invested significant funding towards our ambitious scale-up strategy and sponsored in-kind support from Bain and Company to develop a long-range strategic plan. New Vision is seeking an additional $1.5 million for 2012-13 in order to inaugurate the next phase of this work. A five-year business plan including annual growth capital requirements will be completed early in 2013.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
320 West 13th St.
New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-645-5110
List of locations

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Major Funders

Major funders providing support of $25,000 or higher are:

Roger C. Altman and Jurate Kazickas
The Annenberg Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Blair and Cheryl Effron
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The JPB Foundation
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
New York City Department of Education
The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation
School of Education Hunter College of the City University of New York

Astor Fund for Public School Libraries
Booth Ferris Foundation
Capital One Foundation
Citi Foundation
The Clark Foundation
Joan Ganz Cooney and Peter G. Peterson
Ford Foundation
Fund for Teachers
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
New York Life Foundation
Ralph Schlosstein and Jane Hartley
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
The Tiger Foundation
Tortora Sillcox Family Foundation
The Travelers Companies, Inc.

The Achelis & Bodman Foundations
Keith and Peggy Anderson Family Foundation
Richard I. and Diana L. Beattie
George Friedman and Pam Bernstein
BlackRock Inc.
The Bok Family Foundation
Centerbridge Foundation
Coatue Foundation
Ian M. Cook
The Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund
Susan and Mark Dalton
Kirsten Feldman and Hugh Frater
Mark Gallogly and Lise Strickler
The Marc Haas Foundation
Michael C. Huebsch
William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
Orin S. Kramer and Hilary Ballon
Sue Lehmann
Ruth and David Levine
Evelyn Gruss Lipper
Merlin Foundation
Merrill Corporation, LLC
Bethany and Robert B. Millard
NBC Universal
New York Community Trust
News Corporation
The PNC Financial Services Group
The Prudential Foundation
Max Rosenfeld Foundation
The Richard Salomon Family Foundation
Philip Ruegger, III
The Simon Brothers Family Foundation
Stanley S. Shuman
W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
Jerry I. Speyer
Kendrick Wilson, III and Ann Jackson