New England Secondary School Consortium


New Grant Opportunity for New England Districts from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation

From the Nellie Mae Education Foundation

October 15, 2015

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is proud to announce the launch of a new grant fund called Preparing All Learners: College and Career Readiness Through Continuous Improvement and Central Office Redesign. We believe that adopting continuous improvement practices and creating central office designs that support the larger purpose of college readiness for all can position districts to systemically implement student-centered learning (SCL) practices, and thus achieve greater educational equity and deeper learning  for all students.

Through this grant fund, we are seeking New England public school districts with a commitment to SCL and educational equity that have successfully piloted or implemented: 1) continuous improvement models in their K-12 systems and 2) central office redesigns to support the larger purpose of college readiness for all. Our hope is that grant funding will help accelerate and expand promising continuous improvement and central office redesign efforts. Additionally, we hope to learn from these efforts, capture learnings and best practices, and share these findings with the field to support and accelerate the spread of systemic student-centered secondary education throughout New England.


The ultimate goals of the Preparing All Learners grant fund are threefold:

  • To Sustain SCL Adoption: Develop tools and associated resources for schools, districts, school boards, and communities to support systemic and sustained implementation of student-centered learning and build understanding and support for the new paradigm.
  • To Build Understanding of Continuous Improvement: Understand how central office designs (e.g., talent acquisition, development, and retention; data collection, analysis, and use; time for reflection; culture of improvement) can use continuous improvement strategies as a high leverage strategy to accelerate equitable attainment  of deeper learning outcomes.
  • To Build Capacity of Schools, Districts, and Communities: Increase school, district, and community knowledge and capacity to implement and sustain coordinated and complementary processes, structures, and systems for equitable attainment of deeper learning outcomes. 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, districts must meet the following requirements: 

  • Applicants must be a public school district. However, we welcome proposals that engage traditional districts and charter school organizations working together to advance the goals of the RFP in a traditional district.
  • Grant proposals must focus on supporting SCL shifts in secondary schools.
  • Applicants must operate at least one standalone high school.
  • Applicants must be located in one of the six New England states (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, and VT).
  • At least 40 percent of students in the applicant district must be eligible for free lunch.
  • The following NMEF District Level Systems Change grantees are not eligible for funding: Meriden, CT; Hartford, CT; Revere, MA; Portland, ME; Pittsfield, NH; and Burlington-Winooski, VT. 

Grant Amount & Duration

  • Applicants may apply for 18-month grants of up to $150,000. Up to eight grantees will be selected. District size will be taken into consideration when deciding grant amounts.
  • Grantees that show significant progress towards meeting the goals for this grant fund will be invited to apply for a second year of funding. 

To Apply

Please review the RFP and follow the instructions to apply. If you have any questions, please e-mail Ellen Wang at Applications are due by November 10, 2015 at 3:00pm.


If you are interested in learning more or have questions about this grant fund, we will be hosting a bidder’s webinar on October 16, 2015 from 11:00am to 12:00pm. If you are interested in participating, please e-mail Ellen Wang at

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