Much more needs to be done to make our schools better for each and every child.
We have been asking students, parents, community members, school leaders, and researchers what is working — and what isn’t working — in our schools. This collective input has led to Reimagine Education – a body of essential work that provides a roadmap to help transform our K-12 education system to benefit all students. Read our recently released report about education equity in a time of COVID-19 and see how we are mobilizing to support our students and families.
Reimagining our education system
The Minneapolis Foundation’s Reimagine initiative represents a shift in our education strategy that focuses on bringing together students, parents, administrators, teachers, and school board members to develop a common agenda for disrupting inequities in school systems. Learning collectives are central to our new approach to education.
We retained a team of University of Minnesota researchers led by Dr. Michael Rodriguez to outline the research basis for a proposed set of strategies that emerged from our community and superintendents in 2017. We distributed this report widely, and you can read it below. When COVID-19 forced schools to move to virtual platforms, we again retained the U of M team to develop a second report on how distance learning impacts education equity.
Education is a key area where we make strategic investments to dismantle the barriers that hold inequities in place. Reimagine, and its robust input process, have impacted this work and will influence our forthcoming Education grantmaking.
While the primary funding strategy of Reimagine is to reallocate existing public education funds, the work has attracted funding from the Greater Twin Cities United Way and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation for our larger community convenings. We anticipate additional philanthropic partners as the work evolves.
Along with using learning collectives to build deep cross-sector relationships around this body of work, The Minneapolis Foundation’s staff is also actively encouraging local school districts to leverage key learnings from the 2019 Reimagine report to help implement equity-focused plans to improve student achievement and support young people’s wellbeing and social emotional development.
Our staff has presented Reimagine findings to education and civic leaders. A recent school board conference included discussions about how school administrators and school boards can work together to incorporate elements of Reimagine into their equity plans and efforts to close the state’s persistent achievement and opportunity gaps.