PROVIDENCE – Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) will significantly expand support to school districts and community organizations dedicated to increasing the amount and quality of learning opportunities for students in areas of concentrated poverty due to a substantial grant from the Ford Foundation.

The two-year, $1.75-million grant is part of the Ford Foundation’s More and Better Learning Time (MBLT) initiative, begun in 2011, which promotes the redesign and expansion of the traditional school schedule -- not by simply adding time -- but by ensuring that the extended day and year are levers for improving the quality and kind of learning for students living in neighborhoods of high poverty.  

The award will provide direct assistance to MBLT grantees, and will reinforce AISR’s critical support of community organizations and other allies focused on educational equity and narrowing the achievement gap in urban areas.   AISR Executive Director Warren Simmons said that rather than simply relying on test scores as a measure, AISR would examine how entire cities -- starting with Los Angeles -- collaborate to create the conditions for and ensure access to, educational opportunities that prepare students for careers, college and civic life. 

“We’re very honored that Ford has made this grant to the institute in support of MBLT and building partnerships to support equitable changes in the nation’s most underserved schools and communities,” said Simmons.  “We believe that the initiative’s success will hinge on the ability of multiple education sectors, such as school teachers, school system leaders, civic leaders, policymakers, organized labor, funders, grassroots community organizations, post-secondary institutions and researchers, to work collaboratively to increase the access to high quality learning opportunities for all students.”

AISR will work with partners nationally to develop new ways to measure the broader impact of education initiatives like MBLT.

“Education initiatives such as MBLT are most effective when they are guided and implemented by ‘on the ground,’ equity-driven individuals who are engaged in the daily education of students, drafting district or state education policies, or courageously advocating for their children and communities,” added Simmons.  “With the Ford Foundation’s investment, we can reinforce our commitment to this crucial support for the field.” 

AISR’s initial grant from the Ford Foundation to document the implementation and results of the MBLT initiative was awarded in August 2012.