Dec 15, 2021 · 5 min read

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Commits $10 Million to Accelerate Inclusive Education Research

2021 | Community Discussion. | Photograph by SDI Productions via Getty Images

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative today announced a new round of funding to support communities and teachers to work hand-in-hand with researchers to define not only what student success should look like, but how progress is measured.

After nearly two years of disrupted learning, these grants totaling $10.135 million will help validate and measure teaching practices that foster student well-being and belonging, taking into account the unique needs of each community. Research shows that inclusive classrooms, where educators have high expectations for students and acknowledge and celebrate students’ identities and cultural backgrounds, promote achievement and attachment to school for all students. 

“In order for learning and growth to happen in classrooms, all students first need to feel safe, seen and believed in as learners,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “Across the country, educators and community-based organizations are pioneering teaching practices that engage students more deeply and with more differentiation to prepare them to reach their full potential.”

Understanding if classrooms are achieving the whole child outcomes they intend – including  academic and personal growth – is the critical next step in bringing these practices to more schools. “We’ve never been given the opportunity, at the level and scope that CZI is supporting, to gather evidence of students’ educational progress based on our traditional processes of assessment,” says Joyce McFarland, Nez Perce Education Department Manager.  “What we are proposing with the use of storytelling and multi-generational relationships is not new, but we are just remembering how our young people find their purpose in their tribal family and community.”

The grants announced today will help teachers and communities–using innovative practices to engage students–validate the impact they’re seeing, ensuring the latest research is making its way into the classroom. CZI is committed to funding the following:

  • Assessment for Learning Project, a project by the Tides Center, ($2.71 million) to support its national network of educators, organizers, system leaders, and student activists who are working together to reimagine the role of assessment for learning, agency, and equity.
  • Black Teacher Collaborative ($750K) to engage students, families, and educators in developing a research plan to evaluate teaching practices that foster racially affirming learning environments for Black children. BTC will also launch a fellowship program for academics conducting research on Black Liberatory Pedagogy.
  • Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) ($1.5 million) as they engage youth, families, and educators in research and evaluation of COSEBOC’s professional learning and youth development programs that foster the social, emotional, cultural and academic growth of boys and young men of color. 
  • Flourish Agenda ($1.8 million) to develop new research and evaluation tools to measure the impact of healing centered strategies with organizations serving youth of color. This three-year project will leverage partnerships with school districts, youth development agencies, and universities to better understand the process of collective healing from racial trauma.
  • The Nez Perce Tribal Education Department ($650K) to develop program evaluation approaches grounded in the traditional values of relationships and storytelling. From talking circles to the Nez Perce traditional practice of memory strings, this project will pilot new ways to collect evidence from students, parents, teachers, and grandparents about the impact of culturally relevant instruction, curriculum, family engagement, leadership, and school environment.
  • The Pennsylvania State University and the Tucson Unified School District ($125K) to support continued collaboration between the district and Dr. Francesca Lopez, an expert in asset-based pedagogy. This project will develop a research plan to measure the impact of culturally responsive classrooms on student belonging, identity development, academic learning, and other outcomes.
  • Village of Wisdom (VOW) ($2 million) to support community–driven research co-led by Black parents to develop tools and resources that help educators create ideal learning environments for children of color. VOW’s Black Genius Framework, which codifies elements of culturally affirming learning environments that allow Black students to thrive, will ground this research. 
  • YR Media ($600K) to continue youth-led reporting on well-being in schools and develop free academic resources that incorporate relationships, a sense of belonging, and cultural affirmation in partnership with educators and youth. YR Media will also conduct research on the impact of youth reporting and youth-made media in classrooms.

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. CZI envisions a country where racial and economic demographics are not predictive of student outcomes and every child enters adulthood with the knowledge, skills, habits and agency they need to realize their full potential. For more information about how CZI and our grant partners are supporting student well-being, visit


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit

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