School Design Application Portfolio



(Adapted from the NYC deparment of New Schools)

Please Prepare this application as you would for a review committee of your peers, Community Members, Relevant District, City or State Officials, Potential Funders And/or for Potential Students and Parents.

(Please note: designers can choose to produce their school designs in a variety of media and styles. However, they should strive to include some representation of each of the elements listed below)


Part A: Cover Page


  1. Name of Proposed School
  2. Location (if you have identified a specific context)
  3. Key Facts (e.g. # and ages/grade levels of students, # of staff)
  4. Names of School Design Team Members


Part B: School Overview (1-2 Pages)

The overview of the school should provide a short description, graphic or other representation that briefly introduces the key problem(s) the school addresses, the school’s purpose, and (2-4) key design elements that illustrate the school’s theory of action


Part B: Executive Summary (7-10 Pages Double-Spaced)

The Executive Summary should clearly articulate your theory of action including the overarching purpose of the proposed school, your goals, your rationale, the key components of the school design and support structures that are most essential to achieving your purpose and goals. In addition, please briefly discuss how you will ensure that your goals are achieved and note some of the key limitations or remaining issues with your approach:


  • What’s the purpose or vision for your school? What are your goals? What are the issues this school is designed to address?
  • What’s your rationale? Why is this school needed?
  • What are the key activities/strategies that will enable you to fulfill your purpose/vision and meet your goals?
  • How will you know if your goals/purposes are achieved?
  • What issues/limitations remain to be addressed?


(These questions do not need to be addressed in the above order, but they should be addressed)


Part C: Portfolio

  1. Location, Context, Students and Community. In a 1 page (or less) excerpt from the school handbook (or a map, photographs, etc.) describe the location for the school; the student population your school will serve; and the role that parents and community members will play in the school and/or that the school will play in the community.
  2. Curriculum and Instruction.
  3. Teaching and Professional Development.
    1. Budget & Staffing Chart: Using the budget template that will be provided in class, show the general income for your school (based on projected enrollment etc.) and the key staffing expenditures including teachers, administrators and educational support staff.
    2. Staffing and Professional Development Plan: (1-2 pages) Describe who your staff will be; what you expect teachers to know and be able to do; and what kind of professional development support staff will receive during the year.
    3. Weekly Teacher Schedule: Provide a sample schedule for one teacher.
  4. (1-2 pages) Describe the school’s assessment system and its process for reporting to the community. How will you assess student performance? How will you assess teacher/staff performance? How will you assess the development of your school? How will you use your assessments (to inform instruction, to support teachers, demonstrate effectiveness etc.)?
  5. Briefly describe any other aspects of the design or the planning process that reviewers should be aware of as they look at the portfolio and/or include any other materials (building/classroom designs etc.) that help to illustrate your design.
    1. Expectations. (1 paragraph) Provide an explanation – written for students – of the performance expectations for students graduating from the school
    2. Curriculum Scope and Sequence: Show the scope and sequence of courses that defines the curriculum across all the grades the school will serve at full capacity. Present this in chart form by course title only.       It is not necessary to describe the courses.
    3. Sample of a Student’s Weekly and Daily Schedule.
    4. Curriculum Example: (1 page) Provide examples of a key learning experience. What will students be learning? What will they be doing? Why?





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