Below is a roundup highlighting some of the great work our grantees and Foundation staff accomplished in July 2019.


A student graduates from UPSTART's preschool program. Image provided by UPSTART.

UPSTART’s online preschool program continued to garner nationwide news coverage, including a balanced analysis of the pros and cons of “online preschool” on the front page of the Sunday New York Times. The article focused on UPSTART’s expansion in rural and other underserved areas where many children did not have access to a quality in-person Pre-K program. “‘Resources are scarce in farming towns,’ said Brenda Quintana, Waterford [UPSTART]’s community liaison. ‘It’s not like folks are bending over backward to bring in resources for these kids.’”

Additional stories ran in EdSurge, where the former governors of North Carolina and Wyoming penned an op-ed endorsing the program, and in Mashable, where the reporter weighed the pros and cons of online preschool programs.

UPSTART is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.

Springboard Collaborative

President and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation wrote an op-ed celebrating summer learning programs, including Springboard Collaborative, for their ability to not only prevent summer learning loss but replace it with gains.

Springboard Collaborative founder and CEO Alejandro Gibes de Gac also spoke on a panel at Aspen Ideas Festival about how to repair America’s social fabric by incorporating community voice. He said, “Our system approaches low-income parents as liabilities rather than as assets.” 

Springboard Collaborative is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.

ST Math

43% of students using ST Math tested out of Tier 3 services by mid-year. Image courtesy of ST Math.

Madison Primary School in Madison, Virginia implemented ST Math in the 2018-19 school year in order to help Tier 3 students, who require more individualized instruction, address specific learning gaps. Administrators found that 43% of the students using the program tested out of Tier 3 services by mid-year. 77% of students using ST Math tested out of Tier 3 services by the end of the year. Students who used ST Math also increased their MAP scores by an average of 20%.

ST Math is a grantee in the Innovative Schools portfolio.


MoMath celebrates its one millionth visitor. Image provided by MoMath.

MoMath, a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio, hosted its one millionth visitor, a middle school class from American Dream Charter School in the Bronx.

New England Basecamp and Highlander Institute

New England Basecamp and Highlander Institute were profiled in a New Yorker story examining the impact of personalized learning efforts in Rhode Island. The reporter writes, “In nearly every conversation I had about personalized learning and edtech in Rhode Island, the names Donna Stone and Shawn Rubin came up. Stone, of New England Basecamp, and Rubin, of the Highlander Institute, are educators turned nonprofit entrepreneurs in the field of professional development… Collectively, New England Basecamp and Highlander have trained hundreds of educators at dozens of schools in the state since 2014.”

New England Basecamp and Highlander Institute are grantees in the Innovative Schools portfolio.

PERTS Engagement Project

In an op-ed for EdWeek, co-founder of PERTS Dave Paunesku urged the education field to focus on measures that look at learning conditions that foster equitable development rather than individual students. He writes, “But if students don’t feel like they belong in a class, it’s not the individual students who need extra support and attention so that they can “do better”—it’s the educator creating the social environment in which those students are learning.”

PERTS is a grantee in the Innovative Schools portfolio.

J-PAL North America

Image provided by J-PAL.

As part of the center’s second Education, Technology, and Opportunity Innovation Competition, J-PAL will partner with two leading education technology nonprofits to test promising models to improve learning. The two winners are Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, a youth-development organization that provides education and social services to at-risk students, and MIND Research Institute, a nonprofit committed to improving math education.

J-PAL and MIND Research Institute are grantees in the Innovative Schools portfolio.

Khan Academy

YouTube will incorporate Khan Academy content in their new format called Learning Playlists, which are dedicated landing pages for educational videos with chapters around key concepts. The pages will not have any external recommended videos, letting students focus on their lessons without distractions.

In an effort to improve teacher recruiting pipelines and teacher preparation, Khan Academy and ETS introduced Khan Academy Official Praxis® Core Prep, a free test-preparation resource for aspiring teachers. An ETS executive said, “The goals of free prep for the Praxis Core tests are to help level the playing field for all teacher candidates and to help promote diversity, equity and opportunity in the teacher pipeline.”

Khan Academy is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.


After four years of reviewing more than 90% of the materials in the “known” math and English language arts market, EdReports has found that just 27% of math and 49% of ELA offerings aligned with learning standards. In addition, just 15% of the curriculum regularly used by ELA teachers and 23% of that used by mathematics teachers have aligned with the standards.

EdReports is a grantee in the Exceptional Educators portfolio.

Family Math Initiative

PBS SoCal is expanding their work with Family & Community Learning to incorporate family math. Image courtesy of PBS SoCal.

PBS SoCal announced its Family Math project, with $1.3 million in grants from Overdeck Family Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation. An expansion of PBS SoCal’s education service in Southern California, the two-year initiative aims to reach more than 6,000 Compton parents, children, and community members and encourage early exposure to math to improve long-term educational outcomes. 

The Family Math initiative is a core effort in the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Instruction Partners

The 74 profiled the Tennessee branch of the Green Dot charter school network, in which four out of five schools were performing in the bottom five percent of schools statewide. With Instruction Partners’ support, three of Green Dot’s five schools reached the highest level of student growth in Tennessee in 2018. One school achieved that mark after just a year; two other schools partnered with Instruction Partners for two years.

Instruction Partners is a grantee in the Exceptional Educators portfolio.


Girlstart Summer Camps launch in the Bay Area. Image provided by Girlstart.

Girlstart Summer Camps launched in the Bay Area to expose more girls to STEM activities and education. The camps are designed for girls in the fourth to eighth grades and enhance students’ learning ability through an informal environment and hands-on activities.

Girlstart is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Opportunity Insights

Raj Chetty is profiled in a feature article in The Atlantic on his plan to make equality of opportunity a reality for all children in the U.S. The reporter writes, “His new Harvard-based institute, called Opportunity Insights, is explicitly aimed at applying his findings in cities around the country and demonstrating that social scientists, despite a discouraging track record, are able to fix the problems they articulate in journals.”

Opportunity Insights is a grantee in the Data for Action portfolio.

Foundation News

An EdSurge article on how families are key in getting children excited about STEM quotes former Inspired Minds Program Officer Brian Carter. “Students imagine scientists to be white, middle-class, male, and ‘brainy,’ which is, for many, not who they see when they look in the mirror. Exposure to science not only changes a child’s understanding of his or her own identity, but impacts learning and career trajectories.”

Interested in joining our team? We have several open roles, including a Program Officer for the Inspired Minds portfolio, a Program Analyst for the Exceptional Educators portfolio, and an Operations Analyst for the foundation. Please share with your networks.