First Days, 2017

The first day of school is pivotal for any student. Read on and enjoy anecdotes from the first days of eight new schools across the country, founded and led by BES Fellows.




Circle City Preparatory

Indianapolis, Indiana
Grades: K- 1
Growing to: K- 8
Founder and School Leader: Megan Murphy, 2015 BES Fellow


Even before day one, Megan Murphy and the Circle City Preparatory team dove right in to setting high expectations. Prior to Orientation, each student was STEP tested. Anyone who missed the STEP assessment had a make-up test during lunch on day one. The team’s detailed planning and practice paid off as students were learning and engaged in rigorous academics on the first day of school.



Compass Rose Academy

San Antonio, Texas
Grades: 6- 7
Growing to: 6- 12
Founder and School Leader: Paul Morrissey, 2015 BES Fellow


After a warm welcome from their new teachers, Compass Rose Academy’s Polar Bears (the school mascot) dove right in to work, kicking off the school year with a rigorous read of Linda Sue Park’s A Walk to Water. They continued the day with mathematics, wasting no time digging into the conceptual and the practical: unit rates and multiplication.



Élan Academy

New Orleans, Louisiana
Grades: K- 2
Growing to: K- 8
Founder and School Leader: Melanie Askew, 2015 BES Fellow


On day one, Élan Academy welcomed their 20 new Kindergarten students. The team was well prepared, thanks to strong summer PD, with all hands on deck to ensure a great first day of school experience for their kindergarten students. Students learned the school clap, sat at their new desks, participated in a Read Aloud about the first day of school, and took home a new Élan bookbag filled with exciting Life Work.




Forte Preparatory Academy

Queens, New York
Grades: 5
Growing to: 5- 8
Founder and School Leader: Graham Browne, 2015 BES Fellow


Day one at Forte Preparatory Academy began with strong eye contact and firm handshakes as School Leader Graham Browne greeted each new student at the door of the school. Teachers took to their posts in the hallways, greeting students and ushering them through the building. Everyone got right to work, with teachers carefully monitoring student progress and keeping an eye on everything down to the smallest detail, like an untucked shirt.


Futuro Academy

Las Vegas, Nevada
Grades: K-1
Growing to: K-8
Founder and School Leader: Ignacio Prado, 2015 BES Fellow


Las Vegas needs excellent schools, evidenced by Futuro Academy’s founding class of 120 Kindergarten and first graders, and the waitlist of students hopeful for a seat. The five- and six-year-olds joyfully learned the school basics: how to hold their pencils and how to transition between classes and activities. The road to college began in literacy as they learned to write their names.




Legacy College Preparatory

Bronx, New York
Grades: 6
Growing to: 6-12
Founder and School Leader: Summer Schneider, 2015 BES Fellow


Prior to the arrival of students, the Legacy College Preparatory team sweated every operational detail. Hallways lined with inspirational college banners and powerful quotations, and carefully arranged desks complete with name tags and materials awaited the students. Outside of the school, School Leader Summer Schneider greeted every student, while inside the teachers encouraged precise note taking, neat homework, and strong, proud raised hands.




Libertas Academy

Springfield, Massachusetts
Grade: 6
Growing to: 6-12

Founder and School Leader: Modesto Montero, 2015 BES Fellow


On their first day, the Libertas Academy team set the bar of new expectations with a meticulous student uniform check. Students learned routines in the classrooms with their teachers, as well as in The Lion’s Den with the entire school. Under the guidance of their English teachers, the Libertas Lions selected their first independent reading books, which they began to read voraciously.




Vega Collegiate Academy

Aurora, Colorado
Grades: K, 5
Growing to: K-8
Founder and School Leader: Kathryn Mullins, 2015 BES Fellow


Tuesday, August 8, 2017 was day one for Vega Collegiate Academy, the first BES School in Aurora, CO.  Founder Kate Mullins and her team welcomed 120 students in grades K and five. The Vega team overcame many obstacles to bring this college-focused education to the students of Aurora. Situated near a refugee community, the school has a unique geographic community. Over seven different native languages are represented in this small but mighty school.




Congratulations to all of these excellent schools and the leaders, teachers, parents, students, and communities that have brought them to life. We look forward to the new schools that the years will bring.


Happy learning!