The Barr Foundation in Boston has issued a Request for Proposals for a second cohort of teams interested in designing schools focused on connecting students off track to graduate to success in high school and beyond.
In 2016, Barr announced a new multiyear initiative, Engage New England: Doing High School Differently, as part of a regional strategy focused on the development and expansion of new secondary school models in New England. Through the initiative, the foundation's goal is to marshal critical resources, awareness, solutions, and opportunities in support of one of New England’s most marginalized high school populations: students who are off track to graduate from high school and therefore have extremely limited opportunities to connect to postsecondary success.
To that end, one-year planning grants of up to $150,000 will be awarded to eligible teams to develop schools that connect students who are off track to graduate to success in high school — and beyond. Plans should focus on the development of quality, innovative public high schools designed to shepherd students toward a path to graduation and postsecondary success via models that engage students through their interests and empower them with the integrated knowledge and skills needed to connect with college, career, and community. Selected teams will embark on a deep planning and design year in which they develop a new or redesigned school model that deliberatively and comprehensively supports students who are not on track to graduate.
The teams selected through the RFP will join the first cohort of teams announced in June. A third cohort will be selected in the summer of 2019. Engage New England participants connect within and across cohorts, and are partners in an innovation collaborative — learning from each other and like-minded innovators across the nation, while receiving robust technical assistance from design and planning through implementation. Together they will build a diverse set of school models that transform high school learning experiences for young people whose prior experiences have failed to engage them and empower their success.
Planning grant awardees that are successful in their planning and design efforts will be invited to apply for two-year implementation grants of up to $750,000 each.
The following entities are eligible to apply: local education agencies, including disricts and charter organizations; and nonprofits, including community-based organizations (CBOs), in active partnership with an LEA or as an entity that can or will be able to support a school or program.
This opportunity is open to entities proposing to serve students in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont.
A webinar for prospective applicants will be held in November, and additional opportunities to learn about the initiative and ask questions will be available during "office hours" via conference calls on November 29 and December 15, and January 12, 2018.
See the Barr Foundation website for the complete RFP, including the foundation's theory of change, eligibility criteria, application instructions, and a timeline.