Giving Compass' Take:

• After one year of implementation, leaders are ready to assess progress with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Networks for School Improvement Initiative. 

• The Gates shifted strategies from funding teacher evaluations to supporting local solutions to district problems. What are some potential reasons that this initiative might see better results? 

• Read about the previous education initiative funded by the Gates Foundation. 


Participants in The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Networks for School Improvement initiative — which launched a year ago and is aimed at grouping schools to tackle common problems, with an emphasis on helping low-income students and students of color — are beginning to assess the results they've seen so far, Chalkbeat reports.

One school network in Baltimore, for example, plans to use $11 million to boost 8th- and 9th-graders' reading and writing skills, and while leaders admit that figuring out how to accomplish that and track progress was tricky, they're reportedly optimistic about the longterm impact the "continuous improvement" work will have.

The Gates Foundation has distributed $93 million to 21 nonprofits coordinating the networks thus far, with the goal of encouraging schools to develop grassroots solutions to common problems that can serve as best practices examples.

Last year, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initially announced it was giving $92 million to help schools collaborate on solutions in the form of 19 grants. The move accompanied a step away from pushing for changes to teacher evaluations and academic standards.

That strategy shift, first detailed in 2017 by Bill Gates, places a greater emphasis on "locally driven solutions." At that time, Gates said the foundation would no longer focus on changing teacher evaluations, but put its energy into helping the highest-needs schools and districts in about six to eight states.

Read the full article about improvement network reasearch by Shawna De La Rosa at Education Dive.