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 champions success for all New England students by developing an innovative and diverse array of high school models for students who have been left behind by the current system.

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. Rather than focus on a single education approach, this partnership brings together a field of educators to create a diverse set of cohesive school models that directly address the needs and challenges of their communities and students.

Each school can have its own form, but all of them 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 connect with success in college, career, and community.

Putting Students at the Center of School Design

We know that students should be at the center of school design. And students are at the center of this initiative. As we embarked on this new work, we produced the short video below to ground us, and to inspire with the real life experience of students who are now connecting to success.

$30 Million Committed Over Five Years

Engage New England: Doing high school differently is a $30-million investment over five years to help New England innovators bring new high school models to life in communities across our region. Participants are partners in a 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 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.

Three Cohorts of Partners

Through this initiative, Barr intends to invest in three cohorts of grantees to go through planning and, potentially, implementation. Each cycle of the initiative will roll-out in two phases. In the first phase, applicants are invited to submit proposals for up to $150,000 for one year of planning. Subsequently, Barr will invite a select group of planning awardees to apply for two-year implementation grants of up to $750,000.

Please note the following estimated timeline for the initiative cohorts:

  • February 15, 2017: Planning phase proposals for cohort 1 were due (view the closed RFP)
  • June 27, 2017: One-year planning phase awards announced for cohort 1
  • Late Fall, 2017: RFP issued for cohort 2
  • July, 2018: One-year planning phase awards announced for cohort 2
  • July, 2018: Two-year implementation awards announced for cohort 1

Next RFP

October 2017

Barr will invite proposals for the next round of planning grants in late fall, 2017.

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Blog Posts About The Initiative