The Quincy, Massachusetts-based Nellie Mae Education Foundation has announced nearly $1 million in grants through its Opportunity Fund, which works to complement large-scale investments made through the foundation's District Level Systems Change initiative.
Thirteen schools and educational organizations were awarded three-year grants of up to $75,000 to promote student-centered learning and test or expand on one of the foundation's strategic change components, including model development, policy change, and public understanding and demand. Student-centered learning approaches are based on the science of how people learn and are often characterized by innovative uses of time and the inclusion of a wider variety of adults as a complement to teachers.
Recipients included the New York City-based Asia Society; the Granite State Organizing Project in Manchester, New Hampshire; Boston-based JFYNetworks; and the Center for Education Policy, Applied Research, and Evaluation and Searsport District High School in Maine. In addition, the foundation awarded grants to E-P Education Services, Goodwin College, and Our Piece of the Pie in Connecticut; Hyde Square Task Force and Visual Understanding in Education in Massachusetts; and three groups in Rhode Island: Young Voices, Youth in Action, and the Rhode Island After School Plus Alliance.
"Our experience tells us that there are many organizations and schools that are already using or promoting student-centered strategies with positive results and that there are also organizations and schools that have a vision and the infrastructure for testing innovative ideas around student-centered learning but lack the resources to implement their ideas," said NMEF vice president of programs Mary Sylvia Harrison. "Through the Opportunity Fund, we're able to support and expand this work and build on the momentum for innovation that their work creates."