Teaching Matters, an education nonprofit dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness, has announced a five-year grant of more than $8.4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of efforts to improve equitable literacy outcomes in New York City.
The organization will use the five-year grant to establish a Network for School Improvement (NSI), a group of schools collaborating to achieve the shared goal of ensuring that all students finish eighth grade prepared for success in high school and beyond, with a focus on proficiency in literacy, a critical factor in students' future success. To that end, the schools in the Teaching Matters NSI will spend time analyzing the root causes of literacy problems in their respective communities, develop a working theory for addressing those problems, implement and test culturally responsive literacy strategies, measure progress in culturally responsive and equitable ways, and support teaching and learning in remote, in-person, and blended learning models.
Launched by the Gates Foundation in 2018 as part a $1.7 billion education initiative, the NSI initiative is focused on helping middle schools and high schools identify and solve common problems and refine best practices aimed at ensuring students are on track to graduate. Teaching Matters joins a total of thirty grant recipients in twenty states that serve as supporting organizations for NSIs.
"This initiative provides an exceptional opportunity to uncover and address systemic barriers facing our city's Black and LatinX students and students experiencing poverty," said Teaching Matters CEO Lynette Guastaferro. "COVID-19 has greatly magnified disparities and presented new challenges, increasing the demand educators have to collaborate to effectively foster students' advanced literacy skills in culturally responsive ways. We look forward to implementing a data-based process and making great strides in literacy outcomes."