Cool Schools: Season One Roundup

In our Cool Schools podcast series, EdChoice’s Director of National Research Mike McShane spotlights some—you guessed it—cool schools across the country. This series isn’t just a celebration of innovation. McShane gets in the weeds, asking school leaders all the burning questions we education geeks care about. Season One of the series wrapped last month, so if you’d like to binge those 14 episodes for yourself and learn all about some cool schools, just browse the episodes and click through to each below.

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1. Cool Schools with ASU Prep Digital’s Amy McGrath

In this episode, McShane spoke with Amy McGrath, COO of Arizona State University’s ASU Prep Digital and associate vice president of ASU Educational Outreach, about her cool school—how it came to be, how it’s different from other schools out there, how she measures success and what she has learned along the way.

2. Cool Schools with The Oaks Academy’s Andrew Hart

In this episode, McShane had a chat with CEO of The Oaks Academy Andrew Hart about the classical Christian school network’s mission to provide excellent education in a racially and socioeconomically integrated environment near downtown Indianapolis.

3. Cool Schools with Partnership for Inner-City Education’s Kathleen Porter-Magee

Partnership for Inner-City Education operates six Catholic schools in New York City. In this episode, Katherine Porter-Magee tells our McShane about the Partnership’s community roots and how they’re helping century-old Catholic schools innovate.

4. Cool Schools with Open Sky Education’s Andrew Neumann

In this episode, McShane talks with Executive Chair and CEO of Open Sky Education’s Andrew Neumann about the network’s model, which runs both charter and private schools, as well as providing childcare and after-school character education programs to thousands of kids across the country.

5. Cool Schools with Acton Academies’ Jeff Sandefer

In this episode, McShane discusses how Jeff Sandefer and his family founded Acton Academies’ student-driven model of education and what that looks like in the classroom.

6. Cool Schools with Seton Education Partners’ Stephanie Saroki de Garcia

In this episode, McShane chats with Stephanie Saroki de Garcia, co-founder of Seton Education Partners, about her position helping Catholic schools in several cities by helping them improve school culture and implement successful blended learning programs. Seton also runs several secular charter schools with optional faith-based programming.

7. Cool Schools with Urban Prep’s Pastor Wade Moore

In this episode, McShane picks the brain of Urban Prep’s founder Pastor Wade Moore to learn how he started the school, which serves low-income and working class families in Wichita, Kansas, and how it overcame many challenges in its first four years of operation.

8. Cool Schools with Regina Caeli Academy’s Kari Beckman

In this episode, McShane interviews Regina Caeli Academies’ Kari Beckman about what inspired her to found this new model of schooling that blends homeschooling and classroom education in an extraordinary way.

9. Cool Schools with Venture School’s Drew Schantz

In this episode, McShane talks with Drew Schantz, the founder and executive director of the soon-to-be Venture School. This charter high school in Detroit will use project-based learning principles to teach high schoolers to think like entrepreneurs.

10. Cool Schools with Highlands Micro School’s Anne Wintemute

In this episode, Mike McShane and Anne Wintemute, founder and director of Highlands Micro School, talk about the basics of what the school day looks like and dig into underlying philosophies of education and child-rearing that led Anne to start the school in the first place.

11. Cool Schools with Santa Fe Waldorf School’s Jeffrey Baker

In this episode, McShane chats with Jeffrey Baker, school administrator of the Santa Fe Waldorf School, about this prek–12 school that follows the nearly 100-year-old hands-on educational model put forth by Rudolf Steiner.

12. Cool Schools with Good Shepherd Nativity Mission School’s Thomas Moran, Jr.

In this episode, McShane discusses a growing Catholic school in inner-city New Orleans that keeps tuition free for its families with Thomas Moran, Jr., the president and CEO of Good Shepherd Nativity Mission School in the Jesuit Tradition.

13. Cool Schools with Julie Billiart Schools’ Lannie Davis-Frecker

You may have heard that private schools don’t serve students with special needs. But in this episode, McShane talks with Lannie Davis-Frecker, president and CEO of the Julie Billiart Schools, about how the schools serve students with a variety of special needs, how they fund the schools and how they measure progress.

14. Cool Schools with Build UP’s Mark Martin

In this episode, McShane interviews Mark Martin, the founder of Build UP, a new school launching in 2019 in Ensley, Alabama. They chat about Martin’s ambitious vision to help his students solve some of their core poverty-related problems, including helping them become graduates and homeowners by the time they finish with the program.