Barr Foundation Announces 'Doing High School Differently' Grants

The Boston-based Barr Foundation has announced the first cohort of grantees under an initiative focused on supporting new school models aimed at helping students at risk of not graduating from high school. 

Launched in September, the $30 million Engage New England: Doing High School Differently initiative last week announced planning grants of $150,000 to nine school districts and organizations. Selected from forty-nine applicants across New England, the grantees include the Capital Region Education Council in Enfield, Connecticut; Chelsea Public Schools in Chelsea, Massachusetts; and Tree Street Youth, Inc., in Lewiston, Maine. Over the next nine months, partner organization Springpoint will lead the grantees through assessments of their assets and needs and support them in articulating a vision and plan for the experiences they aspire to create for students. Based on the quality of the resulting plans, grantees may be invited to apply for implementation grants of up to $750,000 over two years, to be awarded in 2018.

In a statement, the foundation noted that the initiative "adds to the progress of New England's schools by rethinking high school education, aligning it with positive youth development theory, and creating a variety of whole school models that are as rigorous as they are flexible in developing content knowledge, successful habits, creative know-how, and navigation abilities — the integrated knowledge and skills that students need to access their full potential, connect to opportunities in college, career, and community, and to be successful in our rapidly changing world."