4.0 Schools

Our website is in the oven!

We are working on a very exciting website right now; ETA: November 2010. Please bear with this very basic but very up-to-date page until we get it up and running.


The debate about whether we can or should close the achievement gap is over. We can and we must. For the last decade, we’ve been privileged to help build some of the best public charter schools in the country. Recently, we’ve stepped back to develop a fresh perspective on the next two.

Welcome to 4.0 Schools.

Our mission

We launch exceptionally high-quality public charter schools in the southeastern US that equip every student for success in college. With our help, these schools will expand to drive profound changes in public K-12 schooling by making college success the norm, not the exception.

What we believe

We believe closing the college attainment gap between rich and poor students is the most important economic priority in the United States. We believe every child deserves a K-12 education that prepares them to enter and complete college. We believe any city in our country can have a world-class system of schools that prepares every child to complete college if adults act on a shared belief in student achievement being based on adult performance not student capacity. We believe that it is our responsibility to create a new “normal” in public education – where expectations for every child include college completion.

Our commitment to avoid powerpoint at all costs

This overview describes how our work relates to closing the achievement gap within the United States. http://bit.ly/4pt0schoolsoverview. Viewing tips: Click on the link, click ‘more’ in the bottom right corner of the viewer, then ‘full-screen’. You can navigate at your own pace with the forward and back keys.

Join Us!  

We are building a team. Consider joining us.

If you believe what we do and want to be part of our team, please check out the following position description(s) and scorecard outline(s).



We are seeking additional financial partners.

We can’t do this work alone. Our launch team has deep experience in school building and reform, but we need bold financial partners who share our commitment, who believe in us and who see the opportunity we do in the Southeast. Please download our business plan and consider supporting our work or contact Matt Candler at mcandler at 4pt0.org.


Next Steps  

We will spend the remainder of the 2010 school year raising support, hiring core staff and building out the Academy curriculum. Throughout the 2011 school year, two to four leadership teams will attend the Academy and launch in summer 2012. We will also consider adopting a few New Orleans schools into the portfolio and invite their teams to the first Academy cohort. We are currently finalizing our founding board, our staffing plan and the five-year financial model. We are also preparing formal incorporation and federal tax-exemption documents.

More information  

Our founder’s bio

Matt Candler is CEO of 4.0 Schools – a school launch and support organization committed to closing the achievement gap in the Southeastern United States (www.4pt0.org). After teaching and coaching middle school after college, Matt returned to his hometown to help run the main operations center for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. After the Games, he studied decision sciences and the emerging charter sector at the Kellogg School of Management. After Kellogg, Matt served as founding co-principal of a K-8 charter school in North Carolina and helped launch independent charter schools in the Southeast.
As KIPP Foundation’s VP of School Development, Matt led a team that established 37 new schools across the U.S. He then served as founding COO of the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, a $41 million effort to launch high-quality charter schools. In 2006, Matt joined New Schools for New Orleans as its first CEO and built a team whose human capital and school launch efforts are considered some of the most innovative and successful in the nation. He also served as lead architect for the Center for Charter School Excellence in Tennessee.
Matt is chairman of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, a board member of Building Excellent Schools, and co-founder of the New Orleans teacher support community – www.closingthenolagap.org. His wife and three kids are the coolest people he knows.

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

The debate about whether we can or should close the achievement gap is over. We can and we must. For the last decade, we’ve been privileged to help build some of the best public schools in the country. Recently, we’ve stepped back to get a fresh perspective on the next two. Welcome to 4.0 schools.

Our informed and deliberate approach will transform public schooling in the Southeastern United States and serve as an example to other regions across the nation. In our first five years, we will launch 45 exceptional schools. In years six through nine, we will bring that total to 100. In years ten through twenty, our top 40 schools will expand aggressively to replace 116 low-performing schools and launch 160 more new charters. Five to ten percent will fail; the rest will represent the nation’s finest portfolio of schools. These 357 outstanding schools will serve 178,500 students. Every year they will put 23,800 kids who otherwise wouldn’t have made it on the path to finish college. And they will change the trajectory of the nation’s neediest, most promising region forever.

But 4.0 is more than a bunch of new schools. Designed and led by veterans of our nation’s best charter school and human capital reform shops, it represents an informed evolution in school reform. Instead of single school leaders, we will train teams. Instead of letting schools struggle through critical early years alone, we’ll support them closely for three years. Instead of keeping every school under our management tent forever, we’ll grade every school on outcomes after their third year. We’ll help close the very worst, leave good schools on their own and then focus on boosting the long-term impact of our very best. Our best schools will scale under their own power to play a variety of roles in reform – based on what they can do best. Some will replace the worst schools in their city. Others will scale like CMOs do now by launching more schools. Others will spin out efficient back-office service providers or new learning technology ventures that further accelerate regional reform. We will remain at their side to train their talent as they grow.

We target one eight-state region – the neediest in the US – instead of a city (too risky politically, training is too expensive) or the whole country (quality control, support are too expensive). For generations, these states have been the poorest and most poorly educated in the country. Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina rank on average 42nd in wealth and educational attainment.

Yet no region has greater potential for rapid improvement than the Southeast. Flexible right-to-work labor laws allow reform here to scale faster. Large installations of human capital providers like Teach for America can fuel new schools. Most of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities are here. Bold leaders in Louisiana and Tennessee have set examples others are starting to follow. It is time to get serious about reform where we need it most.

How you can help us right now
We are looking for the best folks in the nation and want to get them on board with 4.0. If you are willing, we need you to open your rolodex and spread the word to help us find staff, charter board members, school leaders, teachers, finance/operations folks and techies.

We need like-minded financial partners to complete our first five years of funding to launch and support our first 45 schools and seed four school support or learning tech organizations. Of the $36.8M we need, we’ve secured $5.2M in pledges and commitments. We believe that bold, early support for $25M from experienced national funders will allow us to secure the rest of our support from more conservative state and local funders. They are inspired by the regional focus of 4.0 but need someone to show them the way forward. We can and must do this important work.

Please join us: www.4pt0.org