In 1998, longtime public school educator (and now Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) Don Shalvey joined forces with Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Netflix founder Reed Hastings to launch Aspire Public Schools, one of the nation’s first charter management organizations. The mission Don and Reed set out to achieve was simple and straightforward, and it remains the same to this day: open and operate small, high-quality, college prep charter schools in low-income neighborhoods.
Aspire now has 40 community-based schools serving over 17,000 students in California and Tennessee. Our schools range from TK through 12th grade, and College For Certain is the focus for every age group. Teachers and parents partner closely to ensure students are prepared to succeed in college, career, and life.
Aspire’s vision: Every student is prepared to earn a college degree.
Aspire’s mission is to open and operate small, high-quality charter schools in low-income neighborhoods, in order to:
- Increase the academic performance of underserved students
- Develop effective educators
- Share successful practices with other forward-thinking educators, and
- Catalyze change in public schools.
Aspire is committed to providing equitable opportunities for our students, families, and teammates. We use an equity lens to examine our policies, practices, and systems at Aspire to strive for all groups to increase access and benefit from our work. This belief is woven throughout our core values. Read more about Equity at Aspire.
- Purposefulness: Deliberate action focused on the organization’s goals and priorities
- Collaboration: Working collectively to accomplish more than what is possible alone
- Ownership: Individual and group accountability for results, actions, and decisions
- Customer Service: Responsiveness to the needs of external and internal customers
- Quality: Commitment to excellence and the discipline to continually improve
Aspire’s core values are a part of its culture, but they do not define the culture. Culture is a shared system of values, beliefs and behaviors that collectively determine how things are done in an organization; it includes but is not limited to values.