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New Support Available to Massachusetts Schools Planning for 2020-21 School Year

Timely support for school and system leaders navigating COVID19 and centering their 2020-21 planning in equity.

As Barr’s president, Jim Canales, noted in his post last week, the scourge of racism plaguing our country has been on full and tragic display. So has the failure of systems and structures meant to safeguard and secure the well-being, dignity, and potential of each and every life. As heartbreaking and angering as it all is, it also compels action. For those of us working in education, who know every student deserves a high-quality school, and that all young people can succeed in learning, work, and life, this moment makes clear that we must continue to center our work on equity.

In the context of COVID19, school and system leaders are also working to bring this radically-disrupted school year to a close. At the same time, they are embarking on the complex work of planning and building readiness for the 2020-21 school year – without fully knowing all that state health and education leaders will require.

While we remain committed to the ongoing and long-term work to create transformative educational experiences for every student, we know that how schools navigate these next few months will be critical. This is why we are offering new, targeted support to assist with that responsibility.

Recognizing that many would value expert guidance as they plan for re-opening, the Barr Foundation is partnering with Catalyst:Ed to launch the Massachusetts Ready Fund. This new fund will link eligible public schools in Massachusetts with timely, expert support (at no cost to them) from a national network of vetted school support providers.

Funds can be applied across areas including academics, student support, social and emotional learning, student and family experience, talent, IT and operations, finance, equity-centered leadership, and more. Our intention is to help schools address questions, such as:

  • What plans need to be in place to best support all students as schools prepare for summer and for the 2020-21 school year amidst uncertainty?
  • What instructional approaches are needed to ensure equitable, high-quality learning, and how should teachers be supported in adopting these approaches?
  • How might we ensure all students and families are engaged and cared for as they navigate these tough times?
  • How can leaders and educators center equity as they make these decisions?

Those seeking funds complete a brief online questionnaire, then work with Catalyst:Ed to clarify priority needs, scope a project, and select a provider. Catalyst:Ed will then handle all contracting and payments.

To learn more and apply, click the button below:

Massachusetts Ready Fund

The current upheaval in our country gives even greater urgency to the imperative that all students can access educational options that prepare them to thrive in school, career, and in their communities. As we all navigate this difficult moment, we hope that urgency accelerates progress on school designs that support all students to be successful.

With a deep and abiding commitment to students and families, we look forward to continued partnership in collective action and learning to make that vision real.

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