Can I see an example of a New School proposal?
The Office of New Schools does not provide examples of proposals or other written work connected to our application process. (top)
Can I propose a school if I don’t have my SBL or SDL certification? Can I participate in the New Schools process while completing an aspiring principal’s program?
If you are applying during the fall round of our selection process, which takes place from September to December, you must already have an SBL or SDL certification. During the spring application process, which takes place from February to June, you may propose a school with the understanding that you are or will be enrolled in a license-granting program and have your certification by the July before your school opening year. If you do not have your SBL or SDL by July 1 of the year your school is opening, you will not be allowed to open a school. The Office of New Schools strives to build on relationships with leadership programs including LEAP, Leadership Academy (APP), New Leaders and the Summer Principals Academy at Columbia. We work closely with these programs to ensure that our timelines are in sync and our expectations for leaders are aligned. (top)
Can I propose a school even though I don’t have administrative experience?
Yes. Many new school leaders selected through our process have strong teaching backgrounds and have gained critical leadership experience as a teacher leader within their schools. The Office of New Schools will evaluate readiness based on our ONS Leadership Competencies through interviews, observations, written work and other activities during the application process. (top)
Will I get feedback on my performance in the fall new schools application process?
In general, we are unable to offer feedback to candidates who do not progress to the school visit in the application process. Candidates who progress to the school visit are offered general feedback if they request it, however, this feedback is usually given after the entire selection process has been completed. (top)
Can I propose a school with a partner?
We require that one individual be named as the school leader. Because our selection process is closely tied to the caliber of the leader, we need to make approval decisions with one individual in mind. However, we do encourage you to have a planning team when developing your school proposal (see below). (top)
Do I have to have a planning team? How many people should be on it?
You are not required to have a planning team though we do strongly recommend it. The number of individuals on a planning team typically varies from 2 to 5. Your aim should be to work with people who will support and push you as well as address your blind spots. You should not offer or promise jobs to any member of the planning team. (top)
Can I bring my team members to ONS events?
Team members are allowed to accompany you on some elements of the process, as determined by ONS. We also encourage you to bring team members to Open House recruitment events and information sessions prior to the start of the process. (top)
Do I have to tell my principal that I am applying to open a new school?
We strongly advise that you let your principal know as soon as possible. If you progress to Phase 4 of the selection process, members of the ONS selection team will visit your school, and therefore principal must know of your application by that point. In addition, ONS keeps cluster staff informed about names and progress of applicants at each stage of our process. If you are currently a principal or are working in a network you should be aware that your cluster will be made aware you are applying. (top)
School Model and Features
Does my school have to have a theme?
No, your school does not have to have a topical theme. Your school does need to have a solid combination of instructional and cultural elements that combine to create a sound model and distinct identity. (top)
Do I have to work with a partner organization?
No, you are not required to have a partnership with an intermediary organization. ONS will support each leader in the process of finding the form of school support that best matches their school vision and instructional model. (top)
Can I propose a single gender school?
Yes, you may propose a single gender school. We encourage you to propose your ideal school model. However, single gender schools are difficult to site and therefore we ask that you be open to serving both genders. Inflexibility on this issue may result in your non-approval to open a school, even if we feel you are a strong applicant, because we may not be able to find an appropriate site for a single gender school. (top)
Can I propose a District 75 or District 79 school?
New schools opening in D75 and D79 are not handled through ONS. However, the schools opened through the Office of New Schools typically serve many students with special needs. Thus, all of our proposed school leaders are encouraged to consider how they will best serve these students as they draft their proposals. (top)
Can I propose a dual language school?
Yes! However, siting a dual language school can be difficult at times, therefore, if you are interested in dual-language we ask that you also be willing to consider structuring your school to include both monolingual and dual-language programs within it. Inflexibility on this issue may result in your non-approval to open a school, even if we feel you are a strong applicant, because we may not be able to find an appropriate site for a dual language school. (top)
Am I required to have a bilingual program in my proposed school?
We do require that some schools operate either a transitional bilingual program (TBE) or dual language program. This requirement is based on student need, school site history, and other factors. Inflexibility on this issue may result in your non-approval to open a school, even if we feel you are a strong applicant. (top)
What are the typical grade ranges and sizes of new schools?
New schools typically start small and grow 1 grade at a time. Most new elementary schools open with just K, K-1, or K-2. Most elementary schools grow over time to serve grades K-5. Some sites also have Pre-K opportunities. Most middle schools begin with grade 6 and phase in to serve 6-8 over the course of 3 years. Most high schools open with grade 9 and grow to serve 9-12 over the course of 5 years. It is rare that we open a school planned to be K-8 or 6-12. New schools typically range in size from 2 sections per grade to 4-5 sections per grade.
Can I propose a school in a particular neighborhood?
Yes, you may, however, the more flexible you are in terms of where you’d be willing for your school to be located, the more likely it is that we will find you a site match (should you be approved). The vast majority of the schools opened through our process are in high-needs districts in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. If you are inflexible with respect to location, it is possible that we will not be able to site your school, and that might result in your non-approval even if you are a strong candidate. (top)
How are school sites determined?
In the ideal, situation leaders have a connection to the community that they propose to serve, and we attempt to make good matches between proposed new leaders and sites. However, the driver behind all decisions is student and community need, and we ultimately place leaders so all of the students being served by new schools will receive the best education possible. (top)
If I’m selected to open a new school, will my school be located in a new building?
Most likely not. Only a tiny fraction of new district schools are located in new buildings. Most are colocated in existing school building and share space with other district and charter schools. In some cases, new schools are filling underutilized space within a building, in others, a new school will phase in as an existing school phases out. A Borough Director from the Office of Space Planning works with co-located principals to determine the functional space required to ensure all students in each building achieve their fullest academic potential. More information on this process can be found here. (top)
Other QuestionsWhat is New Schools Intensive?
New Schools Intensive (NSI) is a six-month training and preparation program for the proposed new leader selected through the new schools application process. Throughout the program, proposed new leaders are paired with a leadership coach and participant in weekly leadership development sessions that help fine-tune their school proposals, learn specific leadership practices and address the numerous operational issues associated with a new school launch. Proposed new leaders are given access to the city’s most effective principals at workshops, school visits and networking events.
Each proposed leader is assigned an NSI coach who support him or her throughout NSI. Each coach provides feedback on the proposed new leader’s educational vision and written instructional plan for the school. Coaches also give guidance on how to succeed as the founding principal of a new school.
For leaders opening new schools in 2015, NSI will take place January-June, 2015. In most cases, we are able to secure and fund the full-time release of proposed new leaders from their current roles beginning in February of the year their school will open.