Aiming for excellence
We are disciplined entrepreneurs who aspire to continuously improve. Data provides meaningful information on which to base our decisions and priorities, and it allows us to celebrate progress in advancing our mission.
We clearly define, consistently measure, and relentlessly pursue excellence in these key areas: academics, character, operations, growth that advances our mission.
Our leaders in various functional areas meet frequently to review metrics and share best practices and create the systems and models that enable continuous improvement. The result: a constant pursuit of the full potential – for every scholar, every team member, every school, every community, and our nation’s educational system as a whole.
Schools in the Open Sky Education network use assessment data to drive our instructional practices. The data from these assessments allows us to meet each child where they are, set goals and measure progress toward those goals.
We’ve joined the more than 7,000 schools serving 8 million scholars in offering the Northwest Education Association MAP assessment for elementary and middle grade scholars. The NWEA MAP assessment is a computer-based adaptive assessment which helps teachers understand both attainment and the amount of learning growth a child makes in a given academic year.
All of our academic programming is done in partnership with the parents and guardians of the children we serve. We’re meeting our benchmarks for parental involvement consistently across all of our schools.
One of our organizational values is “Lasting.” Operationally, “lasting” means building sustainable models that allow us to keep our promises to the students, families and communities we serve.
In order to maximize the potential of every student, we need a stable and consistent pool of financial resources devoted to the education of each student. We accomplish stability in a few ways:
Equal opportunity learning for all. We allocate all management and facility expenses as a consistent percentage of each school’s total revenue. This means that regardless of whether a school is new with 100 children or fully grown with 600+ children, or whether the facility was a lower cost or higher cost real estate transaction, each scholar receives the same allocation of dollars for their education, making an equal opportunity for learning for all.
Philanthropy fuels growth, not ongoing operations. Our financial models are built to ensure we are not reliant on philanthropy to maintain the ongoing operations of a school. This allows us to target our philanthropic efforts toward growing new schools and regions while also ensuring that our educational models for our existing children and communities are not at risk of waning philanthropic support over the long-term. We want to make lasting commitments to serve the families and communities who trust us with the great responsibility of educating the next generation.
Prudently plan for the unknown. We operate at a time where our revenue may vary as state funding levels change, and our expenses may vary as facilities age and are in need of ongoing maintenance and repair. For these reasons, we build into all of our financial models the requirement to gradually build reserve funds to help weather future storms as well as manage the annual cash flow changes due to state payment cycles.
Demonstrate wise use of public funds. We recognize that states are working to balance very difficult financial conditions as they responsibly allocate public funds for education. For most states, funding education is the #1 expense. In tough financial times, elected leaders must find ways to continue improving educational outcomes for children while reducing total costs. Open Sky helps achieve this balance by saving taxpayers substantially while achieving academic outcomes that exceed national growth expectations.
Across our network, we combine rigorous academics with a character formation journey for scholars and their teachers. Internally motivated character lays the groundwork for academic success and motivates continued growth and wise choices beyond the classroom walls.
Open Sky Education is in tireless pursuit of a full and lasting education for all children. We focus on quality, and we also focus on growing, so that more opportunities can be provided for more children.
We have achieved an average growth rate of 45 percent annually since we began with one school and 47 students in 2002. We strive to create sustainable, scalable models that will achieve unlimited opportunity for all children to pursue their full potential.
The Character Formation Project continues to grow, providing more people with access to programming uniquely designed to form internally driven character. In addition to our own HOPE, EAGLE and Compass campuses, a variety of partners are integrating the project with their own programming.
And now, we look to grow in the small school sector, which we call microschools.