What is the No Excuses University?

The No Excuses University (NEU) hosts a number of events that share ideas from practitioners to practitioners with our six exceptional systems at the heart of their work. From institutes to annual national conventions, we are constantly on the road bringing this message to life. When educators attend our events, we view them as members of our family. We select up scale locations where we cater to them and treat them as professionals. All of this while keeping our prices well below our competitors and our products of the highest quality. And even though we enjoy touring the country throughout the year, our real calling is to someday create a No Excuses University Campus that others can go to as a destination for higher learning.

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What is the NEU Network of Schools?

This network of like-minded individuals is made up of schools that choose to apply for official NEU status as part of their desire to be a part of a movement far bigger than what might take place on their campus alone. Not all schools that have attended a No Excuses University event make the choice to apply for this status. In addition, not all schools that do apply are accepted. As of January 2013, there were over 150 official No Excuses Universities in fourteen states across America. The thousands of educators at these very diverse schools (K-5, K-6, K-8, middle, junior high, high school, college, and charter) collectively support more than 100,000 students, many living in challenging environments where poverty is the standard. Only schools that have been recognized as official NEU campuses are allowed to use the trademarked No Excuses University name and logo associated with this endeavor.

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What is expected of an NEU School?

The act of being granted official No Excuses University status should not be looked at as an award. Participating as a No Excuses University is so much more than that. It is a way of life. Schools are not asked to pay a membership fee, nor are they required to pay dues of any kind. The purpose of creating a network like ours is to connect like-minded educators with a passion to learn from one another, work collaboratively, and participate in an educational reform effort that has the potential to change the face of public education as we know it. Schools that wish to join the network must participate in an application process that is reviewed by a committee of NEU educators and supporters. Not every school that applies is allowed into the NEU Network. In fact, not every school that has been accepted as an official No Excuses University is allowed to remain in the network. A yearly re-application process takes place, as schools are held accountable for continuous growth in the development and implementation of exceptional systems that focus on promoting college readiness for all. Finally, schools are also judged on their collaborative contributions to the network. Schools who wish to join must continually ask themselves, “What value do we add to the No Excuses University Network of Schools?”

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How can a school join the NEU Network?

Schools seeking membership into the No Excuses University Network can participate in the application process after attending a No Excuses University Institute with a team that must include the principal. It is imperative that each team, including the principal, represent all grade levels or departments. After attending an institute, schools apply through a written submission that focuses on seven specific questions about the implementation of the six exceptional systems, as well as a video submission that displays a school’s college readiness commitment at work. A committee, which selects only schools that show extraordinary passion and drive for the NEU model, reviews each application. This application, which can be found and completed online at www.staging.satisfying-print.flywheelsites.com, guides interested parties through the process. The guidance for a successful application is vague for a reason. Our desire is to select schools that are already displaying the ideals of the NEU model, not schools that have written to a rubric to receive a specific score. Entrance into the No Excuses University Network is granted to schools on a year-to-year basis. Each year, schools take part in a short re-application process to give evidence of the growth that they have made from one year to the next. Schools that do not continue to meet the declared expectations or who show a lack of desire to make improvements are dropped as official NEU schools. Our ambition is to be associated with the best and brightest in our profession, but this does not mean that we seek to be an elitist organization. Many of our schools are far from being the top-performing in their district. In fact, some of our schools are challenged by a looming status of program improvement that makes others wary of forming long-term partnerships. We are different. We initially select schools based on potential, and retain them as official members based on performance. This endeavor can be successful at any school that is willing to participate in innovative practices that promote college readiness. The most successful schools are the ones that step out unafraid as they eagerly seek to meet the expectations placed on every official No Excuses University.

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What are the 7 Agreements that every No Excuses University school must adhere to?

  1. The NEU School will not authorize the use of the trademarked No Excuses University name and/or logo to any individual or organization other than the school, without the express written consent of No Excuses University.
  2. Any speaking engagements that include a significant discussion about the No Excuses University concepts for which any staff member receives compensation must be booked through No Excuses University’s President, Dan Lopez.
  3. The NEU School understands that should the principal of the school retire, resign, transfer or be terminated, the new principal must attend a No Excuses University Institute within one year of their appointment to the school. Failure for a new principal to attend an Institute may result in the exiting of the school from the No Excuses University Network of Schools.
  4. The NEU School commits to having the school’s principal and at least one representative from the school attend an NEU National Convention a minimum of once every two years.
  5. The NEU School understands that should the school be exited from the No Excuses University Network of Schools, it is the responsibility of the principal to cease all use of the trademarked No Excuses University name and logo school-wide within 90 days of a written request on behalf of the No Excuses University.
  6. The NEU School understands that the use of the No Excuses University name and logo, and acceptance into the No Excuses University Network of Schools is granted on a yearly basis. The NEU School understands that all No Excuses University Schools must participate in a yearly webinar and provide a completed re-application in order to retain membership and use of the NEU name and logo. Reacceptance into the network is contingent on each school living up to the NEU Promise and following the Six C’s of an NEU Professional.
  7. The NEU School understands that the principal is responsible for ensuring that all current and future members of the school’s staff agree to all of the above terms.

