The Week

Lean Startup meets School Model Development.

[ ]schools is an organization that designs and runs week long events for individuals interested in launching a new school model. This radically different approach to school model development takes best practices from a wide range of industries, like design (design thinking processes) & entrepreneurship (lean startup methodologies) and through an intensive 7-day process, harnesses the power of an interdisciplinary group of folks from around the country to take a new school leader’s vision from thought to reality, questioning all assumptions about schools, refusing to have arbitrary constraints put on solutions, and opting for an alternative to an incremental, “sucks less” approach to school reform.

Join us this summer for our 2nd [ ]schools event • BSW Orlando 2015.


The A-team meets Ferris Bueller.

The power of [ ]schools is in its interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving. We love career teachers and school administrators, but that is not who [ ]schools is intended for. While they are certainly welcome, we’re looking for folks with any number of talents, interests, passions and experience, as long as they are interested in fundamentally disrupting the current school model. We’re looking for people who think big, can make connections between seemingly unrelated fields, can work well and communicate with their peers, and who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Participants fall into 3 categories:
Home Team: Folks from the Orlando area that will be involved in the execution of the school. This includes the school leader and teaching staff, parents, students, and other industry professionals that may be involved as service providers, volunteers, board members, etc.

Away Team: Super interdisciplinary group of folks NOT from Orlando who may or may not have contact with the school after it launches (though of course we hope you do). You may be in education, or you may not. Artists, programmers, architects, entrepreneurs: you name it, we want you. Especially if you think you might want to start a school yourself one day. This is experiential education at its best. Learn how to start a school by, well, starting one.

Pinch Hitters: We’ll have experts both locally and from around the country available to us as we tackle specific issues.


Professional Development meets Summer Camp.

For 7 days, 40 amazing folks will eat, sleep, work, and play together to design the school of our dreams. With a huge bias toward action and a focus on MVPs, we’ll work in teams throughout the week to build a living, breathing school that will open this coming August.

We will . . .

  • articulate the purpose and philosophy of the school
  • develop the school’s culture
  • physically design the school spaces
  • develop curriculum models
  • name, brand, and market the school
  • decide on school structure (for-profit vs non-profit, co-op models, etc.)
  • secure accreditation and work with the state to fulfill all necessary requirements
  • develop processes for student application & enrollment, hiring, professional development, accounting & record keeping

and many more things that are exciting, mundane, and necessary to open a school.

While each and every individual school will be amazing, the exponential impact of this model is what really excites us. There will be 20 people from Orlando who will continue to grow and iterate the new school, but there will also be 20 awesome people not from Orlando, 20 awesome people who will go back home, some of who will then feel they have the experience they need to start their own [ ]Schools in their cities … they each start a new school and in the process bring together 20 awesome people, and so on and so forth. For us, this is the most inspirational part of this process…knowing that it doesn’t stop with just us, one school in Orlando or even the 20 Orlando folks. [ ]schools is a program that is designed to scale, supporting and encouraging a growing group of people to continuously redesign education.


When & Where

[ ]schools will be held in sunny Orlando, Florida this summer. The program starts at 5pm on Sunday, July 26th and ends Saturday, August 1st at 12pm.

What does it cost?

For the Away Team:

Participation in BSW Orlando costs $750 per person. We hate having to charge at all, and this simply helps us cover our expenses. For your hard-earned cash, you’ll get lodging, 3 meals a day, snacks, coffee, transportation to and from the airport as well as locally, and entertainment throughout the week. You are responsible for transportation to and from Orlando International Airport and any incidental costs. The greatest value to this experience is in the awesomeness of the people we’re bringing together, and we want to make sure we take full advantage of that the entire week.

For the Home Team:

In a perfect world, the home team would stay with us too.  If you’d like to, we’re happy to have you, but it is not a requirement.  We do feel like the power of BSW is not just in the work we will do together but in the relationships that form and the conversations that have happen during meals and informal times.  For this reason, we require all participants, including the Home Team, to eat 3 meals a day with us.  To cover this cost, participation for the home team costs $250 per person.

We really want you to come, so if the cost is absolutely prohibitive, let us know. We’d be happy to help you try to raise sponsorship or try to sell your employer on why this is better than any other conference they may plan on sending you to.

Wait, you’re serious?

Yep, 40 people, 7 days, 1 new school.  I know it sounds crazy, but we did it once already – BSW 2013 launched Ampersand.



How to Apply

Applications are now open and slots for blank schools week 2015 will be filled on a rolling basis.

Priority Deadline: July 3

Final Deadline: July 16

Create a 1-2 minute video (upload to youtube or vimeo) that shares with us why you want to be a part of the BSW experience.  We’re not judging on production value here, so just hop in front of your phone or laptop and hit record.  All we’re asking is that you be clear and honest, and touch on the following:

  • Who you are
  • Where you live, What you do
  • Why you want to be a part of designing a new school model
  • What you want to get from, and what you have to give to the school design team

By sending the video, you are giving your consent that the video can be used by [ ]schools to create promotional and educational materials for the education community and general public.

Submit using the form below.

All done!