The Primary School is the latest bit of education-related philanthropy from Zuckerberg and Chan.
Last week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan announced they're opening a school. This is not an ordinary school, though.
It's called The Primary School, and it's being billed as "a new integrated health and education model dedicated to serving children and families in the communities of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven."
What does that actually mean? Zuckerberg elaborated a bit about the school's purpose in a post on his Facebook page, writing, "In addition to early childhood and K-12 education, The Primary School will also provide prenatal support for families and on-site healthcare for children."
How's this different from any other school? Essentially, it expands what we think of when we hear the word "school."
"By integrating education, health, and family support services starting at birth, TPS will expand the traditional definition of 'school' in order to prepare all children to succeed in college, career, and life," reads a post on the school's FAQ page.
And it makes sense! If kids aren't healthy, it's harder to learn. Providing medical care along with an education ensures that students have the best possible opportunity to succeed.
Chan says The Primary School is the result of looking for more effective ways to educate AND care for kids.
On her Facebook page, she explains that it's through her experience as both a pediatrician and her role running an after-school program that brought some of the education system's shortcomings to her attention.
"We need a better way of caring for and educating our children," she writes. "The effects of trauma and chronic stress create an invisible burden for children that makes it very difficult for them to be healthy and live up to their academic potential. We must address these issues holistically in order to allow children to succeed."
It's not the first time Zuckerberg and Chan have shown an interest in education reform, but it's their most personal.
Here are some education projects the couple has poured a decent chunk of change into:
Zuckerberg was one of the big-name investors in AltSchool, described as "a collaborative community of micro-schools that uses outstanding teachers, deep research, and innovative tools to offer a personalized, whole child learning experience for the next generation." It has been referred to as a type of "Montessori 2.0."
In 2010, he donated $100 million to Newark, New Jersey's public school system. Five years later, the general consensus is that his money wasn't especially well-spent by those charged with enacting Zuckerberg's requested reforms.
Just last year, Zuckerberg and Chan pledged a $120 million donation to Bay Area public schools.
But The Primary School is their most hands-on school reform project to date.
The Primary School could very well be a glimpse into the future of education. Or maybe not.
But no matter what, it's always great to see people with a lot of resources (such as Zuckerberg) put them to good use trying to improve the lives of others around them, especially to those underserved and disadvantaged in life. Right on, Zuck!