Students living in poverty who read proficiently in third grade are 13x more likely to graduate high school on time. But less than one-third of New York City’s third-graders living in poverty passed state reading tests in SY 2020-21.
The Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund aims to unlock the potential of technology to transform learning and advance achievement for low-income students in New York City. The Fund focuses on blended literacy and computational thinking models, investing in curriculum, professional development, and organizational providers that collaborate with high-poverty New York City schools and families to leverage technology to provide teachers tools and resources that can improve student reading and writing and prepare children to be computational thinkers.
Since its inception, the Learning + Technology Fund has invested $29.4 million in 22 blended literacy and computational thinking models, directly reaching 32 community partners, 189 schools, 3,000 educators, and 149,900 students. The fund indirectly reaches every student in New York City and 8.3 million students nationwide; its direct reach has grown 57 percent since 2017.
Internal evaluations have shown the potential for impact. Students in blended literacy classrooms demonstrated early indicators of greater academic growth compared to their peers (up to a 10 percentage point increase). And despite interruptions to instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 81 percent of early elementary students in blended literacy classrooms achieved typical growth in reading, with 55 percent of students showing above-average growth.
Robin Hood, Overdeck Family Foundation, and Siegel Family Endowment established the Learning + Technology Fund in 2015 to ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Overdeck Family Foundation’s continued support has allowed the Fund to scale promising blended literacy solutions across New York City and nationwide. The Fund has used funding to seed more innovation, conduct research and evaluation on the models it has supported, and scale models with evidence of impact. By increasing visibility to the Fund and its work, Overdeck Family Foundation has helped the Fund attract $58 million in follow-on funding to its grantees.