View from the New Schools Venture Fund Annual Summit

We've written this before: we attend a lot of conferences.

They're a great way to stay apprised of what's happening in education, and education technology: the issues, the innovations, the ideas.

They're also a great way to meet new contacts, on the way to growing our business.

We recently attended the New Schools Venture Fund Summit in San Francisco. This annual conference is a packed day of workshops, breakouts, speakers, and networking. It's also quite inspiring, as leading education thinkers -- and education leaders -- share their thoughts on what's happening and what's to come in our schools.

The Summit isn't without controversy, though: "New Schools" is known for its education reform-focused investments in charter schools and other ventures that seek to shake up traditional models, sometimes drawing the ire of teachers' unions and other groups. Meanwhile, this year's Summit featured a heated discussion about race and equity in our schools.

What we noticed, though, in unstructured conversations, was a sense of agreement -- that while we may not all agree on the means to the end, we should assume positive intent among everyone who would spend a day discussing how to improve educational outcomes in our schools, and especially among kids from low-income communities. 

We proudly took part in the Summit as members of one of New Schools Venture Fund's "Ignite" cohorts, having won the "Ignite ELL Challenge" for our technology's promise in engaging families of students who don't speak English at home. While our participation in Ignite has ended, though, we'll happily attend the Summit again next year.