WeWork to Shutter Its Private Elementary School After Current School Year
WeGrow, the division of WeWork that operated a private elementary school, will close its doors after the current school year.
A spokesperson for WeWork (officially called The We Company) said it “will continue to operate WeGrow through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.” But “as part of the company’s efforts to focus on its core business, WeWork has informed the families of WeGrow students that we will not operate WeGrow after this school year. WeWork and the families of WeGrow students are engaging in discussions with interested parties regarding plans for WeGrow for the following school year.”
Launched in 2018 in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, WeGrow fashioned itself as a “conscious entrepreneurial school,” founded by WeWork co-founder Rebekah Neumann. The program aspired to combine traditional classroom subjects with lessons in arts, mindfulness, yoga and farming, as she described to Fast Company in 2017. Those experiences come at a pretty penny; tuition cost as much as $42,000 a year.
The news was first reported by The Huffington Post, which stated that WeGrow is currently serving about 100 students.
The planned shuttering of the elementary school is not expected to impact WeWork’s other educational offerings, such as its coding bootcamp Flatiron School. Adam Braun, who joined WeWork after it acquired his startup, MissionU, remains chief operating officer of WeGrow.
This is the latest in a series of efforts by WeWork to sell or shutter its assets following its decision to call off its initial public offering, after investors expressed concerns about its financials and operations. WeWork has put up at least three businesses for sale—including Managed by Q, Conductor and Meetup—that it had previously acquired. According to Bloomberg, the company has notified staff of plans to lay off as many as 2,000 employees this month.
Rebekah Neumann stepped down from the company last month, as has her husband, Adam Neumann, who was formerly CEO of WeWork. The company is currently led by a pair of co-CEOs, Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, and is attempting to secure additional financing from JP Morgan Chase, which advised on its IPO.