Gates Foundation Announces Networks for School Improvement Grants

Gates Foundation Announces Networks for School Improvement Grants

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $55 million in support of place-based efforts to ensure that students are on track to graduate on time.

Awarded through the foundation's Networks for School Improvement (NSI) initiative, the grants will fund teacher-led instructional improvements designed to strengthen support for African-American, Latinx, and low-income students. The awards include a five-year, $13 million grant to the BARR Center in Maple Grove, Minnesota, to expand its Building Assets, Reducing Risks model — a comprehensive, strengths-based approach to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students. Working initially with thirty high schools in California and the Midwest to implement the model, the center will identify the most effective strategies, help schools with continuous improvement, and share the results with the NSI network.

The latest cohort of NSI grantees also includes Access ASU ($8.6 million) at Arizona State University, the Connecticut RISE Network ($4.9 million), Eskolta School Research and Design (nearly $15 million), and the New York City Department of Education ($13 million). Launched in 2018 as part of a five-year, $1.7 billion education initiative, NSI has awarded grants totaling $240 million to thirty networks serving more than seven hundred schools in more than twenty states, including twenty-one grants totaling $92 million in September 2018.

"We know that every school is committed to the success of their students," wrote Bob Hughes, the foundation’s director of K-12 education, in a blog post. "But in many instances, schools don't have the tools, resources, and experience to respond to students’ needs. Over the next five years, our goal is to better understand those last mile investments, tools, or insights to make common planning time, data, and commitment become systemically transformative for students."

(Photo credit: BARR Center)

"New Partnerships, New Year, New Opportunity." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Blog Post 12/11/2019. "NSI Fact Sheet." Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Fact Sheet 12/10/2019. "BARR Center Awarded $13M Grant as National Expansion Accelerates." BARR Center Press Release 12/11/2019.