Launched in September 2015 as a $50 million competition, the project subsequently doubled the number of schools that will receive $10 million each over five years to create model "Super Schools" after nearly seven hundred discover/design phase applications were received. Selected from the three hundred and forty-eight teams that made it to the develop-phase design stage, the winners are Somerville STEAM Academy and Powderhouse Studios (Somerville, Massachusetts), Brooklyn Laboratory Charter High School (New York City), Design-Lab High School (Newark, Delaware), Washington Leadership Academy (Washington, D.C.), Grand Rapids Public Museum High School (Grand Rapids, Michigan), New Harmony High (Venice, Louisiana), Furr High School (Houston), RISE High (Los Angeles), Summit Elevate (Oakland), and Challenge High (Vista, California).
Led by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and president of the Emerson Collective, the XQ Super School Project aims to create schools that are focused on the needs of students. The winning schools — a mix of charter and district schools, most of them new but some of them traditional schools in the process of being reimagined — serve student populations that are predominantly low-income and/or of color.
"Each of these represent schools that don't exist today," Russlynn H. Ali, XQ Institute CEO and a former assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education, told the New York Times. "They are using time in very flexible ways....They are ensuring personalized learning using tech and time, embedded with rigor. That's what each of them have in common."