Aug 11, 2020 · 5 min read

CZI Grants Will Help Educators Address Persistent Disparities as Schools Move Online

As K-12 Schools Prepare for an Uncertain Fall, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Awards $950,000 to Nine Organizations Working with Teachers and Families to Close Equity Gaps for Remote Learners

Photograph by Valentin Russanov via Getty Images.
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The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) today announced the award of $950,000 in funding to nine organizations developing in-demand content for students and professional learning experiences for teachers — as a growing number of U.S. schools and districts transition to online learning. The grants are aimed at responding to parent and educator needs as they navigate the access gaps exacerbated by the shift to remote learning, including the lack of culturally relevant materials online, and shortage of digital resources for students with special needs and English learner students.

“Longstanding disparities in education have been laid bare by the transition to remote learning. While access to technology is critical, these grants are designed to provide educators and families with high quality resources, which are vital in advancing student learning and well-being,”said Sandra Liu Huang, Head of Education at CZI. “We are proud of the work we have been doing with these organizations over the last few months to develop this plan to better equip educators to serve students from marginalized populations during these unprecedented times.”

Already, 19 of the 25 largest school districts in the US have announced plans to shift all instruction online, affecting over 3.2 million students. Research suggests that the transition to remote learning has been especially challenging for the 16% of students with learning differences.

A total of nine organizations focused on developing high quality content, supporting children and families, and scaling high quality professional learning experiences, have received grants. They include:

  • $150,000 to public broadcasting pioneers WGBH and PBS LearningMedia will utilize CZI funding to support teacher training webinars, and the development of videos, comprehensive lessons, and other activities that span grades PreK-12, and are aligned to national and state standards.
  • $100,000 for Springboard Collaborative, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that helps to improve students’ literacy skills by forming partnerships between teachers and families. Springboard recently launched a resource portal, which develops a two-week coaching plan for teachers and parents that incorporates a strategy-of-the-week video, a tip sheet in multiple languages, daily lessons, and corresponding e-books. They also provide families with free access to Springboard Connect as well as virtual workshops hosted on Facebook Live.
  • $100,000 to non-profit, Teaching Lab, that supports the development of anti-racist online  learning experiences for educators grounded in strong instructional materials and curriculum. Through these virtual learning experiences, educators learn research-based practices to help build a sense of belonging and community and profoundly impact the way students and teachers learn together.
  • $100,000 for LINC Learning, a professional services company aiding school transformation, for the expansion of LINCspring, their evidence-based, professional learning platform for educators explicitly designed to support the development of equitable, student-centered learning. 
  • $100,000 for CommonLit, a nonprofit that helps students develop reading, writing, communication, and problem-solving skills, to support the rollout of their unique, culturally responsive curriculum for grades 5-12. This includes resources in Spanish and free parent accounts. 
  • $100,000 for Village of Wisdom to create a clearinghouse of research-based, culturally-sustaining interventions, and partner with families and parents to certify products for use in homes of historically marginalized students.
  • $100,000 to Educating All Learners Alliance for the expansion of their digital hub to support students with special needs. This includes a resource library, effective and accessible practices, case studies, educator guides, a community platform, webinars, office hours, and a technology tool library to help teachers use the accessibility features in tools like Google Classroom and Word.
  • $100,000 to English Learners Success Forum (ELSF) for the continued development of their guidance for districts and educators to support planning for the learning needs of English learner (EL) students during school closures. ELSF seeks to partner with organizations that are developing content and exploring ways to make materials more accessible and impactful for EL students and their families.
  • $100,000 to LiftEd App for the further development and expansion of their cloud-based platform that integrates individualized education programs (IEPs) and keeps them in sync for educators to use in daily instruction, intervention, and support practices. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CZI has committed more than $9 million to support teachers and students impacted by school closures. This includes grants to the Healthy Minds Innovations, the National Parents Union, and additional support for teacher professional development and the expansion of broadband solutions.

CZI’s education work is focused on ensuring that every student can get an education that’s tailored to their individual needs and supports every aspect of their development. For more information about how CZI and our grant partners are responding to COVID-19, visit chanzuckerberg.com/covid-19.

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About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.

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