Press Release: New Harmony High School wins the XQ Prize!

September 14, 2016 |  Dear Friends:
Last spring, I joined a team of dedicated educators and dreamers entering a competition seeking completely new and innovative designs for high school education. Our team's vision: to merge student-centered learning with the fundamental environmental and economic challenges facing South Louisiana. The competition, known as XQ: Super School Project, promised to award prizes of $10 million over five years to winning proposals. Today, I am excited to announce that XQ Institute has selected our proposal, among more than 700 entries, as a winner. Thanks to this award, New Harmony High School will be opening to Louisiana students in the fall of 2018!
New Harmony High will be a game-changing public high school, using students' passions, talents, and skills to address the very real challenge of coastal change. Bobbie Hill, New Harmony High team lead, sums up our vision: "Our dream for New Harmony High is to create an environment for students to explore the connections between their individual interests, the local communities, and the world. Through a robust real-world teaching and learning design, the school will directly integrate student learning with a dominant issue for our region -- coastal restoration."
As a first step, our team will begin an extensive community-engagement process to ensure that New Harmony High is a school that puts students at the center of their own learning, and at the center of its community needs. We plan to initiate community meetings as early as October 2016. To learn more about our vision, about upcoming community events, and to follow our progress visit
Join us on this new adventure to make New Harmony High a Super School for Louisiana.
The New Harmony High Team
Aaron Frumin | Executive Director | unCommon Construction
Amanda Kruger Hill | Executive Director | The Cowen Institute
Andrew Frishman | Co-Executive Director | Big Picture Learning
Bobbie Hill | Partner | Concordia
Bryan Lee, Jr. | Place and Civic Design Director | Art Council of New Orleans
Casey Coleman | Executive Director | Court 13 Arts
Elliot Washor | Co-Founder | Big Picture Learning
Heidi Andrade | Professor | University of Albany - SUNY
Kirsten Breckinridge | Project Manager | YouthShift
Michael Stimpfel | Director of Finance | KIPP Colorado
Nolan Marshall, Jr. | Board Member | Orleans Parish School Board
Richie Blink | Outreach Coordinator | National Wildlife Federation
Steve Cochran | Associate Vice President | Environmental Defense Fund
Steven Bingler | Partner | Concordia
Sunny Dawn Summers | Teacher | New Orleans Sci High
About Big Picture Learning
Big Picture Learning's mission is the education of a nation, one student at a time. As a non-profit organization dedicated to the fundamental redesign of public education, Big Picture's vision is the generation of innovative, personalized learning environments that work in tandem with the real world of their greater community. At the core of Big Picture Learning's mission is a commitment to equity for all students, especially historically marginalized populations, and the expectation that these students can achieve success. For over 20 years, the Big Picture network has served over 26,000 students in over 23 states and thousands of additional students internationally
About XQ: Super School Project
XQ: Super School Project launched in September 2015 as an open call to rethink and design the next American high school. Thousands of School Builders, and tens of thousands of supporters from towns and cities across 50 states have united to take on this important work. Teams on students, teachers, parents, community leaders and many more came together to conceptualize innovative models for 21st century learning
Since its launch, XQ has proven to be more than a challenge to create innovative high schools. It is a growing movement to reimagine what is possible for public education in America, and a hub of community voices, cutting edge ideas, and expert resources to create new pathways to success for students. For more information, visit, and follow on twitter at @XQAmerica.
About XQ Institute:
XQ Institute is an organization dedicated to rethinking school in America in order to create new learning opportunities for young people and open up the possibilities of the wider world. The Institute's board of directors is chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs, Chair of the Emerson Collective. The CEO and founder is Russlynn Ali, former Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, and Managing Director of Education at the Emerson Collective. For more information, visit
With questions, please contact Elliot Washor, Big Picture Learning co-founder, at