Mission: Caliber School’s mission is to equip students with the knowledge, character, and skills they will need to succeed in their future colleges, careers, and communities. They believe that in order to achieve this mission they must significantly redesign the traditional school through innovative uses of staffing, scheduling, and technology.
Approach: This year, our Members worked with Caliber to create systems to scale, develop messaging strategies, and design a curriculum around programming. Members interviewed schools, funders and education experts to learn more about best practices and challenges of successful CMOs (Charter Management Organizations) and to strategize on the means to achieve scale and impact without compromising the quality of education. The group conducted interviews with 18 CMO networks and schools, funders and innovative growth experts, held 3 marketing workshops with the Caliber team to clarify their strategy and unique differentiators, attended Caliber’s highly successful summer pilot, and gave input as Caliber develops its K-8 computer programming curriculum.
Impact: As a result of this partnership, the founding Caliber Schools team established a common language and vision around their goals, values and strategy, that serves as a critical foundation as they prepare to launch, hire and scale. The Full Circle team also created a marketing positioning statement, developed a narrative path to focus on core values and beliefs, and crafted messaging to engage families, teachers, funders and the community in Caliber’s work.
They also delivered a set of recommendations to help Caliber as they hire and make planning decisions that will affect their ability to scale successfully and impact education outcomes for a larger population of children. This included short, medium and long-term strategic and tactical recommendations across talent, structure, decision rights, resources, and more. Based in part on compelling Member research on pace of growth, Caliber also decided to temper its urgency in applying for a second charter to focus first on ensuring quality content, format, and teaching at their pilot school.
Since their engagement with Full Circle Fund, Caliber Schools has leveraged its strong marketing foundation to apply for grants. Recently, Caliber was awarded a prestigious Gates Foundation Next Generation Learning Challenge grant of $150,000, with the opportunity for significantly more. They are on track to launch Beta Academy in fall 2014 fully enrolled with nearly 300 students in Richmond, and have nearly completed hiring of the academic staff, including a computer science teacher and a special ed teacher. Caliber Schools has also been cited by those in the forefront of innovative education and education reform as ‘a school to watch’ for 2014.