Expanding its personalized school model to include customization around non-academic aspects of learning

New Classrooms is a non-profit organisation tailoring education to individual students’ strengths and needs through a blend of teacher-led, small-group, peer-to-peer, and virtual instruction. Through its grant, it is seeking to validate the assumption that learners who understand their learning strengths and weaknesses through the lens of both academic and non-academic measures will be more successful.

“Using algorithms, Teach to One: Math helps me and my colleagues personalize the learning experience for our 300 students, grouping them according to readiness every day, regardless of grade level. The result was that my students now had a constantly changing context to learn from and an increase in student ownership.”

– Aaron Kaswell, teacher




  • Through a partnership with the PEAR team at Harvard University, we learned that students with self-reported socio-emotional issues and a history of trauma were over-represented in New Classrooms student populations.

  • Across New Classrooms’ partner schools for the 2015-16 school year, students achieved 1.4x the national average on the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) exam. Special education students and students performing below grade level demonstrated 1.5 years of growth in math.




For information about this grant, please visit our Grant Database.





1.  Strengthen teacher capacity

4.  Personalise learning





- Universal design for learning










Contact person for Oak LDP grant

Name: Brittany Snyder

Email: bsnyder@newclassrooms.org



Website & social media links


What have you accomplished through your Oak-funded programme that you’re most proud to share with your colleagues?


New Classrooms created a data infrastructure as the groundwork for future integration between cognitive and non-cognitive information. We also embedded several features that seamlessly support student’s social-emotional growth, including confidence metrics and Prove-it assessments.



What’s the most interesting challenge your Oak-funded programme currently faces?


Over the course of our Oak Foundation grant, we learned that integrated academic and social-emotional elements are better received by school partners than at the distinct level. A challenge is that, while the time necessary to build the technical infrastructure to support a robust and dynamic system may not be the most visible outcome of this work, it is critical in order to roll out these features across our entire network of partner schools across the country.





New Classrooms imagines a world where personalized learning is just the way students learn—a world where all students attend a school that meets them where they are, adapts to the unique ways they learn, and develops habits for lifelong success. New Classrooms was founded by many members of the team that created School of One, an initiative incubated within the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). Co-Founders Joel Rose and Chris Rush launched School of One in 2009 as a school-based learning model that integrated live, online, and collaborative learning, all in ways that leverage the talent of teachers and the power of data and technology to personalize what, when, where, and how each student learns. By November of that year, TIME Magazine named it one of the Best Inventions of the year. In 2011, New Classrooms was formed as an independent, non-profit organisation to bring this approach to schools across the country, and currently partners with 40 schools serving nearly 13,000 students in 9 regions. Researchers from Teachers College at Columbia University have found that students participating in New Classrooms’ program, including those with special education eligibility, achieve, on average, about 2 months’ worth of additional math learning than students in traditional schools.







With support from the Oak Foundation, New Classrooms is exploring the potential for a tool that captures information on social-emotional characteristics of each student and translates it into new strategies for fostering student awareness of, and ownership over, their learning. New Classrooms is uniquely positioned to contribute a deeper understanding of how personalized instruction can benefit students with learning differences. Through an Ownership and Awareness Initiative, New Classrooms’ teachers better recognize and foster student growth in important non-academic traits. Activities in this Initiative include creating “badges” that award students for demonstrating ownership over their learning and allowing students to choose the means by which to demonstrate their understanding of mathematical skills.






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Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, Africa, India and North America, we make grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

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