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About Uncommon Schools

Uncommon Schools is a nonprofit organization that starts and manages outstanding urban charter public schools that close the achievement gap and prepare low-income students to graduate from college. Uncommon builds uncommonly great schools that are philosophically aligned and highly accountable. Uncommon currently manages 28 schools in New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Rochester, New York; Troy, New York; and Boston, Massachusetts.


Uncommon Schools first supported the creation of North Star Academy Charter School of Newark, which opened in 1997 and has since emerged as one of the most celebrated charter public schools in the nation. In 2005, Uncommon formalized its mission as a charter management organization.


New York, New York

School Locations

New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Rochester, New York; Troy, New York; and Boston, Massachusetts.

Web Site

Growth Plan

Uncommon ultimately will encompass 44 schools, serving over 16,000 K through 12th grade students. In the long-run, Uncommon aims to fund its services almost entirely from revenues generated by the individual schools. In the near term, it looks to philanthropic partners to support the capacitybuilding that is essential to creating and managing schools at scale.

Charter School Defined

A charter school is an independently run public school granted greater flexibility in its operations, in return for greater accountability for performance.

School Design • • • • • • Program Model

The key attributes of an Uncommon school are: A College Preparatory Mission High Standards for Academics and Character A Highly Structured Learning Environment A Longer School Day and A Longer School Year A Focus on Accountability and Data-Driven Instruction A Faculty of Committed and Talented Leaders and Teachers The Uncommon model calls for Managing Directors to be superintendents over small regions of schools. Each Managing Director develops a school’s cultural blueprint,

manages start-up by designing programs and training the school leader, supervises and coaches the school leader on an ongoing basis, and ensures the success of the instructional program. This approach makes Uncommon Schools unique, with talented, proven leaders guiding and managing promising school leaders in the creation of new schools. Management Services

Based in New York City, the organization has created a home office from which it provides a full complement of management services that allow school leaders to focus on instructional leadership. The home office provides such services as program design and development; teacher recruitment; training for teachers, school leaders, and other staff; facility acquisition and financing; financial management; fund development; technology; legal counsel; and marketing and advocacy.


Uncommon has achieved outstanding academic results based on nationally-normed tests, statewide exams, and graduation milestones. Its schools consistently outperform neighborhood schools, rank at the top of their cities, and are among their states’ top-performing urban schools. In addition to academic results, the organization tracks the effectiveness of its management services.

Key Philanthropic Partners

Achelis and Bodman Foundations, The Broad Foundation, Barclays Capital, Carnegie Corporation, The Carson Family Charitable Trust, The Charles Hayden Foundation, Charter School Growth Fund, Credit Suisse Americas Foundation, Gleason Foundation, Hollyhock Foundation, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, The MCJ Amelior Foundation, NewSchools Venture Fund, Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, Robertson Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, Tiger Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and the WKBJ Foundation.

Uncommon Schools Fact Sheet  

About Uncommon Schools

Uncommon Schools Fact Sheet  

About Uncommon Schools