Better yet, imagine ten. That's right, America, we were so inspired by your ideas that we doubled the number of schools that received Super School awards. So let’s hear it for you and for our nation’s first Super Schools. Want to see more about the event? Check out our Facebook photo album.


Better yet, imagine 10. That’s right, America, we were so inspired by your ideas that we announced double the number of Super Schools. So let’s hear it for you and for our nation’s first Super Schools.

Imagine students in a school that empowers them to tackle environmental injustice and become a green hub for its community

At Furr High School, students will become environmental-change agents, accelerate their academic growth and transform the comprehensive American high school.

Furr High School will activate learning through a project- and place-based model grounded in the rigors of environmental and nutritional sciences. This large public high school will transform its culture with restorative justice, connect the dots between students and community, and combine Socratic seminars, university and business partnerships, and wrap-around services. Students and teachers will pair with their university counterparts to become “green ambassadors” in important environmental-sustainability research projects.

Imagine students in a school that makes design thinking, futuristic technology and high-school instruction mean the same thing

Design-Lab will put students in a mode of continuous inquiry as they design the world in which they want to live, and discover their places in it.

Design-Lab High School understands the global challenges facing its students, but sees absolutely no limit to the solutions students can design to meet those challenges. With design thinking baked into its DNA, this Super School will be a school based on a research-and-development framework that continually learns, builds and improves, while encouraging its students to do the same. Whether working on prototypes, podcasts or virtual museum exhibits, an academically rigorous loop of learning will prepare its students (including many first generation college-goers) for the challenges ahead.

Imagine students in a school that builds community, by saving community

New Harmony will feature a floating classroom where students partner with teachers and scientists to create solutions to the complex problems of community displacement and coastal erosion for their neighborhoods—and the world.

Co-conducting research on coastal erosion with experts and teachers on their learning barge or exploring community displacement and migration at the New Orleans Superdome, students at New Harmony High will study and seek solutions to some of the most complex problems that face their community and all communities impacted by rising sea levels. New Harmony will put rigorous college and career ready coursework in context through real-life experiences, creating learning that can resonate and be replicated on a global scale.

Imagine students in a school that cultivates their curiosity to unlock endless discovery

Independent student-led and teacher-guided projects prepare students for college and life through exploration, research and design.

At Powderhouse Studios, students will collaborate with local scientists, artists and researchers to master rigorous academic topics and become independent investigators of the world around them. Breaking down the limitations of grades, classrooms and subjects, this Super School enables students to work together year-round, in the classroom and beyond. Every student will be supported by an academic and support team, consisting of a social worker, a curriculum developer and a personal project manager to ensure individualized success.

Imagine students in a school in the shadow of a bridge that lights the path to the future

Brooklyn Laboratory will unleash the untapped potential of its community to build new bridges to student success.

Despite living in the center of Brooklyn’s tech triangle, local students too often grow up isolated from the industries and opportunities surrounding them. Brooklyn Laboratory will break down these barriers, partnering with industry, universities, the arts and more to build bridges to connect students with the new economy. Students will learn at the highest levels of rigor with personalized and integrated student supports. What’s more, Brooklyn Lab will share its lessons learned—and its commitment to the local community—through a rigorous teacher-training model and a residency program.

Imagine students in a "networked" school of professionals who connect them with career exploration, internships and mentors, helping each student find her or his own path.

Summit Elevate believes that personalized learning and community connections are crucial to engaging learners and supporting their long-term success.

Summit Elevate is fundamentally rethinking public high school with a highly personalized program that helps every student discover their path. This future XQ Super School is on a mission to provide traditionally underserved students with access to projects, guidance and experiences that engage habits of success; making the promise of college real, and the pursuit of a fulfilling career and life meaningful. Summit Elevate's technology platform supports personalized learning and tracks student progress in a continuous feedback loop. Partnerships with local colleges, universities and professionals from the community are integrated into Summit Elevate's curriculum, creating a highly “networked” environment. These partners connect students with career exploration, internships and mentors, providing access, and models for life beyond high school. By providing unprecedented networking among low-income students, community professionals, and higher-ed faculty, Summit Elevate is redefining what a college preparatory curriculum can be—and making good on public education’s promise as a great equalizer for people of all backgrounds.