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What is the NEU promise?

We have no desire to take the easy road or sell out to the politically driven. We are dreamers and problem solvers that are advocates for students first. When we invest our energy in a project, we do so in a way that results in that endeavor becoming the best of its kind. We know that life is too short to listen to naysayers and the excuses that they share. Our students only get one shot at school success and because of this our clocks are set to one time . . . NOW!

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What are the 3 goals of the No Excuses University?

  1. Good-bye to the Status Quo: Revolutionize K-12 public education by focusing on six exceptional systems created under the umbrella of college readiness for all.
  2. Schools of First Choice for Students: Partner with districts and charter school authorities to create and operate NEU Academy Prep Schools. Featuring a rigorous K-8 framework, these schools are bold in their approach and unique in their delivery of instruction.
  3. Foster Children Today – College Grads Tomorrow: Build, from the ground up, an NEU Campus dedicated to serving foster children who will live and learn in a loving, college-like boarding school environment.

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What are the Six Exceptional Systems?

Before there was an official NEU Network, there was our company. But before there was even a company, there were six exceptional systems. These systems are the most important component of everything that we do as an educational organization or a business. They are the first prescription for any school’s success. Everything else is a distant second. These six systems are working to shift the culture of schools across the country as they help to generate academic results for even the most challenging demographics within a school’s student population. They should be thought of as a sequential model via the exceptional staircase seen below.


What makes a system “exceptional”?

The No Excuses University considers a system exceptional when it meets the following 4 criteria:

  1. Exceptional systems are created by the critical mass of the staff in a highly collaborative way.
  2. Exceptional systems find unique solutions to very important challenges.
  3. Exceptional systems are documented, endorsed, and reviewed annually.
  4. Exceptional systems are driven by results.

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What are the Six C’s of the NEU Professional?

Working in a cohesive manner as a staff intent on supporting all students, no matter the challenge, takes work. It’s not something that you can just talk about. It requires action and a game plan. After many years of working together as a network, we have found that our NEU staff members can best exemplify the movement by focusing on what we call the “Six C’s”. The Six C’s of an NEU Professional are non negotiable for schools who wish to be a part of the network. These are not recommendations, nor are they ideas packaged with a catchy title. The Six C’s express who we are and how we want to behave.

  • Committed: We believe that every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares them for college if they so choose to attend. We also believe that we, the school staff, have the power to make this opportunity a reality.
  • Courageous: To display courage is to show strength in the face of fear. We do this by ignoring those who try to tell us that our dreams for students’ futures are unrealistic and impossible. We ask for forgiveness instead of permission. We hold one another accountable and we come together as a critical mass to confront the status quo.
  • Collaborative: Our collaborative spirit is grounded on the idea that we each have unique strengths as well as different weaknesses. We make the time to work with one another in a way that maximizes accountability while minimizing anxiety. This helps us to achieve greater success for students as a team, while at the same time promoting balance in our lives as individuals.
  • Creative: We are innovative and love to explore new ways to get results for students. Experimentation is not a suggestion, but rather an expectation of an NEU Professional. When we find success through our creativity, we celebrate as a staff and seek ways to replicate the results elsewhere.
  • Character Centered: Character is doing the right thing when no one else is watching. . . this goes double for adults. We are consistent with the rules and methods of teaching behavior as we take responsibility for all students.
  • College and Career Crazy: College readiness is a tie that binds us as students, parents, and staff. Because of this, we reveal the benefits of a college degree to all students in practical and achievable ways that offer hope for a better future. Our network exists to shatter the myths that a student has to be rich or privileged to go to college.

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What are the Six Beliefs that all NEU Schools share to support a Culture of Universal Achievement?

Here are six beliefs related to a Culture of Universal Achievement that every staff can take part in:

  1. Every student will be proficient or advanced in reading, writing, and math.
  2. The academic accomplishment of every student is an obsession.
  3. The school can neutralize many challenges that students bring to the classroom.
  4. Student achievement is the number one topic of conversation.
  5. A maverick spirit must lead the way.
  6. There are no excuses for poor effort.

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What do we mean by College Readiness for All?

We believe that every student deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares them for college if they so choose to attend.

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