Conference logo featuring title Emerging School Models - Moving from Alternative to MainstreamEmerging School Models: Moving from Alternative to Mainstream

September 28-29, 2023

Harvard Kennedy School
15 Eliot Street
Taubman Building, 5th Floor, Nye ABC and Allison Dining Room
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Photo of Governor Kevin Stitt

Governor Kevin Stitt

Microschools, classical schools, new forms of homeschooling, and other emerging school models are moving into the mainstream. But who are they serving? How much potential do they have to truly transform education? What does the latest research say? To explore these questions, the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University hosted a conference on emerging school models at Harvard Kennedy School, on Thursday, September 28 and Friday, September 29, 2023.


Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma delivered the keynote address for the conference on Thursday evening. Governor Stitt has been a strong voice for educational innovation and has recently signed a universal private school tax credit law.

Photo of Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr.

Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr.

Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. of Florida delivered the opening remarks on Friday morning. A lifelong educator, Diaz was appointed to his post by Governor Ron DeSantis in June 2022 following four years serving in the Florida legislature.

The conference featured leading educators, entrepreneurs, and researchers. Sessions were highly interactive, creating opportunities for discussion between panelists and the attendees.


Join the conversation using our event hashtag #EmergingSchools23.


Agenda and Video

Thursday, Sept. 28

1 p.m.

Opening Remarks

Paul E. Peterson, Harvard University
Daniel Hamlin, University of Oklahoma


1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Session 1: Microschools: An affluent niche or breaking out?

Matthew Kramer, Wildflower
Shiren Rattigan, Colossal Academy
Ashley Soifer, National Microschooling Center


2:30 p.m.  – 3:30 p.m.

Session 2: Homeschooling options: Hybrids and more

Bernita Bradley, Engaged Detroit Homeschool Co-op
Emily Hill, Haven School
Eric Wearne, Kennesaw State University


3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Session 3: What are the conditions necessary for success in virtual schools?

John Hagemeister, Bridges Virtual Academy
Benjamin Scafidi, Kennesaw State University
John Watson, Evergreen Education Group


6:30 P.M. – 7:15 p.M.

Keynote Address and Dinner

Speaker: Governor Kevin Stitt, State of Oklahoma


Friday, Sept. 29

8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Opening Remarks

Speaker: Manny Diaz, Jr., Florida Board of Education


9 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Session 4: Bringing emerging models to scale: Are ESAs a regulatory nightmare?

Robert Enlow, EdChoice
John Kirtley, Step Up For Students
Lisa Snell, Stand Together Trust


10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Session 5: Recent rise of classical charter schools

Heather Brown, ResponsiveEd
Albert Cheng, Classical Education Research Lab
Maegen Satcher, Hillsdale College


11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Session 6: How should emerging models incorporate A.I.?

John Bailey, Vestigo Partners
Daniel Buck, Fordham Institute
Joel Rose, New Classrooms Innovation Partners