Imagine students in a school that makes every day “a night at the museum”

Grand Rapids Public Museum High School will turn a museum into a high school, a river ecosystem into a science lab, and community agencies and science experts into partners in teaching and learning.

At Grand Rapids Public Museum High School, the museum is the school. Here, the museum’s collection of 250,000 cultural and historical artifacts will form the basis for its rigorous curriculum and project- and place-based learning environment—including one initiative designed to become the largest river-restoration project in the United States. Co-taught by field experts, scientists and researchers, this Super School will show how to leverage community resources and activate students to become ecological and economic problem solvers on the road to college- and career-readiness.

Imagine students in a school whose walls can talk, where books fly and global boundaries disappear

Washington Leadership Academy will continuously embrace the newest technologies to connect DC students to their world and beyond.

Through augmented and virtual reality and—in the future—holographic modules, this Super School will immerse students in educational experiences currently thought unreachable. Whether embarking on a VR field trip, learning about economics from an industry professional via hologram, or engaging in culturally relevant STEM curricula, Washington Leadership will inspire a love of learning and a growth mindset.

Imagine students in a school that meets disconnected young people where they are and helps get them to where they need to go

RISE High will meet students who are disconnected from school where they are, geographically, academically, socially and emotionally; and will open up clear pathways to college and career.

RISE High will show what is possible when a network of youth-development agencies, educators, municipalities and social-support centers break through silos to create a truly student-centered ecosystem. School sites will be embedded within multiple social-service-provider locations to create a citywide campus allowing RISE students to master a college- and career-ready curriculum in the ways, and at the places, that work best for them. If a student isn’t near a brick-and-mortar campus, RISE’s mobile resource center will drive to the students—so nothing can stop these students from becoming college-, career- and life-ready.

Imagine when a school makes exploring world challenges how students prepare for college, career and life

This traditional high school plans to shake things up by offering every student a fully personalized, global education.

Serving over 2,600 students, Vista High will prove that rigorous, personalized learning is possible. Report cards will be traded in for a Learning Positioning System that gives each student and their teachers a real-time roadmap of their academic growth. Working in immersive, technology-rich environments and guided by project-based instruction, Vista students will address major global challenges and apply their knowledge to solve local problems affecting them and their communities.

Howe We Got Here


To make sure every school design team had access to the knowledge they would need, XQ curated hundreds of the best resources on topics from brain science to student voice to school finance and made them all available on our website. We created a three-phase design process that turned ordinary school development on its head. We invited teams to begin by understanding their students and the world they will enter after high school. Their next step was to dream big and sketch out ambitious designs. Only then did we ask them to dig into the logistical challenges of opening a new or redesigned school.

We assembled a panel of judges to help us review the proposals as they arrived. Judges were held to the same level of rigorous standards to which we held the teams and were provided with detailed qualitative and quantitative rubrics to guide their work. Each of the 700 proposals got a thorough, careful, fair-minded review by a judging team that included many of the nation’s leading experts in education, youth development, innovation, and design.

You can learn more about the judges' process here

    • Cami Anderson

    • Elisa Villanueva Beard

    • Larry Berger

    • Andrew Brennen

    • Travis Bristol

    • Lili Brown

    • Michele Cahill

    • Andy Calkins

    • Christopher Cross

    • Rafranz Davis

    • Rashid Davis

    • Elizabeth Evans

    • Deborah Gist

    • Lisa Grover

    • MC Hammer

    • Jane Hannaway

    • Alex Hernandez

    • Kate Hovde

    • Kevin Jennings

    • Michael Klein

    • Anita Landecker

    • Debbra Lindo

    • Nancy Lue

    • Larry Maloney

    • Jay May

    • Margie McHugh

    • Sharon Meron

    • Karen Pittman

    • Delia Pompa

    • Matthew Randazzo

    • Macke Raymond

    • Bruce Reed

    • Nolan Rollins

    • Mary Ryerse

    • David Saltzman

    • Gabrielle Sheely

    • Kim Smith

    • Sandy Speicher

    • Jen Takata

    • Leslie Talbot

    • David Wakelyn

    • Gov. Bob Wise

    • Ellen Wright-Montgomery

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