Mar 7, 2019 · 4 min read

CZI Announces More than $3 Million to Bring the Science of Learning and Development to More Classrooms

CZI announces support to advance evidence-based whole child approaches to learning in the classroom


The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) today announced $3.72 million in grants to two initiatives working to further the understanding of how students actually learn and help educators translate that research into practices that support the needs of all students.

“This body of work is rooted in an appreciation for the complexity of what teachers do everyday in the classroom, and a belief in the transformative potential of learning and developmental science,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at CZI. “These organizations bring  an understanding of what is grounded in evidence with an understanding of the real-world challenges –and opportunities–to help teachers and school leaders bridge the gap between research and practice.”

The grants to the Science of Learning and Development Initiative and the Aspen Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development  will be highlighted today during a keynote with Dr. Priscilla Chan, Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard and Dr. Bror Saxberg at SXSW EDU.  The conversation will be moderated by Betsy Corcoran from EdSurge. The keynote will focus on the importance of providing educators access to new  tools and research that help apply the principles of the science of learning and development in practical ways in the classroom.  The grants reflect CZI’s larger mission in education to help more young people enter adulthood with the skills and abilities they need to reach their full potential.

These initiatives have partnered experts in educational practice, child and adolescent development and policy to produce findings and recommendations. The recommendations focus on how learning environments and experiences can be designed to best support student development and learning.

The grants go beyond furthering the research that deepens our understanding of how children and adolescents develop key skills over time. The grants also will allow the Initiatives to develop and share concrete supports with teachers–and those who prepare and support our educators–to improve and expand effective integration of social emotional and cognitive development within academic instruction. It also will support the creation of safe, supportive and rigorous school environments through attention to relationships, and to prioritize whole adult development.

Science of Learning and Development Initiative

CZI has awarded $3.6 million in grants  to support members of the Science of Learning and Development Initiative, a collaboration of education organizations, including the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Learning Policy Institute (LPI), Populace, Turnaround for Children, Opportunity Institute, and Education Counsel, committed to dramatically improving equity and outcomes for all students through the advancement of learning science.

These grants support the work of these organizations to increase public awareness of the science of learning and development, to assemble a field-level landscape analysis of efforts to use this evidence, and to support better alignment and integration of this evidence in educator preparation programs.

“Over the past two years, we have affirmed that the science of learning can have a profound impact on the educational outcomes for all children,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and a leader of the collaborative’s work. “This investment will support the next phase of our work, which is focused on the alignment of science, practice, and policy in ways that enable broad-based, sustained — and scalable — outcomes.”

The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development aims to strengthen and accelerate efforts to meet students’ comprehensive learning and developmental needs. The Commission does this by learning from communities about how to  re-envision how learning can fully integrate social, emotional, and cognitive development so that all children can succeed in school, careers, and life.

CZI’s $120,000 grant has supported the Commission’s landscape analysis of efforts in the field to support children’s social, emotional, and academic wellbeing, recommendations in research, practice, and policy to support children’s development and success in these areas. The grant also will support the Commission’s ongoing efforts to share the  recommendations based on what they’ve learned from experts and communities.

“Social and emotional competencies equip students for better outcomes in learning, and ensure they are better prepared for life,” said Jacqueline Jodl, Executive Director, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s support will allow the Commission to continue to explore, activate, and connect social, emotional, and academic learning in classrooms across the country.”

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