AltSchool, a collaborative of "micro-schools," has announced that it has raised $100 million in support of its efforts to reinvent U.S. education, including investments from Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, venture capitalist John Doerr, and Omidyar Network.
Since raising $33 million in Series A financing last year, AltSchool, which was launched in 2013, has expanded to four schools in the Bay Area and has additional locations opening this fall in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Brooklyn. Its staff also has nearly quadrupled, from thirty to a hundred and fifteen employees, one-third of whom are educators. The new funding will support the organization as it opens more schools in existing and new markets, aggressively hires the best talent, develops new tools and functionality for its platform, and begins to bring its technology to other schools nationwide.
AltSchools takes a growth-centered approach to education, collecting and iterating on feedback from its community of teachers, students, and parents to drive improvements in the classroom in hours and days, rather than years. The organization's platform enables teachers to deliver custom-made lesson plans that combine student interests, parental priorities, and specific tasks designed to challenge and prepare each child to succeed. In addition, the platform functions as a central operating system for everything from admissions, to student assessment, to classroom supply procurement.
"We started AltSchool because we wanted to change kids' lives, but it has become so much bigger," said Max Ventilla, founder and CEO of AltSchool. "Our students are coming to love learning — they're achieving milestones in a way that they and their parents didn't imagine possible in traditional school. We've created a culture where teachers feel empowered and valued and where students and parents feel heard. Now, thanks to the philosophical and financial support from our investment partners, many many more educators and families around the country will be able to experience what education can be in the twenty-first century with AltSchool."