02/20/2015

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This week, we stood alongside amazing partners and launched the Reimagine Learning initiative. The initiative is an ambitious and collaborative effort of educators, parents, advocates, social entrepreneurs, policy influencers and funders to revitalize learning in America so that all students, including those who are marginalized or underserved by the status quo, can achieve academic and life success. You can read the full press release about the announcement here.

Reimagine Learning is a multi-faceted campaign that exemplifies New Profit’s 15 years of experience and overall vision about how social change happens. We have to scale great innovations, advocate for high-impact public policy, and change culture and dialogue to achieve the level of impact we need. Collaboration, with diverse and cross-sector stakeholders, is essential to all of this work.

One of the pillars of Reimagine Learning and our announcement this week is a $50 million fund to scale great innovations by organizations and individuals that are shaping the future of learning. We have raised $30 million to date and we’re mobilizing these resources to fund powerful work that’s already happening across the country. Our efforts to date are reaching over two million students. The first group of grantees of this fund, mapped out below, represents a wide range of stakeholders. Amazing educators working day in and day out to secure resources for students and create classrooms that are safe, caring and empowering. Parents going the extra mile to advocate for their child’s learning needs. Students leading advocacy efforts for themselves and their peers. Researchers pushing new advances in neuroscience, psychology and technology. Here are some of the groups we’re supporting right now:

  • New Teacher Center’s work to share best instructional practices and empower first year teachers with high quality content and instructional support to teach to the strengths of each student.
  • Eye to Eye’s transformative one-on-one mentoring program that matches students with learning disabilities with college mentors to engage in project-based learning and develop self-advocacy skills.
  • City Year’s effort to launch a new school in Denver informed by the organization’s 25+ years of experience working with high potential students from low income communities and a commitment to serving a diverse range of learners.
  • RULER, a program developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence that empowers students, teachers and school leaders with insight and tools to create a positive and inclusive school environment. Specifically, supporting RULER’s newest partnership with Bridgeport public schools in CT and focusing on serving students with learning and attention issues.
  • The University of Kansas Center for Research and Learning’s effort to implement at scale research-based instructional resources and curriculum that take a whole-child approach to social and academic success.
  • Turnaround for Children’s research and partnerships with public schools to develop fortified environments for teaching and learning that empower low income students and address barriers to learning with a student-centered approach.
  • MIT Media Lab’s Learning Over Education project team’s development of innovative resources and non-traditional collaborations to help students with different learning strengths excel.
  • The Achievement Network’s work to support teachers with tools and data that help them understand how diverse learners are progressing in their classroom.
  • Convergence Policy Center's work to facilitate focused dialogues with education leaders, thinkers and practitioners with different perspectives.
  • New Classrooms’s work with parents, students and teachers to redesign physical classroom spaces and leverage resources that personalize learning to address the individual needs of each student.
  • Peace First’s work to create courageous, compassionate and collaborative schools by empowering and investing in young people who are leading transformative work in their schools and communities.

In addition to these grantee-partners, we are also working with some other amazing people and organizations from across sectors, including WME | IMG, Deloitte and Understood.org. We are working on awareness efforts to introduce a new conversation and collaborating on policy and advocacy efforts. Check out the full list here.

We have been working hard for two years to identify, convene and collaborate with this group of partners. The fact that such a diverse group has found common ground on helping all children express individuality and creativity in school gives us optimism that we can rise above partisanship in education. We are well aware that no one holds all the answers, but we believe in the powerful impact of bringing dedicated stakeholders together.

Our funded efforts to date represent a diversity of approaches and leverage different entry points to this work. We began with a focus on students who have been marginalized by the status quo; students with learning and attention issues and students from low income families who have had adverse experiences like violence in the home, abuse and neglect. We believe that by beginning with this focus, we can work together to empower and unlock the potential of all students. With a thoughtful approach, our on the ground efforts can change the way we think about the potential of learning and education in the U.S. We’ve brought non-traditional partners like the creative and entertainment community in as well because we fundamentally believe that we need to have a bigger inclusive conversation and change the way we think about learning not just in unique silos but around every dinner table in the country. This type of collaboration creates a powerful megaphone to amplify what works and highlight bright spots across the country.

Tuesday night was a powerful public launch for Reimagine Learning, but we know hard work lies ahead of us. We’re inspired by the amazing educators, parents and students who are already on the front lines of our developing movement.

Their stories, and the work of our great partner organizations in schools and classrooms and institutions across the country, are the fuel behind our effort. There’s no telling how far it can take us.

www.letsreimaginelearning.com