At the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), we are committed to ensuring every young person enters adulthood with the skills and abilities they need to reach their full potential — and each teacher is equipped with the mindsets, tools and practices they need to support their students’ learning and development.
We believe this starts with taking an evidence-based, ‘whole child’ approach to learning — in short, expanding the definition of student success beyond academics to include the identity, physical, mental, cognitive, social and emotional development of students. We support this aim by providing teachers the tools, practices and resources they need to meet the unique needs of each student in the classroom, based on the latest research about how students develop and learn.
By leveraging what we know from the science of learning and human development across multiple areas (academic, social, emotional, identity, cognitive, mental and physical health), we have an opportunity to develop new school practices grounded in science. We have been thinking a lot about how to help refine and share the great work of schools and organizations who are focused on both helping students build academic skills and develop competencies beyond academics.
This Request For Applications (RFA) builds on the work that we have been supporting over the last two years in partnership with the Science of Learning and Development initiative and the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social Emotional & Academic Development, as well as through child development research, such as the Promise of Adolescence paper published by the National Academy of Sciences. Additional information, as well as summaries of these reports on these resources can be found in our summary — ‘An Overview of the Research We Ground In.’ We want to support schools to leverage the science to continue to advance their best practices.
Our goal for this funding opportunity aims to:
- Identify and improve school practices by leveraging the science of learning and human development, so that more teachers and schools have access to resources that help students build academic skills as well as competencies beyond academics; and
- Leverage various ways to integrate research and practice to accelerate the application of adolescent development knowledge to the design and practice of learning environments.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications from US-based teams of schools, support organizations, and/or researchers who want to apply the science of human development to improve existing school-based practices that develop self direction and curiosity, specifically in adolescents (ages 11-18 years old). These practices may address foundational and precursory competencies, skills and mindsets, or “building blocks” (as theorized by frameworks such as Building Blocks for Learning), specifically for adolescents (ages 11-18 years old).
This grant opportunity is intended to support specific projects that will:
- Identify a specific school-based practice;
- Use the science of learning and human development to refine and iterate the practice;
- Collect data to measure how the practice impacts the intended competencies, skills and mindsets; and
- Use data collected to improve the practice’s design.
This grant opportunity is not intended for general operating support, program implementation, or systems for scaling.
This grant opportunity will accept applications starting 6:00am PDT on Thursday, August 1, 2019 until 9:00pm PDT, on September 13, 2019.
After the initial round of applications are reviewed, a select group of teams will be invited to a round of interviews. Decisions are expected to be made in late-November (subject to change at CZI’s discretion). Grants will range from $300,000-$750,000 to support projects over a 12- to 24-month period.
We expect each team will have a unique project aimed at strengthening different types of practices. We hope that by partnering with and connecting this community to each other through convenings, we can accelerate the advancement of more whole child practices in the field. This round of funding is part of our broader effort to strengthen community, build capacity, and promote collaboration (more on our website).
The grant recipients will be a part of a foundational cohort focused on practice and will be expected to travel to two in-person meetings annually during the term of the grant, for which travel and expenses will be reimbursed by CZI (and are not to be included as a part of the project budget). Awarded grantees will also be invited to participate in regular webinars and conference calls focused on problems of practice they are facing. Grantees will also be invited to join a peer collaborative, where they can build connections across the field.