New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Primary Contact Name:
Hae-Sin Thomas
Award Date:
May 2014
Grant Type:
National Planning and Launch
Start Date:
Fall 2014
Startup Type:
New School

School: EPIC Charter School
Grades Served: 6-8
Location: Oakland, CA
Operator: Education for Change
Operator Type: Charter
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 168
Students at Capacity: 504

Blended Model Type: Station Rotation, Individual Rotation, Flex

Key Features: Competency-Based Learning, Project-Based and Experiential Learning, Flexible Learning Spaces, Social-Emotional Development

The Operator:
Education for Change (EFC) operates four elementary and two K-8 charter schools within Oakland, CA, with a focus on turning around failing district public schools and dramatically improving outcomes for the students it serves.

In light of its successes, though, EFC recognizes an urgent need to rethink the current design of secondary schools, and with the launch of EPIC Charter School, the organization is making a shift to next generation learning.

The Academic Model:

  • Epic is a blended learning, STEAM school that builds on the best of gaming to engage, motivate, and personalize. The goal is to develop innovators and engineers who have the skills and confidence to design and implement creative solutions to real world
  • A gradual release blended learning model, personalized workplans, and self-paced adaptive learning content push students to take increasing responsibility for their time, learning, and work
  • Guides help students navigate their online learning, monitor their progress, and support students’ social-emotional development.
  • To equip students with the skills and self-confidence to become problem solvers and change-makers, EPIC emphasizes engineering and design and organizes all units of study so that they culminate in a quest—applying knowledg e in a live action real world challenge.
  • Game-based design principles are integrated into the instructional program and the school culture.

    The Epic Chronicles, a heroic tale of the world that exists in the school, engages students in an epic journey, reinforces school culture, and rewards students for demonstrating the school’s characteristics, making academic growth, and demonstrating acts of heroism.

The Organizational Model:

  • Epic is organized as four distinct multi-age houses, each with its own story as part of a larger school narrative. House culture is centered around its Sandbox, a learning space designed explicitly to enable students to work productively in different configurations.
  • EFC is a formal partner with Oakland Unified School District in the Gates Next Gen Systems Initiative, a district-wide initiative aimed to support the development of personalized learning. Education for Change received a planning grant in July 2013 to support the development of this school mode

Application Deck