New School: District-Managed

Create a District-Managed New School 

Expand your district’s school portfolio with a research-based school model that incorporates high-quality instructional materials, research-based instructional strategies, and strong school culture. 
District-Managed New Schools provide the option for districts to analyze community demand and design the learning environment that best suits their unique needs through one of the SAF-supported new school models: STEM/STEAM, College Preparatory, or Montessori.
Create a new school

Why Choose this Action?

Satisfy community demand for a new, higher-performing option by creating a new school from scratch that isn’t limited by a culture of low expectations or a negative reputation
Expand your district’s school portfolio with an innovative, research-based school model (College Prep, STEM/STEAM, Montessori) that uses new high-quality instructional materials, research-based instructional strategies, training, and culture.
Make use of a research-based slow grow model to scale the new school up gradually, providing more time for capacity building and continuous improvement.

Key Elements

  • Planning Year Leader with dedicated time to lead a new school design process facilitated by a TA provider
  • Choice of three codified, ESF-aligned school models:
    • College Preparatory
    • Montessori
  • Research-based slow grow model in which the new school grows gradually by one grade level per year or open with all grades in a new school building
  • Prioritized enrollment for students attending or zoned to low-performing campus

Pre-Planning Considerations

  • What is the benefit of offering your community a new, slow- grow school (that may replace an existing school over time) instead of redesigning an existing school?
  • How will you identify and sustain a trusted, visionary leader to lead the design and launch?
  • Which school model (College Prep, STEM/STEAM, or Montessori) will best serve your community’s needs? 
  • Which pathway to creating a new school (see below) best suits your circumstances and community needs?

New School Pathways

There are multiple pathways to creating a new district-managed school depending on district circumstances and community needs:


New Building


Open a newly designed school in a building that was not used for that school or any version of that school in the past


Available new or empty facility and community demand for a new school model or option
Use the slow grow approach to slowly close an existing, struggling school and replace it with a new, district-managed school
Demand for new high-quality option to serve population of a struggling school
Slowly grow a new, district-managed school in a shared space with an existing school while gradually reducing the size of the existing school
Opportunity to introduce new high-quality option while also scaling down a struggling school