Building innovative school models for students who are currently off track to graduate.

New England’s schools have done a good job for many students. “Engage New England: Doing high school differently” is one of Barr Foundation’s many efforts to make sure we do a great job for all.

Engage New England: Doing high school differently is a $30-million investment over five years to help New England innovators develop a diverse array of high school models that champion success for all students. Participants receive robust technical assistance from design and planning through implementation. They are also partners in a learning collaborative, sharing lessons with each other and like-minded innovators across the nation.

Each school will take its own form. Yet, all will be as rigorous as they are flexible in developing content knowledge, successful habits, creative know-how, and navigation abilities—the integrated knowledge and skills all young people need to succeed in learning, work, and life.

Beyond ENE is the logical next step in the journey for those schoolswho participated in the original Engage New England project. The initial ENE phase yielded valuable lessons and provided opportunity to celebrate early successes in planning and implementations of school elements, but we believe there is more work to be done to fully realize the potential seeded to date. The goal of Beyond ENE will be to support the development of truly exemplary schools that ensure post-secondary success for all students. High level aims of the next phase are:

  • Deepen and enhance impact: Expand on the most promising and exciting work we’ve seen in the ENE initiative
  • Sustain impact: Ensure that the school has strong systems and a strong plan for succession and sustainability, ensuring the impact of the grant extends beyond the first generation of leaders and staff at the school, and is instead institutionalized
  • Broaden impact: Create proof points for the state and nation about what is possible for students off-track to graduation, and use these sites as places to curate, codify, and share transferable practices.

Our Partners (Beyond ENE)

Through this initiative, Barr is investing in three cohorts of grantees to go through planning and, potentially, implementation of new school models that connect all students to success.

Through this initiative, Barr is initially invested in three cohorts of grantees to go through planning and implementation of new school models that connect all students to success. The five grantees listed below are the schools and programs selected for the next phase of the initiative – Beyond ENE. Additionally, one school expected to launch in fall 2022 is continuing to participate in the ENE via an implementation phase.

Beyond ENE sites:

ENE Implementation Phase site:

Technical Assistance

Barr has partnered with Springpoint to support grantees in all phases of the initiative – planning, implementation, and Beyond ENE. Springpoint is a national organization that supports innovative school model design and implementation. Grantees receive a combination of customized supports and network-wide learning experiences. Individual coaching focuses on leadership capacity building, design guidance, and ongoing iteration. Springpoint also facilitates a learning community for grantees, allowing them to share questions, work products, and learnings. Grantees also attend learning tours to schools in order to observe and learn from innovative practices and participate in network convenings.


Barr has partnered with SRI Education to conduct and evaluation of the Engage New England initiative. The evaluation provides formative feedback to Barr, Springpoint, and the ENE schools to support continuous improvement. It will ultimately assess the impact of the ENE schools in supporting students to graduate from high school with the competencies they need to succeed in their life after high school.


Blog Posts About The Initiative