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Barr Announces RFP for Cohort Two of the Engage New England Initiative

Foundation issues request for proposals for a second cohort of teams to design schools focused on connecting students off track to graduate to success in high school and beyond.

In 2016, Barr announced a new multi-year initiative, Engage New England: Doing High School Differently, which is part of the Education Program’s regional strategy focused on the development and expansion of new secondary school models in New England. Through the Engage New England initiative, our goal is to marshal critical resources, awareness, solutions, and opportunities to support one of New England’s most marginalized high school populations: students who are off track to graduate from high school—and therefore have extremely limited opportunities to connect to post-secondary success.

Today, we are excited to announce a request for proposals (RFP) to identify the second cohort of teams that will join this initiative. The Barr Foundation seeks proposals from teams interested in developing quality, innovative public high schools and programs across New England designed to shepherd students toward a path to graduation and post-secondary success through a model rooted in positive youth development theory that engages students through their interests and empowers students with the integrated knowledge and skills that connect all with college, career, and community. Selected teams will embark upon a deep planning and design year to develop a new or redesigned school model that deliberatively and comprehensively supports students who are not on track to graduate.

We are excited to announce a request for proposals (RFP) to identify the second cohort of teams that will join the Engage New England initiative.

Our goal is to support the development of exemplary schools and programs across the region that can powerfully demonstrate the impact of intentionally addressing both academic and developmental needs with student-centered, targeted, and supportive approaches. We believe that all students can meet high expectations when they have a choice to learn in a school that meets their interests, empowers their potential in a caring and creative environment, and fully prepares them for success in life.

The teams selected through this RFP will join the first cohort of the Engage New England initiative, which was announced in June. A third cohort will be selected in the summer of 2019. Engage New England participants connect within and across cohorts, and are partners in an innovation collaborative—learning from each other and like-minded innovators across the nation, while receiving robust technical assistance from design and planning through implementation. Together they will build a diverse set of school models that transform high school learning experiences for young people whose prior experiences have failed to engage them and empower their success.

This RFP addresses the first phase of potential funding for Cohort 2 teams, which is for planning. Starting today, applicants can begin preparing their proposals for one-year planning grants of up to $150,000 each to support the development of their school or program. A webinar for prospective applicants will be held this November, and additional opportunities to learn about the initiative and ask questions will be available during “office hours” via conference calls on November 29 and December 15, 2017 and on January 12, 2018. Barr will accept proposals via an online form until January 22, 2018.

We expect to announce the new cohort of as many as eight planning teams in July 2018. In addition to financial support, each year awardees will receive technical assistance and will have access to collective learning opportunities facilitated by our nonprofit partner Springpoint. Springpoint is a national nonprofit organization that supports the design and launch of innovative public high schools.

Planning grant awardees that are successful in their planning and design efforts will be invited to apply for two-year implementation grants of up to $750,000 each. We anticipate that successful applicants in the implementation phase will then launch their expanded, improved, or new models in the fall of 2019.

We believe that all students have the ability to connect to secondary and post-secondary success. All students can be supported to achieve at high levels. Tweet This

We believe that all students have the right, and the ability, to connect to secondary and post-secondary success. In order to fully realize their potential, all students—even those who are not currently on track to graduate—can and must be supported to achieve at high levels. Doing so requires targeted investments in new models that embrace a student-centered approach. We are excited to be able to offer this funding opportunity and look forward to partnering with a second cohort of leaders in this work.

Learn more about Engage New England

Download the full RFP

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Leah Hamilton

Former Director of Education