Ahoy! Charter Schools Be Sharing Their Treasure

The post below is by guest blogger Alex Hernandez.


A few weeks back, I blogged about the moral imperative high-performing schools have to share “their best stuff.”

For example, Achievement First in NY/CT launched an Open Source portal with tons of free tools and materials. Summit Public Schools in CA is giving its personalized learning platform away to 120 schools this fall (its second cohort). As a new teacher, one of the first things I did was download Phillips Exeter Academy’s math curriculum.

But things are getting crazy now, you guys. Boston charter schools, Match Education and Brooke Charter Schools, are showing their patriotism and dumping all their educational goodness into… fish tanks?

The prolific Match Education recently launched Match Fishtank to open source the curriculum and assessments that the Match Schools have developed over the last 15 years.

The first three fish in the tank for you to play with: 7th grade math, 7th grade English and 9th grade English. Teachers and instructional leaders can download the entire courses or individual units. Materials are Common Core-aligned and include everything a teacher needs to give a lesson.

The site is still in beta and I don’t think anyone at Match will say they have it all figured out. But they do great work with students and are now jumping right into the shark-infested waters of online curriculum. Pro tip: flushing their materials down the toilet will not set them free into the ocean.

Brooke Charter Schools, a Boston school system I highlighted yesterday and that is gaining recognition as one of America’s best charter schools, also jumped into the sharing waters recently.

They are putting together a series of videos and instructional resources to help other educators understand their approaches to literacy, mathematics and science.

Brooke is trying to give teachers an unfiltered look at their classes, not over-produced reality TV: “The videos in this series… are real lessons with real kids; they haven’t practiced these lessons before and they aren’t special lessons designed to impress others – they are just the lessons that were happening on the day that we brought a camera crew to that campus.”

The sharing ethos runs strong at Brooke. Co-CEO Kimberly Steadman is hosting 20 educators at her schools as I write, her second large group of visitors in two days.

The open source movement among public charter schools is gaining steam. And that can only be good for teachers who must be exhausted treading water through Google search trying to salvage stuff they can use in their classrooms.

I’m out of water puns. See ya tomorrow.

[Note: my employer Charter School Growth Fund provides philanthropic support to Achievement First, Brooke Charter Schools and Summit Public Schools]


Alex Hernandez (@thinkschools) is a partner at Charter School Growth Fund, a nonprofit that supports the growth of the nation’s best public charter schools. He serves on the boards of DSST Public Schools, Ednovate, 4.0 Schools and Rocketship Education. Alex graduated from Claremont McKenna College and has an MBA and Masters of Education from Stanford University. He lives near Boulder, CO with his wife and twin sons and can usually be found on his porch late in the evening playing Mexican folk songs.

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