Our goal: All children attend a school that supports them in reaching their full potential.

Alongside academic knowledge, students need to learn the habits, mindsets, and skills critical for their futures.

Our Innovative Schools portfolio works to ensure that every child has access to an education that is engaging and challenging, and meets both academic and socioemotional needs.

Our Learnings

The majority of schools teach to the middle.

Acknowledging student variability can accelerate mastery of academic standards.

Social-emotional learning correlates to improved academic achievement.

The learning environment matters.

Grantee Spotlight

Learn more about some of the work funded by the Innovative Schools portfolio.

A SAGA tutor works with students. Image provided by SAGA Innovations.

SAGA Tutoring Innovations

High dosage math tutoring for the students that need it most--with results that extend across subjects and grades.

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A Harvard Strategic Data Fellow attends a Highlander Institute meeting.

Harvard Strategic Data Project

Providing data professionals a way to make an impact outside of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

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A young boy builds with blocks. Image provided by NewSchools Venture Fund.

NewSchools Venture Fund

Supporting schools that expand the measure of student success beyond academic.

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Portfolio Details

Our Approach

Invest in developing and studying student-centered school models and practices that foster an expanded definition of success.

Our Approach

Scale access to high-quality professional learning, instructional resources, and providers that enable the development of rigorous personalized academics, socioemotional development, and/or engaging learning environments.

Our Approach

Build school and partner capacity for monitoring and collecting academic, social-emotional, and learning environment measures that are used to create quality educational opportunities for all children.

Our Approach

Establish a rigorous evidence base for student-centered learning.

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Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits a SAGA school. Image provided by SAGA Innovations.
Two children work on a project on a computer. Image provided by NewSchools Venture Fund.
Children play violin in the classroom. Image provided by NewSchools Venture Fund.
Children work in small groups at computers. Image provided by NewSchools Venture Fund.

Our Questions

What are conditions for successful student-centered learning? What support do schools, particularly traditional district schools, need in order to effectively implement student-centered learning models?

What are key lessons learned for schools implementing student-centered learning models?

What practices and models are most effective in personalizing learning while also maintaining rigor?

What types of education technology are most impactful in supporting in-school learning?

What are best practices for scaling student-centered learning model from one context to another?

Page Data Sources:

Are High Schools Preparing Students to Be College- and Career-ready?” The Hechinger Report. April 06, 2016.

It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success. 2013. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities and Hart Research Associates.

Duke, N. D., Halvorsen, A-L., Strachan, S. L., Kim, J., Konstantopoulos, S. (2017). Putting PBL to the Test: The Impact of Project-based Learning on Second-grade Students’ Social Studies and Literacy Learning and Motivation.

Durlak, J., Weissberg, R., Dymnicki, A., Taylor, R., & Schellinger, K. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.

Hennessey, Jess (2018a). Mindsets and the Learning Environment: Relationships Between Mindsets, Socioeconomic Status, and Academic Achievement. http://mindsetscholarsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Relationships-Between-Mindsets-Socioeconomic-Status-and-Academic-Achievement.pdf

Hennessey, Jess (2018b). Mindsets and the Learning Environment: Understanding “Pscyhologically Wise” Classroom Practices on Student Achievement. http://mindsetscholarsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Understanding-the-Impact-of-%E2%80%9CPsychologically-Wise%E2%80%9D-Classroom-Practices-on-Student-Achievement.pdf

Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships Matter: Linking Teacher Support to Student Engagement and Achievement. Journal of School Health, 74, 262-273.

The Science of Learning, 2016. Deans for Impact. http://www.deansforimpact.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/The_Science_of_Learning.pdf

Quay, Lisa (2017). Leveraging Mindset Science to Design Educational Environments that Nurture People’s Natural Drive to Learn. http://mindsetscholarsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Learning-Enviros-Research-Brief.pdf

Other Portfolios