Below is a roundup highlighting some of the great work our grantees and Foundation staff accomplished in October 2019.
Clayton Christensen Institute
While there’s plenty of ideas about how to improve practices at K-12 schools, there’s often little data or data sharing about what new approaches may be working. Even when data is shared, there’s no way for individual data sets to complement one another to create a more comprehensive picture. The Clayton Christensen Institute’s Canopy project, which addresses where school innovation data comes from and how it’s analyzed, demonstrates how building better collective knowledge gives us better insight into student-centered learning trends that might otherwise go unnoticed. Chelsea Waite breaks down how this project can surface trends and identify promising new practices in the 74.
Clayton Christensen Institute is a grantee in the Innovative Schools portfolio.
President Trump has signed a bipartisan bill into law that will create a commemorative coin in honor of Christa McAuliffe, the Concord High School teacher killed in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster. The Treasury will mint and issue up to 350,000 of the $1 silver coins, the proceeds of which will support FIRST Robotics programs.
“I’m heartened by the bipartisan support that ushered this bill through Congress, which will create a truly fitting tribute in Christa McAuliffe’s memory,” said New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen in a statement. “Forging a coin in her likeness with proceeds bolstering STEM education not only ensures generations of Granite Staters and Americans know her story, but it continues her mission to get kids involved in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.”
FIRST is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.
Centering Healthcare Institute (CHI)
Providing all children the opportunity to unlock their potential requires that they receive the necessary support from the very beginning. Centering Healthcare Institute (CHI) aims to transform the delivery of pregnancy and early childhood care across the country and tackle head-on the vast inequalities in maternal and child outcomes by race, ethnicity, and income. Through $1.75 million in funding from Omidyar Network, Overdeck Family Foundation, and Pritzker Children’s Initiative, CHI will expand to nearly 1,400 sites to serve more than 400,000 families annually by 2023. Covered in Yahoo! Finance, CHI discusses their three key initiatives.
Centering Healthcare Institute (CHI) is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.
In 2003, when Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo launched J-PAL, a nonprofit that performs randomized evaluations of innovative policy ideas and interventions to combat poverty, the randomized evaluation was a relatively new methodology in development. Today, their approach is considered standard practice by many university development economics programs, and thousands of randomized assessments have been conducted. Last month, J-PAL made headlines when co-founders Banerjee and Duflo, and longtime J-PAL affiliate, Michael Kremer, were jointly awarded the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”
J-PAL is a grantee in the Innovative Schools Portfolio.
All Our Kin
Even though nearly half of the 11 million children of working mothers spend more time in family childcare than in any other childcare setting, the supply of licensed family child care providers is rapidly declining. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of licensed family childcare homes decreased by 18 percent, while from 2014 to 2017, it dropped by 21 percent. All Our Kin published a report that recommends increasing funding, supporting quality and licensing, and looking at housing and zoning policies, among other potential solutions, to better support this critical part of the childcare ecosystem. Read the full report here.
All Our Kin is a grantee of the foundation.
According to new research from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS), hearing impaired babies are more attuned to visual cues. Working with deaf infants raised by deaf parents, the researchers observed that infants exposed to American Sign Language had “strong gaze following behavior—and at a more advanced level than hearing infants.” You can read more about the study on Babygaga.
I-LABS is a grantee in the Early Impact Portfolio.
Bipartisan Policy Center
For nearly a century, the federal government has invested in childcare and early education programs to help children succeed and help working parents. Over time, these programs have evolved in response to changing times, including women entering the workforce, better understanding children’s development, and shifting values and attitudes towards the social safety net, among others. This report from the Bipartisan Policy Center explores this history and the patchwork of solutions that emerged and continues to evolve today. Read the full report here.
Bipartisan Policy Center is a grantee of the foundation.
While math is often associated with formulas and equations, #2 pencils and calculators, the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) wants you to also think about art. Explored by the NY Times, its new exhibit, “Math Unfolded: An Exhibit of Mathematical Origami Art,” shows museum-goers how geometry, algorithms, and math formulas come together to create fantastic pieces of origami.
“We believe that math and art are two sides of the same coin,” said MoMath Executive Director Cindy Lawrence. “Origami is a bridge between math and art that does drive home the point that there is beauty in math and that math can be used to create beautiful objects.”
Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.
Speaking on the sidelines of MoMath’s “Symmetry Soire,” Two Sigma and Overdeck Family Foundation co-founder John Overdeck said that his mathematician parents saw signs of mathematical talent in him early. John’s father had him counting by 17s before bed each night when he was only three-years-old. When he turned four, his parents gave him a Texas Instruments calculator for his birthday—and he was ecstatic. Together with his wife, Laura (who also runs Bedtime Math, a math-focused charity), the couple hopes to help children overcome “math anxiety,” which can be unwittingly instilled in young children by parents or teachers.
In an op-ed published in both the LA School Report and the74, Program Officer Britt Neuhaus highlights key learnings from a foundation-funded report, Insights From Ongoing Work to Accelerate Outcomes for Students With Learning Gaps, conducted by Bellwether Partners. The report finds that environments that foster engagement and agency, provide frequent and small group learning opportunities, have access to grade-level work, and see coherence across materials and learning experiences show the most success with students below grade level.