Diving into Deeper Learning with Districts

Our Education Program makes grants to ensure that every K-12 student has access to rigorous, relevant, and innovative education opportunities that empower and equip them to become engaged and thriving participants in society. We are aware that supporting educators to do this in the 2020-2021 school year means that we must be responsive to how COVID-19 is sending shockwaves through the public school system, exacerbating racial inequities and re-focusing priorities.

Since 2018, our grantmaking strategy has focused on creating change in specific districts around the country. Today more than ever, local context matters. By leveraging the expertise of district leaders, the passion of educators, and the voices of students, we want to work alongside and learn from school districts that are reimagining teaching and learning against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Our goal is to ensure that our grantees have the freedom and flexibility to find, create, and adapt the solutions and opportunities that match their own context, place, identity, or needs in this moment.

This page is meant to serve as a resource. It will be updated frequently with pertinent information as we continue working with our district partners.

 

 

Areas of Work:


Youth-Focused

Our grantmaking assumes that those with the greatest stake in schools have the power to both create change and to make it stick. We encourage our grantees to invite and amplify the voices of their students. Work in this area could include support for organizing student and/or youth groups, including the creation of a new group; capturing youth voice around several topics, including the mental health effect of the global pandemics of COVID and the continued fight for racial justice; and creating or supporting digital journalism, including newspaper, documentaries, and substantively incorporating student advisory. This area fosters opportunities for students to have input on the content and method in which they learn, and in turn to increase student engagement and agency.

 


Enlisting Parent and Community Support

Effective systems change is informed by a range of perspectives and contexts. Especially in unpredictable times like these, parents, families, and community members should be engaged and involved in collaborative decision making with their school districts. Work in this area could include capturing parent voice and collaboration; communicating with families in new or interactive ways; offering parents flexibility in opportunities to engage, and ensuring adequate information to help parents understand how families can support their student’s learning.


Teacher Capacity

Our grants are intended to help administrators work alongside teachers to reimagine the potential of their roles as stewards of learning. Teachers should have opportunities to deepen their practice and grow their toolboxes to enhance all students’ quality of learning. Work in this category could include programs or efforts designed to increase individual educator and district capacity to teach students, including developing substantive relationships with students and their families; collaborating and learning with other teachers, and creating systems to support both.


Robust blended and Virtual Learning Opportunities

Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that good ideas are created and democratized for all students. COVID-19 and the move to distance learning has heightened the opportunity to re-imagine the possibilities of what constitutes quality teaching and learning. Efforts in this category could include things like new school designs and models that increase student access to deeper learning experiences or policies, practices, and structures that create robust blended and virtual learning opportunities. 


Finance and Operations

Public schools have long been starved of the resources required to meet each student’s needs, and the pandemic has only exacerbated that crisis. Work in this category could include district budgeting processes; adoption of textbook, curriculum, and materials including open education resources; and hiring and retention policies. 

Outcomes

Through our grants in a set of places around the country, we hope to support districts’ efforts to create meaningful learning opportunities for children and youth amid a pandemic. This work will allow us to further advance the Education Program’s goals:

  1. To transform current education policies and practice
  2. To incentivize deeper learning at scale
  3. To create new examples of high-quality education preparation and development
  4. To foster community understanding and support of deeper learning

School Districts

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